Harvard Professor Samuel P. Huntington published the much-debated and controversial thesis on "Civilization Clash" in 1993 . His thesis predicted that end of the "Cold War" between the Communist and the Capitalist democratic world was possibly not the end of the conflicts of international nature. However, he concluded that next such conflict or war will not be fought between states but between competing cultures - namely Islam and the West.
"Civilization Clash" thesis has been one of the most debated publications in recent history. On one side of this debate, the Islamists and the majority of the leftists and communist, both in the West and the East, have found themselves busy refuting Huntington's thesis and termed it a figment of wild imagination or a evil American "conspiracy theory" for dominating the Islamic world by making Muslims the scapegoat of a nonexistent reality. On the other hand, the supporters of this thesis and those, who are somewhat wary of such a future reality, have been reflecting on how to avert such a likely apocalyptic conflict to safeguard the future of our world.
However, the whole debate of the baselessness as well as the reality of this thesis took a spectacular turn on the fateful day of 9/11 (September 11, 2001) when 19 suicidal Arab Islamic extremists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York and another into Pentagon Headquarters in Washington which killed more than 3000 people. The debate of Civilization Clash has become ever intense since then. The Islamists and their Western sympathizers (mainly the leftists and communists) on one side have still vociferously sought to refute the clash thesis as a design of anti-Muslim propaganda. On the other side, citizens both in the West and elsewhere increasingly wary of the rising tide in Islamic extremism and its increasing violent manifestation worldwide, have found themselves real worried about such a future confrontation as outlined in the clash of civilization thesis by Prof. Huntington.
The ensuing UN-sponsored war in Afghanistan to depose the anachronistic theocratic Taliban regime and subsequent multilateral military adventure in Iraq, lead by the United States and United Kingdom, to unseat the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein without a UN mandate has created a plethora of conspiracy theories in the ever-suspecting Muslim world about subjugating the Muslims world by the West under the US leadership for creating a new world order. They have raised a fever-pitch criticism and condemnation of the Clash of Civilization thesis as an excuse by the Anglo-American coalition to re-colonize the Muslim world in the name of democratization but for the sole purpose of stealing the oil reserves in those countries. In other words, the critiques have termed the Civilization Class thesis a deliberate US invention to serve as an excuse for occupying Muslim countries by the American-led coalition in order to keep an absolute control of the world's largest oil reserves which is very critical for sustaining the economy of those countries. For them, the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq is the first step in the neo-colonization of the Muslim world by the Western powers.
Whether one agrees to Prof. Huntington's Clash of Civilization thesis or not, there appears a real conflict in the making between Islam and Western world. The unfettered preaching of hatred about the democracy and culture in the streets of European countries by Muslim scholars and Imams over the years clearly suggests that there exist a serious "fault-line" between Islam and the Western societal system and way of life. In the recent UK election, the Islamic preachers termed democracy and participation in election unIslamic and those participating in balloting were to be labeled apostates. Such preaching of hatred has received little condemnation from the larger Muslim communities living in those countries which suggest that there exists a general hateful attitude towards the local social, political and cultural systems amongst the Muslim populace in those countries. Over the years, many Muslim-dominated areas in UK have witness incidence of sexually suggestive commercial and movie advertisement being vandalized. The liberally dressed Western women do not dare stepping into Muslim-dominated ghettos in these countries, especially in France and Sweden for fear of rape and harassment. One classic example was the rape (often gang-rape) of some 18 Australian girls in a Sydney Muslim-dominated neighborhood by Arab youth gangs in ten months in 2001. Indeed such incidences are not uncommon in other European countries where Western girls entering into the "Muslim ghettos" face harassments, including rapes and those areas are being carefully avoided by the non-Muslim populace .
The bottom-line is that there is no escape from the fact that there exist a serious fault-line between Islamic and the Western societal system and way of life. This essay series will try to enumerate the problems and the causes underlying this ominous conflict between Islam and the West. It will also attempt to outline strategies as to how these critical issue need to be confronted in order to escape from a future disaster of apocalyptic proportion.
1. Clash of civilizations
2. In the open: rapists' campaign of vicious assaults
3. Lemmings on Prozac: an Eurabian Tale
[ Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 ]
Posted November 25, 2005, Islam Watch