Clash of Civilizations.
It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in the new world will be between radical Islam or Islamism and greater part of the rest of humanity. Radical Islam is at war with every other religion and cultural group. Militant Islamic anger is directed against Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Slavs and animists. Examine below the list of groups against whom radical Islam wages war:
Roman Catholics in Mindanao in the Philippines
Roman Catholics in Timor in Indonesia
Confucians and Buddhists in Singapore and Malaysia
Hindus in Bangladesh
Hindus in Kashmir and within India itself
Russian Orthodox Catholics in Chechnya
Armenian Christians in Nagorno‑Karabakh
Maronite Christians in Lebanon
Jews in Israel and in all other parts of the world
Animists and Christians in Sudan
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in Eritrea
Greek Orthodox Catholics in Cyprus
Slavs in Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania
Coptic Christians in Egypt
Ibos in Nigeria
Christians and Jews in the United States
Moderate Islamic Regimes in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey
Militant Islam is in ferment everywhere. The Islamic world appropriately is said to have "bloody borders."
Why is this so? The explanation may lie in Islamic theology, Islamic history, and the economics of oil.
Islamic militancy arises out of its monotheistic theology. There is no other God but Allah. Islamic God Allah is jealous. He brooks no rivals. He claims sole sovereignty. He proclaims Jihad or Holy War on unbelievers, kafirs. Prophet Mohammad is regarded as the final and the seal of prophets. Lesser prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Moses and Jesus are recognized as precursors but Mohammad is the most perfect. Like Christians, Muslims also believe in a single life, a single judgment and eternal life either in heaven or hell.
It is obvious that this theology of a single God, a single prophet, a single revelation, a single church or ummah, a single life and a single judgment leads to intolerance.
Not all Muslims however read the Quran the same way. There are passages in the Quran which preach religious tolerance. For example, one of the verses says: "There is no compulsion in religion." And, another, "To you your religion and to me mine." Moderate Muslims emphasize the tolerant nature of their religion. It is evident from recent happenings that extremists have outflanked the moderates and now dominate the religious dialogue.
(compares medieval Christianity...)
Christianity however was reformed and its hold on European nations was seriously eroded during the Age of Rationalism. Secularism arose and gradually the Church and the state were separated. Tolerance of religious diversity gradually grew. There is religious fundamentalism in the West, but the West has come a long way in accepting pluralism in matters of religious belief...
In contrast to medieval Christianity and radical Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are tolerant of religious diversity. The list of tolerant religious traditions includes not only Hindus and Buddhists but also many ancient religions such as Taoists, Shintoists, European Celts, the Egyptians, Platonists, and Pythagoreans....
The history of China and Japan is similar to that of India in matters of religious tolerance....
...Mohammad became the leader of Medina and within a few years felt emboldened to raid Mecca. ...Muslim conquest did not stop with the death of Mohammad. Within two years, the holy warriors attacked and conquered Byzantium and Persia, the two powerful empires of the period. The warriors were filled with religious zeal and hopes for war booty. It seemed that, armed with faith in Allah, nothing could stop the soldiers of Islam...
Islam's rapid rise from obscurity to a world power had a touch of the miraculous for Muslims; how could they have attained all this without God's favor and support? The fabulous military victories demonstrated to the faithful God's pleasure with those who believed.
Islam's explosive beginning has implications for modern politics. ...Roughly from 1,000 AD to 1,700 A.D., Islam was the strongest civilization on earth. The Muslims enjoyed the greatest wealth; they wielded the most power. And then, suddenly in the 17th century, the empire collapsed.
...Memories of uninterrupted conquests are alive in the minds of militant Muslims. Osama bin-Laden and his compatriots draw inspiration from the 700-year long history of an Islamic empire. They also believe that they were cheated of world dominion, when Islam lost its hold both in India and Europe in the 17th century.
...Islamic radicalism is three decades old and goes back to the period of the oil boom. The huge wealth derived from petroleum in the Arab Sheikhdoms has given rise to the belief that Muslims are favored by God. The extraordinary oil wealth, much like Muslim military victory in an earlier period, is taken as a sign of God's happiness with Muslims and the justness of the Islamic cause.
...Petro-dollars have been used to spread Islamic radicalism around the globe. The Saudi Government and its charities continue to fund thousands of religious schools or Madrassas. These schools have been called factories for Jihad. Some 40,000 to 50,000 of these clerical schools exist within Pakistan alone. The oil rich Saudi Arabia preaches Wahabism, a puritanical branch of Islam. According to Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, the Saudi Kingdom has made the biggest Devil's bargain. It deflects attention from its misrule by funding religious extremism abroad
The war in Afghanistan against the former Soviet Union has also led to extremism and militancy. A rag-tag army of the Holy Warriors defeated a super power, which promoted the belief that religious zeal and the way of Allah could defeat the mightiest of armies.
The militants are most likely to be found in the oil rich Middle Eastern countries and in Pakistan. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who crashed into World Trade Center Towers were Saudi nationals. The entire Taliban leadership was nurtured in Pakistani madrassas.
...Fareed Zakaria, an Indian Moslem with the Newsweek calls radical Islam Aan armed doctrine," a term that he borrowed from Edmund Burke. Like other armed doctrines before it-- fascism for example. It can be discredited only by first being defeated[email protected]
When Hitler scored military victories, he was much admired. Many children in Europe and Latin America were named after him. When Nazism suffered defeat, the children were given new names. Bin Laden understands the aura of victory: "When people see a weak horse and a strong horse, by nature they prefer the strong horse." Bin Laden claims to be the stronger horse (Newsweek, December 24, 2001, 23-28).
Even though Iraq might have been a wrong target to fight radical Islamism, America's war against militants in Iraq must not fail for this reason. A failure in Iraq will have global repercussions. It would embolden extremist elements around the globe.
It will negatively impact India's war against terrorism. A success in Iraq on the other hand will pave the way for moderation in the rest of the world