Paper: Islam and clash of civilization
Due to the recent surge of terrorism in many parts of the world and the involvement of so called Islamic extremists in most of these acts of terrorism, a debated has surfaced that focuses on the real reasons of these Muslims getting involved in acts of terror. The world has been divided into those who think that the reason for many of Muslims becoming fundamentalists is the promised Islamic social system that promises these people a place in the world that is special and above all others. There are those who argue that Islam as a religion has nothing to do terrorism and the terrorists could use just any excuse to legitimize their evil acts. In the following discussion I would like to shed some light on the topics that we have covered in the class to explain my point of views on clash of civilizations, Islam and democracy and the consequences of Islamophobia.
What is our understanding of Muslim Societies?
There is a great fuss about Islamic social justice. Some consider it as a solution to the evil of terrorism while others consider it the cause. Many relate this justice system to the existence of a society that is purely based on Islamic sharia. They call it a Muslim society. In my opinion there is a great misconception in this understanding. Asef Bayat, in his research article “Islam and Democracy, What is the Real Question” has mentioned that Islam as a religious justice system does not provide basis to the so called Muslim societies. The reason for them to be Muslim societies is the fact that they are constituted by a majority of Muslim population which has evolved over the time, like any other society (Bayat 2007). In my opinion Islamic sharia has been used in its crude form by the Saudi Kingdom to protect their dictatorial interests. The world looks at it and assumes that this is how the Islamic justice system is. In my opinion this is how it actually is not. Islamic justice system has not been given a chance to evolve with the changing needs due to the personal interests of the Saudi ruling class. Many other “Muslim Societies” have evolved with the changing global environment or globalization. I believe that the western world needs to realize this fact. They need to treat Muslim societies in an equal and understanding manner. This would clear many doubts that exist among the Muslims and the western world.
Clash of Civilizations:
In the history of the world, there have been great wars that have been fought on the name of religion, nationalism, economy and territorial integrity. In the modern world we can observe that there is a greater cry for an enormous encounter once again which is labeled as the clash of civilizations. In his article, Samuel P. Huntington has explained why there has to be a clash of civilizations. Samuel believes that in the world there exists different civilizations (Huntington 1993). Civilizations are differentiated from each other on the basis of different understanding of relations between God and man, a person and the larger group, the state and its citizens, different views of responsibilities and set of rights and other social relationships in a society. Samuel goes on to argue that a clash of civilizations is eminent because the economic is modernizing and changing social structures has forced people to give up their local identities. Humans are always looking for identities and this is why religions have become an umbrella that provides a broader identity to people who are no more attached to their national identity defined by a specific territory. This attachment to religion in search of identity cause fundamental view and a decrease in tolerance towards each other by different religious groups that could ultimately cause a clash of civilization based on religious basis.
In my personal opinion I do not think that clash of civilizations is a phenomenon that has solid basis. The reason is that as different people come together who have different background, initially there is social tension. People do blame that they have been abused on the basis of their religion on nationality. There are for example some Muslims who make it an excuse and involve in act of terror. But in the long run the modern society has the capacity to look in depth at these social issues and understand it so that they can be solved. I see more community engagement programs by the governments in the developed countries which focuses on addressing the concerns of its different minorities and ensures that their problems are solved so that there is a decrease in tension among different segments of the society.
The word Islamophobia has been defined in the Runnymede Report as “an unfounded hostility towards Islam” or a “fear or dislike of all or most Muslims” (Green 2015: 267). After the unfortunate events of 9/11, Muslims as a community was widely blamed for these hideous acts of terror. The magnitude of the events was so high that it created huge waves against Muslims at large. Innocent Muslims were targeted in different part of the world. The fear and dislike towards the Muslims had caused an overall environment where Muslims felt alienated and politically and socially discriminated. The Islamophobia behavior was a product of haltered and distrust, therefore it was/is of no good to anyone. This behavior caused the unlawful prosecution of Muslims and a reactionary haltered in the Muslim youth that is easily exploited by the terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS to recruit them in their ranks.
In an interview François Burgat who is a political sociologist and a senior researcher at the French Center national de la recherché scientifique (CNRS) stated that the many of the Western Jihadists are the product of the social inequality, unequal educational opportunities and social isolation in the western society. Religion is a secondary motivation to make a person a terrorist in his views that can be exploited when the root cause exist (François 2015) I also believe that we can control the surge of extremism by focusing on these root causes and not blaming religion to be the main motivation behind terrorism. Terrorism is a common enemy of the world peace and we have to counter this social evil jointly.
Bayat, A. (2007). Islam and democracy: what is the real question? (Vol. 8). Amsterdam University Press.
François Burgat Interview with Global Dialogue. Retrieved from http://isa-global- dialogue.net/the-appeal-of-the-islamic-state-an-interview-with- francois-burgat/
Green, T. H. (2015). Islamophobia and Its Casualties. In The fear of Islam: An introduction to Islamophobia in the West (p. 267).
Huntington, S. P. (1993). The clash of civilizations?