Sunday, December 30, 2007

COMMENT: The clash within?

Are we seeing a clash of civilisations in the world? Is there a battle going on between a monolithic Christian (or Judeo-Christian if you're in a somewhat more ecumenical mood) West and an equally monolithic Islamic East? If so, where do Europe's Muslims and India's Christians fit in? Where do South America's Catholics fit in? And where do millions of Hindus, Buddhists etc fit?

Toward the end of his 2006 work On The Road To Kandahar: Travels Through Conflict In The Islamic World, Bourke wonders ...

How anyone, particularly a Western author, could have the temerity to generalize in entirely unqualified terms about 1.3 billion people across half the planet of a dozen different racial and several score different national backgrounds in a way that would have been entirely laughable, and indeed quite offensive, if they had been referring to 'Christians' or even the world's relatively small Jewish population ...

Of course, we in the West take for granted that our own civilisation is hardly a monolith. Hence, we dismiss as ignorant the rants of bin-Ladin and others who claim we are all a bunch of Zionist Crusaders plotting to destroy the Islamic world.

We might dismiss the bin-Ladins of the Islamic world. But do we dismiss our own bin-Ladins? We know what damage their bin-Ladins have done in London and New York and Madrid. But what about the damage our bin-Ladins have done in Iraq?

Or should we be even making such comparisons?

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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