Far too late now to avert a clash of civilizations

Developing Just Leadership

Zafar Bangash

Dhu al-Qa'dah 29, 1423 2003-11-01


by Zafar Bangash (Reflections, Crescent International Vol. 32, No. 14 2003-11, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1423)

Is a "clash of civilizations" between Islam and the West inevitable? Those Muslims desperately trying to avert one miss a crucial and obvious point: a full-scale war against Islam and Muslims, driven by the West's inexorable drive for global domination, has been underway for several decades, perhaps centuries. This war is being waged not only with guns and bullets – more than two million Muslims have been slaughtered in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the last decade alone – but by every other instrument at the West's disposal, from political manipulation and propaganda to economic and cultural warfare. The West's message is clear: accept western hegemony or else.

The physical assault on Muslims is an admission of the West's failure to entice the overwhelming majority away from the deen by either hedonistic materialism or under the guise of freedom and democracy. Perhaps most insidious is the campaign to atack Islam itself by raising questions about the Qur'an and the character of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, in the name of "scholarship". The enemies of Islam know that as long as Muslims seek inspiration from the Qur'an and the example of the noble Messenger, upon whom be peace, they will never accept submission to any alien ideology.

There are two parties in this struggle: the global Islamic movement and the West, the latter led by a greedy, arrogant and power-intoxicated US. They represent two divergent worldviews; one of faith, humility and submission to Allah, the other of greed, arrogance and worldly aggrandisement. Dr Kalim Siddiqui considered every Muslim to be a member of the global Islamic movement, even if he or she is not aware of it. The West is not so easily defined. Although its geographical and ideological roots lie in Europe and North America, its influence has spread throughout the world by political, economic, educational and cultural domination and infiltration. Thus the elites and governments of virtually every country in the Muslim world are as much a part of the West as those of the US, Britain and France. They exist not to represent or serve the people of their countries, but the interests and agendas of the West. The House of Saud, for example, was established by British intrigue to undermine and divide the world of Islam. It finances the US's economy by giving or "investing" Muslim wealth there in enormous quantities (roughly US$2 trillion to date), and promotes a ritualistic and apolitical version of Islam. It also ensures that the true collective social and political potential of Hajj is blunted by confining it to mere rituals, and tries its best to undermine and counteract genuine Islamic movements.

Just as much agents of the West are the host of so-called "moderate Muslims" who are promoted in Western institutions and on Western platforms as champions of Islam. These range from academics and intellectuals to journalists, human rights workers and political activists, and often appear to represent very different ideological agendas; what they have in common is Western recognition and patronage because of their opposition to Islamic movements. These Muslims often call not only on Muslims to reform themselves, but also for "reformation" of Islam and the Qur'an (na’udhu bi-Allah). It is true that many Muslims' understandings of Islam are limited, misguided or distorted, but the corrective process cannnot and will not come from those who lack even a rudimentary knowledge and understanding of Islam, and whose own values, principles and agendas are influenced by the enemies of Islam. The struggle against western domination cannot be waged only with guns; it has to be waged first and foremost with (and against) ideas and attitudes.

It is too late now to trying to avert a "clash of civilizations", for it is well under way, not through any action of Muslims, but because of the West's determination to have all mankind subordinate to their exploitative hegemony. Whether such a clash was inevitable or not, it is certainly now unavoidable unless either the West changes its hegemonic agenda, or the Muslims submit to it. Those who claim otherwise, and try to convince Muslims that the West can be lived with, are – knowingly or unknowingly – serving the purposes of those who are bent on destroying the pristine principles of the divinely appointed and ordained faith.

Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) in Toronto, Canada.

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