Friday, July 28, 2017

A World without Islam

Thanks to my friend, Dr. Yunus, for sharing Graham Fuller's piece "A World without Islam."

What if Islam had never existed? To some, it's a comforting thought: No clash of civilizations, no holy wars, no terrorists. Would Christianity have taken over the world? Would the Middle East be a peaceful beacon of democracy? Would 9/11 have happened? 

Here are my comments below:
I can see some problems with his interpretation of the mythical world without Islam. He tries to downgrade the influence of Western Christianity amongst the European crusaders saying that they were driven more by economics than anything else (p. 4). He argues that Islam did not have much to do with the resistance movement against imperialist except that it was a unifying force. I heard a lecture of late Palestinian professor Edward Said at Cal Tech in the 1980s where he had the opposing view saying that it was in Islamic states or territories with Muslim population where the colonists encountered maximum resistance; territories could be won by force but Islamic people never gave up in resisting imperialism.
Fuller admits that without Islam, the imperialist forces like the USA would have much easier time though trying to divide and rule the Middle East. and Asia. And that, interestingly, OBL is looked upon in many non-Muslim countries as the  "next Che Guevara" - something I did not quite think of earlier.
Finally, Fuller admits that world without Islam would be no better than what we have today. He says, "In fact, remove Islam from the path of history, and the world ends up exactly where it is today." The conflicts would still remain between the East and the West simply because of two different dimensions and ethos that is at the heart of the issue - Western Christianity and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. He says, "The culture of the Orthodox Church differs sharply from the Western post-Enlightenment ethos, which emphasizes secularism, capitalism, and the primacy of the individual. It still maintains residual fears about the West that parallel in many ways current Muslim insecurities: fears of Western missionary proselytism, a tendency to perceive religion as a key vehicle for the protection and preservation of their own communities and culture, and a suspicion of the "corrupted" and imperial character of the West."
 
Overall, Fuller's is a very interesting piece and should be read by anyone interested in global affairs.

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