Towards clash of civilizations
Few years ago when a sooth- sayer predicted that the Third World War
will be triggered by a turban clad man with a beard, few people took him
Algerians showing signs of asserting themselves against their
autocratic rulers. Picture courtesy: Google
Then Osama Bin Laden was just begging to be felt in the international
scene but it was difficult to imagine how the man and his dogma would be
a catalyst for an event as destructive as a World War.
However, over the years he has been able to keep the insane flames of
religious fanaticism ticking marshalling the power necessary to cause
concern among Western countries which are mainly Catholic or Christian.
Most countries in Middle East have been having autocratic regimes but
they also enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with the West mainly due to
the clout Western nations had in developing the Middle Eastern oil
industry. Thus the West was able to control and influence the affairs in
the entire Middle Eastern region through these nations that were
dependent on them as their ‘friends’.
Iran was the first country to throw the Western leaning Shah Pahlavi
and establish itself with its own values and outlook signifying a
departure from this political establishment.
However, it was the advent of Osama Bin Laden and his fanatic suicide
cult in the recent history that posed the real threat to Western
domination in the Middle East.
The partisan support the West traditionally extended to Israel helped
Osama in no uncertain measure to project the West as the enemy of Islam
thus polarizing radical thinking among Muslim fundamentalists during the
Today the situation has certainly become unmanageable to the West
with the fall of its friendly autocrat Mubarak in Egypt. The trend is
now becoming more discernible with civil movements in Yemen and Algeria
showing signs of asserting themselves against their own autocratic
rulers. And if this trend continues even the most Western friendly
regimes in countries like Saudi Arabia would find themselves at the
mercy of Islamic fundamentalism which they call as ‘true Islamisation’.
Religious centered battles
Medieval history in Europe and the Middle East is replete with
religious centered battles between the Muslims and Christians for
religious supremacy in the region. No love has been lost between the
followers of these two religions when thousands died in the Christian
quests to capture Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus.
Judging by the lurid details of these battles some historian of
European medieval history have commented those to be the worst battles
humanity has ever witnessed in terms of human misery and brutality. Thus
the vendetta between Christianity and Islam has an extremely unpleasant
The common belief about religion is that it is made up of followers
of a doctrine preached by a particular religious icon. But in practice
what we generally take to be a religion is a civilization of an era and
the values of a particular group of people.
Thus the Christian religion has been adapted into the Western values
giving it an identity and Islam has been adapted by the Arab culture and
values giving it an identity that is different.
This adaptation by a civilization is so strong that it could even be
that the original doctrine of that most benevolent religious leader
could often be either lost or altered in the process. Therefore the
religions practised by people in the world today have been over shadowed
by their culture and values.
Today Christian prosetylisation is taking place all over the world
backed by Western riches and influence. Even the world dominating
position English language earned after colonialism is being used to
convert people in poor countries.
Although church attendance in the West has dropped to abysmal levels
they donate lavishly to poor countries as a way of propagating Western
values and culture so as to keep those countries within their fold.
On the other hand if you talk to most Muslims they will tell you that
the whole world will soon be Isalamised in keeping with the wishes of
Allah. They believe that ‘Jihad’ or the holy war is justified as long as
it is to propagate the message of Allah.
They believe that even though Jesus was a prophet he was not able to
deliver the message of God as he was crucified by the Jews. Thus the
Christian religion, in its present form has adopted God’s message in the
Though rooted in the history these dogmas and beliefs have found a
new mew meaning in the modern world with the emergence of Israel in
And what has been happening in Palestine since Israel came into being
has been interpreted as a bad omen requiring fortification and Jihad by
the Muslims. Now with the West losing its friendly autocrats one by one
in the Middle East and with liberation movements forming Governments
that are more Islamist, the signs are that polarization of religious
sentiments is now taking place in the most volatile area of the world.
Thus this era we live in happens to be an era of competitiveness
between the two religions in the world for global domination with their
attendant antipathy towards each other.
The irony however is that this is not a situation that neither Jesus
Christ nor Prophet Mohamed would have wished that their compassionate
and benevolent preaching would usher. This is not religion but plain
human politics and avarice, the very failings in humans that the
religious leaders preached against.