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Clash of Civilizations


Spacko
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Well I expect this to be a kinda touchy topic, but I still wonder what you guys think about the concept of "Clash of Civilizations". Are the western/christian world and the eastern/muslim world about to collide somehow? With weapons, with words, with cartoons for that matter? Is it about religion, or about west vs east, or neither?

 

This whole cartoon thing has me thinking about the divide that absolutely exists between muslim societies and the west as I know them both. With the wars already raging, with the suicide bombings, with al-Qaeda and terrorism becoming an ever greater threat? With alienated immigrants and with less dramatic dramas such as a drawing of Muhammad sparking cheese boycotts?

 

It all makes me wonder if indeed there isn't a clash of civilizations already going on, that all of those things are more than unfortunate but unrelated problems, and how and where it might possibly end.

 

Scary thought!

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I don't think it's a clash of civilisations. It's an internal Muslim thing and the West just gets in the way. A clash of civilisations suggests that there are two huge powerblocks facing each other in a struggle for domination. This often happens when one entity gains a lot of power and other smaller ones form alliances against that - the balance of power. The unique thing about the times we live in now is that we live in a world where there is only one superpower and most nations are fine with that. There are a few new superpowers with their own models and philosophies on the rise, but there is not much open confrontation (yet).

 

What is happening here is typical of fundamentalists of all sorts. It's why they resort to terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic used by small minorities with extreme ideas (that's why they're so small) to create antagonism. The idea behind terrorism is to do something so spectacular and atrocious that the majority, the powers that be, will lash out and take extreme measures in return. This will upset more moderate people and convince them to join or silently support the extremists.

 

This is what Al Qaeda did with 9/11. They did something so unheard of and spectacular it has become a symbol of evil. It has made the superpower lash out - not just attacking the base of the terrorists, but another, unrelated, country as well. Not to mention on a smaller scale the bombing of civilians, torture, corruption, etc. etc. This has proven to many Muslims that the US is indeed a bunch of evil imperialists. It may have weakened the actual organisation of Al Qaeda, but has strengthened the ideology and has turned it into something more like a franchise. The same is the case with the Van Gogh killer. Muslim extremism did not have much support in Holland at first - see for example the fruitless attempts by the AEL to set up a Dutch branch. However, after the murder some Dutchmen retaliated by firebombing Muslim schools. This has increased support for his cause and that's exactly what he wanted. More antagonism, more extremism, the erosion of the moderate middle.

 

The phrase 'hearts and minds', now rarely used anymore, may not have been a succesfull slogan, but it summarised quite well what the goals there should have been.

 

This is why it's called asymmetric warfare. It's a small group against a superpower. They will never conquer America, but that's not their goal. Their goal is to stimulate fundamentalism in the Muslim world. To erode the influence of the moderate, more modern Muslims and to use the anger against the West to grab more power for themselves.

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Sonic Goo' date='Feb 1 2006, 12:38 PM' post='29604']

This is what Al Qaeda did with 9/11. They did something so unheard of and spectacular it has become a symbol of evil. It has made the superpower lash out - not just attacking the base of the terrorists, but another, unrelated, country as well. Not to mention on a smaller scale the bombing of civilians, torture, corruption, etc. etc. This has proven to many Muslims that the US is indeed a bunch of evil imperialists. It may have weakened the actual organisation of Al Qaeda, but has strengthened the ideology and has turned it into something more like a franchise.

 

You forgot to mention that this is your opinion and not actual facts.

 

 

Sonic Goo' date='Feb 1 2006, 12:38 PM' post='29604']

They will never conquer America, but that's not their goal. Their goal is to stimulate fundamentalism in the Muslim world. To erode the influence of the moderate, more modern Muslims and to use the anger against the West to grab more power for themselves.

 

No, their goal is to kill anyone who does not believe as they do. Don't water it down.

 

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Well I expect this to be a kinda touchy topic, but I still wonder what you guys think about the concept of "Clash of Civilizations". Are the western/christian world and the eastern/muslim world about to collide somehow? With weapons, with words, with cartoons for that matter? Is it about religion, or about west vs east, or neither?

 

Clash of Civilizations is quite accurate. For example, strict Islamic culture is not compatible with the current Western world view. Basically Islam splits the world into the House of Islam and the House of War. That creates, *to them*, a legitimate us vs them fight. Add to that a history of spreading their religion by the sword and you have a clash.

 

As far as the East goes, as this century rolls on China is going to become a world power (they are definitely a regional power). The Chinese leaders seem to have a long-term view of improving their power that is sorely lacking elsewhere. Add to that a culture that doesn't mind letting you win a little if it lets them win a little and you have a recipe for a slow success.

 

 

 

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Sonic Goo' date='Feb 2 2006, 07:10 AM' post='29668']

CliffsNotes version: Al Qaeda is not a civilisation. The average Muslim does not care about the West of jihad.

 

 

i believe that every muslim is one fatwah away from strapping on the bomb belt. call me a racist, i don't care. they're brutal everywhere they exist. look at rwanda. look at sudan. they're murdering sick bastards regardless of whether they operate under the banner of Al Queda, Hamas, whatever. they don't even need to be arab. i don't know if it's the religion that turns its converts into animals, or if the people to whom islam is an attractive choice are already animals by birth or culture. i'm a friendly guy -- really easy to get along with. i went to a huge, diverse university, and i became friends with hindus, buddhists, jews, you name it. i have an open mind. i took a two different classes on islam, just because i was curious. muhammed was the leader of a band of murdering highway bandits before he ever decided he was god's prophet. not surprising his little religion should become what it is, is it?

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See I kinda think that's a generalization Indy, but then again do I know? Nah. Moderate muslim communities are by and large either silent supporters of terrorism or oblivious to what their silence tells the rest of the world. After all, if a bunch of rabiate Christians were blowing up civilians in the name of God, they would not under any circumstances find even quiet consent in the vast majority of believers. I also remember the tv images of not ten, not hundred but thousands of people - including little children - cheering for 9/11.

 

Well. Bad things. But Goo I meant to ask you even if you are right that there's just a few thousand whack jobs with kalashnikovs flying planes into our skyscrapers and bombing our mass transportation... Even if it's a minority of extremists trying to polarize the world... What are we gonna do about it? Just accept it? Forget 9/11, Madrid, London and invite 'em all in? And furthermore when countries are harbouring terrorists, dealing with them, protecting them in stead of arresting them and bringing them to justice - which is a fact for many states today - is it really as neat and tidy as you make it out to be? I say nay.

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A "clash of civilisations" seems to indicate there are two civilisations to clash.

 

I'm not so sure, cultures are diferent throughout the world and can respect each other, the problem here is Islamic militancy, and its a minority that is making a huge noise.

 

Its a problem the whole world needs to solve, its not a West v East thing, its more like a boil on the bum, its painful while its there, but it will burst and heal eventually............its not worth cutting your bottom off for!

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Independent' date='Feb 2 2006, 04:11 PM' post='29678']

i believe that every muslim is one fatwah away from strapping on the bomb belt. call me a racist, i don't care. they're brutal everywhere they exist. look at rwanda. look at sudan. they're murdering sick bastards regardless of whether they operate under the banner of Al Queda, Hamas, whatever. they don't even need to be arab. i don't know if it's the religion that turns its converts into animals, or if the people to whom islam is an attractive choice are already animals by birth or culture. i'm a friendly guy -- really easy to get along with. i went to a huge, diverse university, and i became friends with hindus, buddhists, jews, you name it. i have an open mind. i took a two different classes on islam, just because i was curious. muhammed was the leader of a band of murdering highway bandits before he ever decided he was god's prophet. not surprising his little religion should become what it is, is it?

 

I'm sure you also forgot the crusades.

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What year were the crusades? Long time ago. I'd like to think we were in "modern" times.

I think Islam was more noble, and respected back then in the Byzintine period they it is now. And thats sad.

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look at rwanda
Thank you for providing your own counterargument. The only religious figure to be tried for genocide at the Rwanda Tribunal is a catholic priest. In fact, after the genocide a lot of Rwandans were so disappointed with the role the Catholic church played, they converted to Islam.

 

Makes you wonder what you think of Black Muslims in the US...

 

What are we gonna do about it?
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to this. And the choices you give are not very valid ones. After all, we've already invited them in. They're already here. I believe Islam is going through something like a renaissance or enlightenment. Because of immigration, transport and modern media, Islam is coming into contact with more different views. And, like the influence of classic Greece and Rome on Renaissance Italy, it too will be influenced by it. Of course, this is not being accepted by everyone. Periods of change are usually also periods of crisis. Of course, there are also countermovements - like the Reformation in Europe. And with these kinds of social and religious schisms generally come wars. There will always be a level of violence that cannot be stopped, and perhaps even some that must be done. But we can at least try to keep it as limited as possible. This means going after the people who are truly dangerous. With ruthless efficiency, focused on your target, without any hypocrisy, without excusing (or even cheering) 'collateral damage'. This is why the war on terror should be fought in Afghanistan and, perhaps even more importantly, Pakistan. Through pressuring Saudi Arabia and other hotbeds of fundamentalism. By supporting free speech, by condemning violations of human right, by simply practising what we preach. Not by going off on some wild goose chase in Iraq and holding hands with Saudi princes, by shouting down Iran while Pakistan is the big nuclear proliferator. The madrassas are still in operation, the terror camps have recently reopened. Isn't that what it's supposed to be all about? What are we doing about it?
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