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Friday, April 20, 2018

Huntington's legacies: The West versus Islam

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The most vital message of Samuel P. Huntington, who was the distinguished professor of Harvard University, is that in the Post-Cold war period the world would probably face a seismic change from ideological war to civilizational clash which first vibrantly appeared in his 1993 article The 'Clash of Civilizations?' that later became a book. Huntington has exceedingly underpinned on the clash between two civilizations, Western and Islamic. Only relatively has this provocative calculation shaken the mental orb of Political pundits. Both civilizations are distinct along religious and cultural lines.

Huntington holds that "Ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, and the separation of church and state" often have little resonance outside the West. Accordingly, the Islamic version of world opposes almost wholly to them.

These two civilizations are ancient rivals if we look at them from the lens of Crusade war and antagonistic nature. Huntington, indeed, has rightly portrayed what will be the reality between them after the cold war. The fact is that the west has the core state, the USA, whereas there is no core state that represents Islam in inclusive manner due to multiple divided lines among Muslim states.

Powerful states of them such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesian or Pakistan but not necessarily Turkey for its torn status do not concur to make space for their civilizational leadership by any for the wish of all to take the lead. In the view of Huntington, the underlying problem between the two civilizations is the competitive desire for superiority than anything else.  

Islam wants to Islamize the world in the view that non-Muslims especially westerners who are atheist need to come under Islamic umbrella but the west is determined to westernize in the aspect of that non-western values barbarous need to be refined by its values.

The Foreign Policy by its essay "The True Clash of Civilizations" says, 'Samuel Huntington's controversial 1993 thesis - that the cultural division between "Western Christianity" and "Orthodox Christianity and Islam" is the new fault line for conflict - resonates more loudly than ever since September 11'. 19 members of Al-Qaeda, majority of whom were Saudi citizens, committed the attack as sympathizers of Islam in the response of the US support to Israel, and repressive treatment towards Muslim population at its hand. Hence, simply the 'War on Terror' action on Afghanistan and Iraq was justified by "The Clash of Civilization"notion.

Moreover, the recent terrorist attacks to Western nations are the reflections of what Huntington predicted. "Terrorism is the weapon of Muslim (the weak), says Huntington, and it will be the dominant threat to the world." The rise of IS has added a new dimension to Islamic terrorism that is indeed dismaying the world peace. Apart from that, the rise of Donald Trump on presidential chair, the awkward leader of the core state, has not only cornered the West into a critical juncture but also his belligerent expressions and pronouncements towards Islam is exacerbating the ultimate clash with Islamic civilization.

 It goes without saying that the west is militarily, economically, and technologically more powerful than its counterpart. But, the warm-hearted chemistry of Islamic Civilization with Chinese makes it very energetic. Those Muslim states who have, for example, aspiration to obtain nukes and develop military might are getting cooperative stance from China to counter their common enemy, the West.

What the existential truth between them is makes us think that one party's longevity of acceptance cannot remain for a long time to the other in the following evident ways. Firstly, the democratic installation and applicability to Islamic countries cannot get a robust ground.

Huntington also opined that to install democracy in Muslim states, which have a gluing combination with Sharia based law to run their institutions and rule their citizens, the west will fight with them. Showing pragmatic evidences of the US invasions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, that claim is defying critics. Therefore the democratic peace theory's so-called annunciation, "democratic states do not fight each other", acknowledges plausibility of warring motives between these civilizations.

Secondly, the identity polarization of them shows that the tireless endeavor of Turkey to be a member of the European Union club gets dilatory gesture till now though it is a NATO partner.Finally, it is pertinent to say that the migratory flow of Muslims in Europe is now getting preventative beacon from the region. Last year Pew Research calculated thatthe Muslim share of Europe's total population has been increasing steadily.

And, since German leader Angela Merkel has drummed to take a huge number of Muslims, the right-wing has emerged as a response. In the Western political agendas, anti-Muslim recipe has been a magnetic attraction to mainstream society for racist, nationalist, and populist leaders. Today or tomorrow, the forward-incidents can intensify the unavoidable clash between the West versus Islam.


The writer is a student of International Relations, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and
Technology University

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