Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Islam and the West

Recently on Twitter I came across a link to Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996) about the war-jihad-crusade between Islam and the West. I have read reviews and criticism. I find it interesting that some 900 years ago or so the Pope sent off a rag tag group of zealots to Palestine to take back the Holy Land from Islam.

I think that history would show that the better reason for The Crusades was to retake the trade routes back from the Turks and the Pope also needed to find some project for the out-of-work knights and soldiers. After the break-up of feudalism, the knights had generally been riding around Europe giving the locals a very hard time. So the Holy Roman Church preached crusade and the men of Europe rode off to the call of God, Glory and Gold.

What came back with the returning warriors was new wealth in war booty, the most important of which was Islamic Thought. This included the knowledge of math, the Arabic number system of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and skills in defensive and offensive war craft. The Crusaders also brought back new cloths, spices, art, architecture and sciences. From the Muslims the West got the compass –Ah! Direction--new music and new ideas and a new question. Is there something else besides The Holy Roman Church? The search for the answer leads to the renaissance, the reformation, the enlightenment and all the arts and knowledge of the western world. Muslim Thought is integral in the development of the West but it seems Islam took very little from the West.

Today the rag tag zealot is the Islamist—and he does not need the West. Those who fight against the West-- the terrorists-- use terror to frighten a larger and more powerful world. It is truly a religious war. Islam does not need the West, but it does need peace. The West does need the oil of the Middle East.

The forces of the West will win this war. Peace will come. The West has fought and won many a hard battle but it has too often failed to win the peace. Let the West look to this—let the West look to the shared cultural past. War-crusade-jihad has not worked. The West should reach out to all of Islam with an open honest hand to build free market economic ties with the Eastern world. The West must realize that the best thing that it can import to Islam is respect for their religion and their diverse cultures.


  1. What is right and what is wrong I don’t want to know more about whatever a fistful Islamic folk are doing all around the world is quit wrong, and through any one point of view anybody can prove their action are nothing but harming their self.
    Your post is quit well but having read it I could not resist myself by saying all this as I too got violated by Islamic terrorism.

  2. shashibhushantamare—Thank you for the comment. I am sure terror has hit your part of the world more than my home on Rocky Mountains of the American West. We must fight all terrorism but we should look to the causes. Young men just do not wake up in the morning and decide over coffee to become suicide bombers. Maybe we can find these men something better for them to do.