ABDULHAMIT – Clash of civilizations or clash among Muslims?

Clash of civilizations or clash among Muslims?Samuel Huntington’s prophecy in his seminal article shortly after the end of the Cold War in which he argued that any new clashes would be between different civilizations attracted a great deal of attention.Perhaps thousands of articles have been written and hundreds of meetings have been held to discuss his clash of civilizations thesis. In his article, he referred to Confucian, Muslim, Hindu, Slav-Orthodox and African civilizations, adding that any clashes in the future would take place along the domestic frontiers of these civilizations.The meaning of this argument for our region was that it referred to the possibility of a clash between Muslims and the West in a vast geography stretching from the Balkans to Caucasia and from the Middle East to the Mediterranean. The tragedies in Bosnia and Chechnya in the 1990s confirmed this thesis. Despite serious criticisms, the theory was convincing for many analysts and politicians.The Sept. 11 attacks made the clash of civilizations thesis popular again. A group of people who argued that they were fighting in the name of Allah and Islam attacked the heart of Western civilization. The conditions were ripe to call this a good case of a clash of civilizations. US President George W. Bush referred to the incident as a crusade nobody paid attention to the reactions and condemnations by Muslim opinion leaders and clerics to the terrorist attacks as though al-Qaeda was representative of Islamic civilization. The Afghan and Iraqi wars which Bush waged in response to the attacks reinforced this perception.There were religious and civilizational wars in the past and there might be others in the future as well. However, recent developments in our region reveal that clashes between groups of similar religious or civilizational identities are far more dangerous and destructive than wars between different religions.True, thousands of innocent people died in the war waged by Bush against Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s rule by relying on ungrounded pretexts people were tortured and mistreated in Abu Ghraib prison. However, the number of people killed in clashes between different sectarian and ideological groups after Saddam is greater than the number of people who were killed in the war. Information and data compiled by medical journal Lancet on suicide attacks reveal a terrible fact about the suicide bombings which we hear about on a daily basis in news reports. A total of 1,003 suicide attacks were carried out in the period between 2003 and 2010. Those who conducted these attacks in the name of Islam argue that they were fighting a jihad against occupying forces. However, 12,284 Iraqi people were murdered in these attacks whereas the number of foreign casualties is only 200.In addition, Syria, which has been suffering from a state of chaos for the past three years, is not under occupation by foreign forces. However, more than 130,000 people have been killed in the fight between the people of Syria and a repressive regime. Millions who were affected by the fight had to leave their homes. There are also thousands of people wounded and imprisoned. Imagine a “Muslim” administration that bombs its own people and cities by using missiles and warplanes.Egypt, the jewel of the Middle East where even the left-wing is considered religious, is exhausting itself via a political turmoil and dispute. A number of Muslim Brotherhood members, including the first-ever elected president of the country, are in prison the military administration which declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization also issued the death penalty for 529 members of the group. The death penalty for 37 was approved the same verdict is also being sought for an additional 683 people. It is possible to extend the list of fraternal wars to include clashes in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have regrettably observed what grave problems intra-Muslim disputes pose considering our inability to resolve the Kurdish and Alevi issues for many years, the insults uttered by Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, an Islamic leader, against a Muslim community and the attempts to shut down Turkish schools.I now better understand why Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, when listing three enemies of Muslims in Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, referred to disagreement, ignorance and poverty. The remedy for the Western world, which had suffered from sectarian wars, is democracy and secularism. Nursi also made the same diagnosis in the Muslim world a century ago but the Muslim world did not take any concrete steps to address this problem. It is hard to offer a remedy to this problem by relying on the classical era and there is no answer to the question of how disagreements between Muslims can be settled or administered. We need to take action to offer alternatives to the dilemma of either obedience or treason.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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