June 29, 2006 Middle East Policy Council
By Dr Fauzi Najjar. Professor emeritus at the Center for Integrative Studies, College of Social Science, Michigan State University.
Fauzi Najjar discusses the cultural implications of globalization for Islam as viewed by Muslims, in particular the Islamists, who express the greater suspicion of this development and, instead, seek to promote an Islamic universalism that, in their view, is superior to any cultural paradigm imposed by the Christian West. In addition to focusing on globalization from an Islamist point of view, he also presents the views of moderate Arabs and Muslims, who entertain a more open, yet critical and cautious attitude toward globalization. The twenty-first century presents the Arab-Muslim world with a challenge that may determine its future for generations. The Arabs are quite concerned about maintaining their cultural identity and their independence in the face of the West's superiority and its pervading globalization. Evidence of this is the huge volume--verging on a deluge--of Arabic literature on globalization and its "dangers," in addition to hundreds of seminars, workshops, and conferences focusing on "Islam and globalization," the Arab-Islamic heritage and national and cultural identity. I) Globalization and Arab Intelligentsia
However, the Arab intelligentsia is divided into three different attitudes toward globalization. There are those who reject it as the "highest stage of imperialism" and a "cultural invasion," threatening to dominate people, undermine their distinctive "cultural personality" and destroy their "heritage," "authenticity," "beliefs" and "national identity." The second group of Arab thinkers, secularist by inclination, welcomes globalization as the age of modern science, advanced technology, global communications and knowledge-based information....