Civilizational Divide

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  • Topic: Islam, Islamism, Islamic terrorism
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SOCIOLOGY

CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS
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CONTENTS
1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………..3 2. What is civilization?.....................................................................................................4 3. Why a Clash of Civilizations?......................................................................................5 4. Critique………………………………………………………………………………..6 5. My Hypothesis………………………………………………………………………...7 6. Islamic Theology………………………………………………………………………9 7. Islamic History……………………………………………………………………….12 8. Consequences of the oil boom………………………………………………………14 9. What is to be done?.....................................................................................................15 10. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………….17 11. Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………..18

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1. INTRODUCTION
The theory of a clash of civilizations has been with us for some time. British historian Arnold Toynbee used the term in a series of lectures he delivered in 1953. The Middle East specialist Bernard Lewis wrote in 1990 that the Muslim rage against the West is “no less than a clash of civilizations” (Lewis, 1990, p 60). Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard University political science professor, has given new currency to the notion of a clash of civilizations. His 1993 article in Foreign Affairs has gained global audience. A few years ago, I lectured to a political science class at Pondicherry University in Southern India. I was pleasantly surprised by the extent of the knowledge that Indian students possessed on this topic. A majority of the Indian students agreed with Huntington=s conclusion. The bipolar division of the world based on political ideology (communism versus liberalism) was no longer relevant. The world was entering a new period of intense conflict among civilizations. Writes Huntington,

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. (Huntington, 1993, P.22)

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2. WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?
Civilization and culture are related concepts. A way of life is called a culture. A culture that includes millions of people and has developed complex systems of art, literature, music, social, political and religious institutions may be called a civilization. There are hundreds of cultural groups but only a handful of civilizations. Huntington has identified seven or eight contemporary civilizations in the world. These include the Western (Europe and North America), the Slavic (Russia and Eastern Europe), the Islamic, the Chinese, the Hindu, the Japanese, the Latin American, and the African.

Historians tell us that civilizations rise and fall with some frequency. Many ancient civilizations, once glorious and powerful, exist no more. Where are Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia and Babylonia? They are on the ash heap of history. Arnold Toynbee studied 26 civilizations, and of that number only some half a dozen survive today. The Chinese and the Hindu civilizations are unique in their longevity. They go back at least 4,000 years. The Hindu Brahmins chant hymns from the Vedas composed nearly 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. This is an amazing record of continuity for a civilization. In contrast, Islam born in the 7th century has the shortest history at 1,400 years. Some have argued that the relative youth of Islam is the cause of its belligerence. Islam is said to be in its adolescence. I do not agree with these views.

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3. WHY A CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS?
First, differences among civilizations are...
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