Islam and Peace: A Rejoinder

By Hilali, A. Z. | Contemporary Review, April 1997 | Go to article overview

Islam and Peace: A Rejoinder


Hilali, A. Z., Contemporary Review


Keith Suter's article 'Is Islam a Threat to International Peace and Security?, published in Contemporary Review (Vol. 269, No. 1571, December 1996), raises a number of issues for debate.

Dr. Suter's article is based on an interpretation of Samuel Huntington's well-known article, 'The Clash of Civilisations' (Foreign Affairs, summer 1993), in which Huntington argues that Islam must inevitably clash with a western liberal civilisation bent on exporting its values and that Islam may overwhelm the west. However, Dr. Suter is not clear about the Islamic revivalism and renaissance in the post-Cold War era. He irrationally blames all Islamic groups as threats to world peace and he also confuses Muslim societies and Islamic values. In this regard, Islam as a religion is no more and no less a source of conflict or threat to the world than any other religion whether Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism. Many of its values are applicable to all human beings, not only Muslims. So Keith Surer should actually discuss the current Islamic activities in some Muslim countries by placing them in their proper socio-political context, not in the broader concept of Islam.

My comments seek only to offer some thoughts provoked by Dr. Suter and to clarify certain aspects of the arguments which are the major sources of conflict. It needs to be recognised that the current Islamic movements are fuelled not by absolute economic disparities but by socio-political 'relative deprivation'. Islamic revivalism is in many ways the successor to failed nationalist programmes and offers an Islamic alternative or solution, a third way distinct from capitalism and communism. Islamists argue that Islam is not just a collection of beliefs and ritual actions but a comprehensive ideology embracing public as well as personal life. It is important to understand that Islamic activism is a cause of concern but not for alarm and challenge to any civilisation. Like radicals throughout history, Islamic radicals become moderate, once accommodated and incorporated in the socio-political mainstream. If they do not, they perish or become sociologically irrelevant cults. Therefore, extremism can best be reduced through gradual democratisation, a process and a system of governance which the West is deliberately not encouraging in the Muslim world particularly in the Middle East.

In the early 1980s, Islamic resurgence became synonymous in the Western world with political extremism, terrorism, hostage crises and suicide bombings. As the decade came to a close, Islamic resurgence began a new phase; Islamic movements began to participate in the political system instead of opposing it. However, the two momentous events of 1991 - the Gulf war and the break-up of the Soviet Union, are casting their shadow over relations between the West and the arc of predominantly Muslim countries ranging from Central Asia in the east to North Africa in the West. Until recently the Muslim countries were divided between the US and Soviet Union but the collapse of the Soviet Union has made the West, led by the United States, into the principal external enemy of pan-Islamism. It is interesting to note that at the time of the Cold War, most of the Muslim states were loyal allies of the West against the 'Evil Empire' of the Soviet Union. This was a time when the West was using religion as a weapon and even financed many of the fundamentalist groups to contain and to stop the flood of communism.

So far, however, the reality is that Islamic revivalism is neither a product of the Iranian revolution nor a result of Libyan extremist policies. The depth of frustration and anger is a reaction against European colonial rule, support for unpopular regimes and the internal weaknesses of the Muslim governments. Although some scholars argue that the present awakening in the Muslim world is a response to the decline of power and the loss of divine favour, in fact, the current revolt is a product of the weak economies of the Muslim countries, illiteracy and high unemployment, especially among the younger generation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Islam and Peace: A Rejoinder
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.