Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century

Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century

Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century

Islam in Southeast Asia: Political, Social and Strategic Challenges for the 21st Century

Excerpt

The process of globalization has taken us out of isolation and brought us into a truly new phase of human co-existence which, for the present, is unsettled and dangerous. Globalization initially promised to be a vehicle for promotion of human development and democracy addressing issues like freedom and opportunities for progress. However, it seems to have brought greater concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the industrialized West. September 11 further accentuated the negative dimensions of globalization. The U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq heightened the sense of insecurity over the prospects of world peace and people were alerted to the stark reality of the militarist overtones of globalization. Terrorism is heinous and frightening wherever it occurs and when it extends to suicide bombing and becomes an engaging theme of world civilizations, its negative repercussions are bound to overshadow every other aspect of East-West relations, especially relations between the Muslim world and the United States.

The West's relentless drive to fight terrorism with military means has brought espionage activities and intelligence agencies to a new prominence that is reminiscent of similar tendencies following WWI when fifth columnist activities overshadowed the climate of understanding among countries and nations. Mutual suspicion has became dominant and the world has seen, as per Subroto Roy, "a collapse of the global conversation". The crimes of September 11 were ones of political protest, but they were not something inexplicable or sui generis. They symbolized a total breakdown of the centuriesold cosmopolitan conversation with Islam. There exists today a fundamental . . .

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