No More Crusades
Rethinking Islam in the West
by Bruce B. Lawrence
"Since September 11, the "Clash of Civilizations" theory has dominated and incorporated all others. It seems to explain Muslim-Western hostility as both ancient and irreversible. It is neither. This enmity is made by humans and thus can be unmade by humans."
Points covered in the article:
..What is needed to advance beyond pseudo-dialectics and interminable warfare is a double critique-internal and external-that must begin with the symbolic event that haunts the memory of Christians and Muslims alike: the Crusades.
..Who are today's Crusaders? (Read and you may be surprised).
....Crusader logic is matched by Islamist, or Islamic extremist, rhetoric. Those [9-11] planes were meant not only to destroy buildings and to kill people, but also to send a message to the largest possible audience through modern media. The message was as stark as it was simple: the United States is the enemy of Islam, and the core of the United States is business that is privileged by the capitalist world system.
..We do need religious voices to speak to the current fault line between East and West, Islam and America, and it is Muslim pluralists who are the philosophers and religious thinkers with whom non-Muslim others can and should make common cause.
..To make a plural world safe both for democratic citizens and religious rivals demands nothing less than a hardy inter-faith coalition of good-willed Abrahamic advocates. The only victory that counts in the war on terror will come off the battlefield, in the minds and hearts of moral combatants who recognize their internal enemies as well as their external foes.
..Without attention to the fault lines of human caprice, including those within the churches, there can be neither peace nor its necessary concomitant, sustained Muslim-Christian cooperation, which also includes Jews and Buddhists along with others dedicated to pursuit of the collective good. It is a jihad, in the truest sense, a struggle against our own demons as well as others. It prohibits a Crusade. Indeed, it will only succeed when Crusades, Crusaders and Crusading have been understood for what they are: a bygone chapter of world history not to be repeated, except as a cautionary tale, for our own and for all future generations.