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Unformatted text preview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ Crusades and Jihads in Postcolonial Times By Dr S Sayyid Civilisation as we know it 'The events of September 11 seemed to have jolted the clock of history out of snooze mode.' There is often a scene in action films where the ticking of the clock on the bomb that will destroy 'civilisation as we know it' is suspended and the audience is relieved to discover that Armageddon has been deferred once more. This relief, however, is short-lived as either the villain or, more often than not, the hero's sidekick inadvertently jolts the clock out of suspension, and the doomsday machine begins its countdown. The events of September 11 seemed to have jolted the clock of history out of snooze mode. The American-led war on terrorism is often seen as a clash between western and Islamic civilisations: the geopolitical analogue to the geological movement of plate tectonics. This is despite the attempt by some western leaders and leaders of Muslim countries to argue that the 'war on terror' is not directed against Muslims or Islam - but only against extremists. There are other voices who see a chain of equivalences so that Al-Qaeda = Taliban = Islamism = Islam. Among the ultra-conservative constituency that considers President Bush to be one of their own, you can hear calls for the 'nuking of Mecca', the occupation of Middle East oil fields, the transformation of the Muslim world on the pattern of post-1945 Germany and Japan. Among the disenfranchised and disaffected of the Islamicate world, the 'war on terror' is also read as war against Islam and resistance to repression by Muslims is recoded as terrorism, while the repression that they face is ignored. Beyond this representation of cosmic conflict between the west and Islam there are two processes at play. The first concerns the geopolitics of the Middle East, and the second concerns what can be called the postcolonial condition. The relationship between the Islamic world and the west is often understood as a clash between two very different civilisations. Dr S Sayyid considers an alternative way of representing world politics, arguing that there can be no single authorised version of history. A protest in Pakistan After the Ottoman Empire Legacy of the Ottoman Empire Since the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1924, the historical heartlands of the Islamicate world have been under direct or indirect rule of the leading western powers (Britain, France and the USA). The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamicate state in geopolitical terms, but also in cultural and ideological terms. Its fragmentation, following its defeat in World War One - into the countries of Turkey, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and parts of Saudi Arabia - has deprived the Islamicate world of a 'Great Power' that could potentially speak for Muslim interests and could exercise some form of leadership over the global Muslim community. The absence of a legitimate Islamic centre is one of the reasons why the Islamicate world is beset by divisions...
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2011 for the course SOC 131 taught by Professor Kathy during the Spring '06 term at Michigan State University.
- Spring '06
- The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order