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"Globalization and the Pending Collapse of the Islamic World"

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by AroundTheWorld, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. AroundTheWorld

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    I read an interesting interview with this guy in the German edition of "Der Spiegel" today. Unfortunately, they do not have it in the English edition. He grew up in Egypt as son of an Imam. He is critical of Islam, but still considers himself a Muslim.


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    Globalization and the Pending Collapse of the Islamic World

    By Hamed Abdel-Samad | Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    In the western world, an astounding number of people believe that Islam is overpowering and on the rise. But as Hamed Abdel-Samad explains, today’s Islam is seriously ill — and, both culturally and socially, is in retreat. He argues that the religion can offer few, if any, constructive answers to the questions of the 21st century.

    In the western world, an astounding number of people believe that Islam is overpowering and on the rise. Demographic trends, along with bloody attacks and shrill tones of Islamist fundamentalists, seem to confirm that notion.

    The rise of Islamism reflects little more than the profound lack of self-awareness and constructive real-life options for many young Muslims.

    In reality, however, it is the Islamic world which feels on the defensive and determined to protest vehemently against what it perceives as a western, aggressive style of power politics, including in the economic sphere.

    In short, a stunning pattern of asymmetric communication and mutual paranoia determines the relationship between (Muslim) East and (Christian) West — and has done so for generations.

    Regarding Islam, I think that in its present condition it may be many things, except for one — that it is powerful. Indeed, I view today’s Islam as seriously ill — and, both culturally and socially, as in retreat.

    It can offer few, if any, constructive answers to the questions of the 21st century and instead barricades itself behind a wall of anger and protest.

    The religiously motivated violence, the growing Islamization of public space and the insistence on the visibility of Muslim symbols are merely nervous reactions to this retreat.

    The rise of Islamism reflects little more than the profound lack of self-awareness and constructive real-life options for many young Muslims.

    For all the supposed glory and dynamism in the eyes of its acolytes, it is little more than the desperate act to paint a house in seemingly resplendent colors, while the house itself is about to topple onto itself.

    But no doubt about it, the collapse of a house is a dangerous matter — and not just for its residents.

    The key question is this: With which tools can Islam, in the eyes of the Islamists, actually conquer the world of today? After all, in the era of nanotechnology, demographics alone is no longer sufficient to determine the fate of the world.

    The "clash of civilizations" takes place not only between Islam and the West, but also within the Islamic world itself.

    To the contrary, the rise of half-educated masses without any real prospects for economic and social advancement in too many Muslim countries, in my view, is more of a burden on Islam than on the West.

    True, there is a widespread trend which has much of the Islamic world disassociate itself from secular and scientific knowledge in a drastic manner — and which chooses to adopt a profoundly irreconcilable attitude to the spirit of modernity.

    At the same time, for all their presumed backwardness and lack of perspective, young Muslims in many countries undergo a distinct individualization process.

    True, that development primarily concerns those who are quite intense users of the Internet and who, depending on their personal financial situation, also tend to be devoted to buying modern consumer goods.

    Either way, the outcome is a profound shift from the pre-Internet past: They no longer trust the old traditional structures.

    These trends can ultimately bring about one of two possible outcomes — a move toward democratization or a step back toward mass fanaticism and violence.

    Which outcome it will be depends first and foremost on the frameworks in which these young individuals find themselves.

    What is as perplexing as it is remarkable is that, in key countries such as Iran and Egypt, the trend toward radicalization and the opposite outcome of young people managing to free themselves from outdated structures occur simultaneously.

    Meanwhile, the battle lines between these two opposing outcomes have hardened more than ever before — and a bitter confrontation has become inevitable.

    Today’s Islam is seriously ill — and, both culturally and socially, is in retreat.

    As far as I can tell, the "clash of civilizations" seized upon by the late Samuel Huntington has long become reality. But it is important to realize that it takes place not only between Islam and the West, as many suspected it, but also within the Islamic world itself.

    It is an inner-Islamic clash between individualism and conformity pressure, between continuity and innovation, modernity and the past.

    It would be naïve to assume that real political reform — and, along with it, a modernizing reform of Islam — are anything but in the rather distant future.

    That will be the case as long as the education systems still favor pure loyalty over freer forms of thinking.

    Perversely, but predictably, the directly related lack of economic productivity and the growing popular discontent over the inability to tap into a gainful economic life help the radical Islamists to advance their cause.

    Even in the socially and politically better-off Gulf countries, the process of opening up is primarily undertaken by “virtue” of introducing modern consumer culture — rather than as a dynamic renewal of thought. (Hello China.)

    The so-called reformers of Islam still dare not approach the fundamental problems of culture and religion. Reform debates are triggered frequently, but never completed.

    Hardly anyone asks, "Is there possibly a fundamental shortcoming of our faith?" Hardly anyone dares to attack the sanctity of the Koran.

    Editor's Note: This is Part I of a two-part essay by Hamed Abdel-Samad. Part II will run tomorrow.

    http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=8696
     
  2. ChrisBosh

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    Got to admit, at least he know what sells. People love to read about how big and bad Islam is, if you are Muslim and want to get some cheddar, just get into this line of bashing.

    One Muslim thread saying something positive gets the trashers out, mentioning how they don't want to hear it. No wonder Islamaphobia is spreading like wildfire...there are two sides to every story. Hell there are lots of bigger problems on this planet...the repercussions of constantly bombarding everyone with this negativity will be seen in the near future.
     
  3. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    People forget history so quickly. Everyone acts like Islam is this radical kind of text from the Koran that corrupts people's minds.

    Well if you study history of Europe Christians were nearly as fanatical and violent. Spanish Inquisition for instance. I mean most people who went to the New WOrld were fleeing religion persecution.

    The Islamic world is still somewhat in it's dark ages. I think once it does modernize that a lot of the radicalism will disappear.

    People tend to moderate when they have something to lose.
     
  4. Classic

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    This was the same observation as a guy was telling me who was born and lived in Iran for his first 13 years. He was telling me that Islam is at a big crossroads similar to Christianity during the inquisition period.
     
  5. AroundTheWorld

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    Here is part 2 of his article:

    The Muslim World and the Titanic

    By Hamed Abdel-Samad | Thursday, September 16, 2010
    While many in the West believe that Islam is on the rise, Hamed Abdel-Samad argues that the religion shares the same fate as the Titanic. He writes that the road to transformation and modernization of Islam will only be reached following a period of collapse — a prognosis that has dire consequences for the West.

    Comparing the Muslim world of today with the Titanic just before its sinking, some powerful parallels come to mind — sadly so.


    The downfall of the Islamic world would automatically mean that the waves of migration to Europe would increase significantly.

    That ship was all alone in the ocean, was considered invincible by its proud makers and yet suddenly became irredeemably tarnished in its oversized ambitions. Within a few seconds, it moved in its self-perception from world dominator to sailing helplessly in the icy ocean of modernity, without any concept of where a rescue crew could come from.

    The passengers in the third-class cabins remained asleep, effectively imprisoned, clueless about the looming catastrophe. The rich, meanwhile, managed to rescue themselves in the few lifeboats that were available, while the traveling clergy excelled with heartfelt but empty appeals to those caught in between not to give up fighting.

    The so-called Islamic reformers remind me of the salon orchestra, which — in a heroic display of giving the passengers the illusion of normalcy — continued to play on the deck of the Titanic until it went down. Likewise, the reformers are playing an alluring melody, but know full well that no one is listening anyway.

    All around the world, we live in times of significant global transformation. The disorienting pressures stemming from that need find a real-life expression in such events as the fight in New York City over the location of a mosque, the abandoned burning of Korans in Florida, or German debates about the presumed economic inferiority of Muslim immigrants (advanced by a central banker, who has since resigned from office).

    When it comes to the future of Islam, I fear that the road to transformation and modernization will only be reached following a period of collapse.

    This is especially true in the Arab world, where the prospects for both regional and global advancement appear rather daunting, if not — for now — illusory.

    A rapidly growing, poor and oppressed population, a lagging educational sector, shrinking oil reserves and drastic climate change undermine any prospects for economic progress. In addition, these factors further intensify the existing regional and religious conflicts.


    The so-called Islamic reformers remind me of the Titanic's salon orchestra, which continued to play on the deck of the ship until it went down.

    The net effect of this could well be an increasing loss of relevance and authority of the state itself, which could lead to a significant spread of violence.

    The civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan are just the beginning of it — although already a most ominous one.

    The present form of spiritual and material calcification leads me to make a prediction: Many Islamic countries will tumble, and Islam will have a hard time surviving as a political and social idea, and as a culture.

    What this does to the world community is difficult to assess. However, it is quite clear that this disintegration will result in one of the largest migrations in history. (And this is precisely where the circle of fear is getting closed again — from New York to Germany.)

    The downfall of the Islamic world would automatically mean that the waves of migration to Europe would increase significantly. For young Muslim immigrants, fleeing poverty and terrorism, Europe does indeed represent a hope for them, as does the United States.

    Still, they will not manage to shed themselves of their friend-foe thinking. They will migrate into a continent that they by and large despise — and that they hold responsible for their plight.

    Worse, neither the recipient country’s government institutions nor the long-established Muslim immigrants there can help them to integrate themselves.


    The road to transformation and modernization of Islam will only be reached following a period of collapse.

    The spreading violence that came to the fore in the wake of the downfall of their home countries will simply be outsourced, mainly to Europe, because of its non-shielded immigrant situation.

    Saying so has nothing to do with scaremongering, but is an act of recognizing what’s real. In the ultimate analysis, it is the natural result of the imbalance in the world in which we live.

    The many sins of the West and the corresponding failures of the Islamic world itself, which are already the stuff of history for centuries, will become very visible again.

    This is the downside of the globalization process. Hard times await us on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. Meanwhile, we are all running out of time.

    Editor's Note: This is Part II of a two-part essay by Hamed Abdel-Samad.

    http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=8697
     

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