The role of Islam in the modern world is a subject of increasing debate. Many think that Wahabism and Ben-Laiden fundamentalist terrorism is an aberation. Others express concern that their are fundamental contridictions between Islam and the West over fundamental concepts such as peace, democracy, and market economics. Today many of these basic precepts of Islam are questioned by Fundamentalist Islamic scholars. One of the principal features of fundamentalist regims is intolerance to diversity. Not only do fundamentalists reject toleration of other religious faiths, but they are intolerant of other Muslims who differ from their narrow sectarian traditon. This was the casof the Taliban in Afghanistan and Reolutionary Iran. This extends to more than just religion as the Pastuns who dominated the Taliban brutally supressed other ethnic groups in the country.
The role of Islam in the modern world is a subject of increasing debate. Some express concern that their are fundamental contridictions between Islam and the West over fundamental concepts such as peace, democracy, and market economics. One scholar makesapersuaive case that thee elements are the essential characterists of the West and modernity. He contends that free markets and the desire of most people to improve their economic condition drives modern states toward democracy and peaceful revolutio of differences. [Mandelbaum] Other scholars maintain that while in the 20th cntury conflicts were between nationa states. Some scholars contend in the 21st century the major dynamic may be a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam as well as other non-Western socities. [Huntington] Today many of these basic precepts of Islam are questioned by Fundamentalist Islamic scholars. One of the principal features of fundamentalist regims is intolerance to diversity. Not only do fundamentalists reject toleration of other religious faiths, but they are intolerant of other Muslims who differ from their narrow sectarian traditon. This was the casof the Taliban in Afghanistan and Reolutionary Iran. This extends to more than just religion as the Pastuns who dominated the Taliban brutally supressed other ethnic groups in the country.
Many think that Wahabism and Ben-Laiden fundamentalist terrorism is an aberation and do reflect the true teachings of Islam or Islamic people. Some Islamic scholars totally reject the terrorism anf jihad called for by din Laden and other fundamentalists. One scholar writes, "When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions fought in thename of Islam, Allah made these victories and glorrified them in the world. They made Islam the currency of human civilization for over a millennium. You (Osama bin Laden) and your men on the other face nothing but defeat, global redicule and contempt and run and hide like rats in caves and dungeons. You live in the dark. Your faith neither enlightens you nor enables you to live in the light, and you have mde Islam the currency of hte and violence." [Kahn]
Others contend that Islam can not be reconcided to the modern world and that Islamic fundamentalists will never accecpt democracy and toleratio. This will thus inevitably lead to to terrorism and conflict with the West.
Mamny religious, social, political, and economic issues are vey complicated. In many instances even recognized scholars and experts disagree on major issues. One guide line that the lasyman can use in these debates is to look at the hate mongers. Those who poreach hate of other nationalities, races, and religions and encourage murder and violence are normally evil people persuing goals enemical to all great religious traditions. This has not always been the case. All of these religious traditions have hadperiodsof intolerance and vicious supresion of other peoples. This has certainly been the case of Christianity. In this regard, in te second half of the 20th century there was fundamental changes in Amerca and Europe. The questio is whether Islam can also enter the modrn world or whether there are element of the religion that are fundmentally opposed to modernity.
Most Islamic countries have failed economies. The people of the Islamic countries live in great poverty and large section of the population have no real economic propspects. There are several oil-producing countries in the Islamic world. Living standards are quite high in these countries, but such standards are supported only by oil. None of these countries including Saudi Arabia have successfully used the oil wealth to build a strong diversified econonomy. Fundamentalists have played on the poverty to demand a pure Islamic society which somehow miraculously solve the economic situation. The Taliban in Afghanistan and the mullahs in Iran have demonstrated the economic disaster resulting from Islamic fundamentalism. There is a total rejection of liberalism, democracy, free markets, and integration into the world economy that has brought economic prosperity to the West. Fundamentalists have succeeded in convincing the Arab world that the prosperity of the West has come from exploiting the oil and other natural resources of developing countries. This is a view based on the outlook that prosperity in one country can only come from dispoiling the natural resources of another country. The great successes being achieved in China and India as a result of liberalism and integration in the world economy seems completely lost on the Islamic world, seemingly with a few exceptions like Malaysia. The Fundamentalist answer of isolation and austre theocracy is destined to only create more poverty throughout the Islamic world.
Huntington, Samuel P. The Clash of Civilizations.
Kahn, Muqtedar, Director of Internatiojnal Studies, Adrian College, Adrian Michigan, website accessed February 16, 200, Ijtihad.com
Kahn, Muqtedar. "American Muslims: Bridging Faith and Freedom" (Amana).
Mandelbaum, Michael. THe Ideas that Conquered the World: Peace, Democracy, and Free Markets in the 21st Century.
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