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Theoretical and Theological Account

Both Muslim and non Muslim intellectuals offer different types of explanations regarding political Islam and its practice. Fanatic explanations and misinterpretations sometimes generate and agitate Islam-phobia among non Muslim people. Extremist groups portray such interpretation as the justification of their deeds. Prominent western scholars like Kepel Gilles, Samuel P. Huntington and Bernard Lewis give explanation for this phobia. In doing so, they also substantiate the reemergence of Islam in international politics. Ibn Tayamiyyah, Hassan al Banna, Mawlana Maududi and specially Sayyid Qutub from Muslim side, work as the promoter of political and revolutionary Islam.
Huntington’s ‘Clash of civilization?’ thesis (1993) has drawn the concern of states’ leaders about the re-emergence of Islam. In his thesis Huntington has identified eight or nine broader world civilizations and proclaimed that the future conflict will be occurred within the fault line of these civilizations. Moreover, he articulates the Confucian-Islam connection as the most probable derivation of future conflicts.

According to Huntington,
A new form of arms competition is thus occurring between Islamic- Confucian states and the West. In an old-fashioned arms race, each side developed its own arms to balance or to achieve superiority against the other side. In this new form of arm competition, one side is developing its arms and the other side is attempting not to balance but to limit and prevent the arms buildup while at the same time reducing its own military capability.[1]

In his article he has portrayed Confucian and the Islamic states as arms builder whereas the Westerns as the protector of peace and serenity. Essentially, this thesis has brought the western concern to the direction of Muslim world. Muslims have been started to thought as the potential contending group in global politics. For this reason Micheal Dunn claims, “Huntington’s definition of ‘the civilization’ itself has influence and shaped the rhetoric of the ‘war on terror’.[2]

“Former US president George W. Bush outlines his vision for the ‘war on terror’ stating, ‘this is civilization’s fight’. Thus, ‘clash of civilization’ rhetoric is intertwined with the very language of ‘war on terror’.”[3]

This war on terror is occurred centering specific Muslim countries and/ or groups. This war sometimes causes crisis situation in international sphere. However, in last two or three years tendency towards war on terror has been reduced. Global attention deposits to the Counter thesis also.

Thoughts and ideas of Bernard Lewis, another prominent western scholar is supportive towards Islam- Phobia. But he gives the responsibility of Islamist extremism to a small group of Muslims.

At the beginning of 1990 he identified some countries as the potential opponent to USA. From my view point, such identifications act as a vehicle and theoretical foundation in the promotion of Islam-phobia. He says –“There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as "advisers." But there is a Libya, an Iran, and a Lebanon, and a surge of hatred that distresses, alarms, and above all baffles Americans.”[4]

In the post-Cold War period, some Scholars have tried to define Islam as a new threat or an 'enemy' of the West, as M. Rodinson has pointed out that- “the Muslims, a threat to Western Christendom long before they became a problem.” [5]

These explanations at the beginning of the decade of 1990 create a kind of notion that they were creating an enemy party on behalf of USA for its strategic betterment , because, at that initial stage of unipolar world order Muslim countries were not in the mentality of contention with the West. Though the beater experience of Gulf war, Lebanon, Palestine crisis and Iranian revolution generate an emotional impression of Muslim brotherhood among their general people but that did not split West and Muslim into two counter ideologies, that did not created the notion of “we” and “they “or the image of Islamic fanaticism, but when it once has created general Muslims get agitated with the inspiration of Muslim brotherhood. Eventually with the expansion of arguments and counter arguments Islam has gained an established and firm position in international political agenda.

Besides, writings with the zeal of radicalism and extremism by Ibn Tayamiyyah, Hassan al Banna and specially Sayyid Qutub are some of the influential scholars whose writings have motivate Bin Laden and his follower to be the so called Jihadist.
For Qutub, “jihad as armed struggle in the defense of Islam against the injustice and the oppression of anti Islamic governments and the neocolonialism of the West and the East (Soviet Union) was incumbent upon all Muslims. There could be no middle ground.”[6]

Hassan al-Banna,n Mawlana Mawdudi and Qutub regarded “the West as the historic enemy of Islam. For them, the westerns were the political, economic and religio-cultural threat to Muslims. The elites of the Muslim world who rule and govern according to foreign western secular principle and values were also threatening for Islam.”[7]

Such ideological underpinnings encourage the revolutionary Islamic politics from the end of the 20th century. A handful of groups being motivated by Islamist extremism waged so called Jihad as a result.

[1] Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilization?” Foreign Affairs, vol.72, no.3 (Summer 1993): 11.
[2] Micheal Dunn, “The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and the ‘War on Terror’,” 49th parallel, vol. 20 (winter 2006-07): 2.
[3] ibid.
[4] Bernard Lewis, “The Roots of Muslim Rage,” The Atlantic Online (September, 1990): 2, http://f.hypotheses.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/166/files/2009/12/The-Atlantic-Online-_-September-1990-_-The-Roots-of-Muslim-Rage-_-Bernard-Lewis.pdf (accessed March 12, 2011).
[5] M. Rodinson, “The Western Image and Western Studies of Islam,” in The Legacy of Islam, ed. J., Schacht and C.E. Bosworth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974), 9.
[6] John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Isla, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002),60.
[7] For detail see, John L. Esposito, op.cit.,5-70.