Islam as a World Power

Report
Islam as a World Power
Michael Goheen
Trinity Western University
Langley, B.C.
Importance of Understanding Islam
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Size: 1.2 billion; 2025 1.8 billion
Growth: fastest growing religion in world
(percentage-wise)
History of animosity between Christianity
and Islam, and West and Islam
Misunderstanding of Islam
Global power
New World Order
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20th Century: Bipolar (US, USSR)
Fall of Communism
New world order:
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One world order: globalization and
modernization
Bipolar: north/south; east/west
Chaos
Clash of civilizations
Major Forces of Global Power
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West: globalization/modernization
Islam
China and economic power
Third world church and Pentecostalism
Clash Between Islam and West
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Major clash: Islam and West
Problem: Understand religion as private belief
“Islam is not a religion in the common, distorted
meaning of the word, confining its scope to the private
life of man. It is a complete way of life, catering for all
the fields of human existence. Islam provides guidance
for all walks of life . . . The Qu’ran enjoins man to enter
the fold of Islam without any reservation and to follow
God’s guidance in all fields of life.” (Ahmed)
Clash Between Islam and West
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Major clash: Islam and West
Problem: Understand religion as private belief
Clash between two major religions and
civilizations built on those beliefs
“I don’t think there is a conflict between
religions. There is a conflict between
civilizations.” (Muslim lawyer from Tunisia)
Mohammed’s Formative Influence
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Mohammed/Koran: Final revelation of God
Historical and cultural context:
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Religious: animistic polytheism
Moral: immorality and corruption
Social: warfare, tribal strife, poverty, injustice
Mohammed’s Public Life
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15 years preparation (595-610)
Night of power (610) Gabriel: ‘Proclaim’
Rejection and hostility in Mecca
Hijra to Medina
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Turning point in world history (calendars)
Rejected prophet to powerful leader
Capable of establishing ummah
Includes politics, society, economics
Koran
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Recorded revelations from Gabriel to
Mohammed: Final revelation of Allah
Given to Mohammed over 22 years
One God, One Law for One People
Intended to create ummah united in faith and in
submission to Allah’s law
Memorized by Mohammed; written down by
scribes; collected into present form 20 years
after Mohammed’s death
Ummah and Its Mission
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Ummah: Community of believers
submitted to will of Allah
Includes political structure, social
community, economic system, civil law
Early ummah of Medina: normative
Peace: Comprehensive submission to
Allah
Two regions: dar al-salaam/islam and dar
al-harb
Mission: Establish peace throughout world
by striving (jihad)
Formative Core of Islam
‘Mohammed was possessed by two great
religious aims--to proclaim God as the
sole, almighty God, the Creator and the
King of the day of judgement; to found a
community, in Arabic called umma, ruled
by the Law of God and His Apostle. These
two objects constitute the core of Islam,
its strength and its weaknesses’ (Hendrik
Kraemer).
Muslim Resurgence
Growth and vitality
 Self-consciousness of world power
 Quest to establish states governed by
shariah law
 Anti-western
 Military tendency
 Oil-based wealth
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Struggle with the West
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Struggle between two comprehensive religious
beliefs
“The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic
fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose
people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and
are obsessed by the inferiority of their power. The problem
for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. department of defense.
It is the West, a different civilization whose people are
convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that
their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the
obligation to extend that culture throughout the world.
These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between
Islam and the West.” (Huntington).
Struggle with the West
Struggle between two comprehensive
religious beliefs
 Three Muslim responses:
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Acceptance of West and modernity
Acceptance of Western Modernity
To escape anomy, Muslims have but one choice,
for modernization requires Westernization. . .
Islam does not offer an alternative to modernize
. . . Secularism cannot be avoided. Modern
science and technology require an absorption of
the thought processes [religious beliefs] which
accompany them. . . . Only when Muslims
explicitly accept the Western model will they be
in a position to develop (Daniel Pipes).
Acceptance of Western Modernity
The restoration of religion to the sphere of the
personal, its depolitization, is the nettle that all
Muslim societies must grasp in order to become
modern. . . . If terrorism is to be defeated, the
world of Islam must take on board the
secularist- humanist principles [religion . . . in
other words convert!] on which the modern is
based, and without which Muslim countries’
freedom will remain a distant dream (Salman
Rushdie).
Struggle with the West
Struggle between two comprehensive
religious beliefs
 Three Muslim responses:
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Acceptance of West and modernity
 Accept modernity, reject Westernization
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Accept Modernity, Reject West
Islam and modernization do not clash.
Pious Muslims can cultivate sciences, work
efficiently in factories, or utilize advanced
weapons. Modernization requires no one
political ideology, or set of institutions . . .
The Shari’a has nothing to say about the
changes that accompany modernization . .
. (Daniel Pipes).
Struggle with the West
Struggle between two comprehensive
religious beliefs
 Three Muslim responses:
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Acceptance of West and modernity
 Accept modernity, reject Westernization
 Rejection of West and modernity
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Rejection of Western Modernity
Growing among Muslims
 Taliban example
 Return to original ummah as model
 Problem of static religion in world of
change
 Response of terrorism
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Islam is . . .
“. . . a comprehensive system that tends to
annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in
the world and enforce its own program. . .
. a revolutionary concept and ideology
which seeks to change and revolutionize
the world social order and reshape it
according to its own concept and ideals.”
(Mawlana Abul A’la Mawdudi 1903-1979)
New Style of Terrorism
Primary purpose “is not to defeat or even
weaken the enemy militarily but to gain
publicity and to inspire fear—a
psychological victory.” (Bernard Lewis)
Response of Muslims to Muslim
Terrorism
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Genuine Islamic actions
“Allah has answered our prayers.” (Hamas
Weekly, 13 September 2001)
“Our driving motivation does not come from
tangible commodities that this world has to offer.
Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true
God, Allah, and follow in the footsteps of the
final prophet and messenger Muhammad”
(Mohammad Sidique Khan)
Response of Muslims to Muslim
Terrorism
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Genuine Islamic actions
Cannot be justified by Islamic teaching
“Those who plan and carry out such acts are
condemned by Islam, and the massacre of
thousands, whoever perpetrated it, is a
crime against God as well as humanity.” (Zaki
Badawi, Muslim College, London, UK)
Response of Muslims to Muslim
Terrorism
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Genuine Islamic actions
Cannot be justified by Islamic teaching
Sympathize with motives yet condemn
actions
Sorting it all out
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Two crucial questions:
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Historical origins associated with violence yet claims
to be religion of peace?
Meaning of jihad?
“Muslim jurists saw jihad as a requirement in a world
divided between what they called dar al-islam and the
dar al-harb. The Muslim community was required to
engage in the struggle to expand the dar al islam
throughout the world so that all of humankind would
have the opportunity to live within a just political and
social order.” (John Esposito, on way jihad has been
understood for centuries)
Jihad
“ . . . a defining concept or belief in Islam, a key
element in what it means to be a believer and
follower of God’s will . . . A universal religious
obligation for all true Muslimas to join the jihad
to promote a global Islamic revolution.” (John
Esposito)
“For most of the fourteen centuries of recorded
Muslim history, jihad was most commonly
interpreted to mean armed struggle for the
defence or advancement of Muslim power.”
(Bernard Lewis)
Questions
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Offensive and/or defensive?
Include violence?
“Is Islam a religion of peace, as Muslim
moderates (and Tony Blair and George W. Bush)
say, or is it a religion prone to violence and holy
war, as statements by radical groups suggest? . .
. The answer lies not in an either/or response,
but rather in a both…and response. The Islamic
texts offer the potential for being interpreted in
both ways. It depends on how individual
Muslims wish to read them.” (Riddell and
Cotterell)
Christian Response
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Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of
Muslim rage’
Major Grievances (Chapman)
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The weakness and humiliation of the Muslim
world
New forms of Western imperialism
Failure of ideologies imported from West
Establishment of Zionist state in midst of Islam
Presence of foreign troops in Saudia Arabia
Corrupt and autocratic governments in Islamic
countries
Double standards
Christian Response
Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim
rage’
 Distinguishing between gospel and Western
culture
 Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
“. . . there is a titanic struggle taking place
between moderates and radicals for the hearts
and minds of the Muslim masses in the middle.”
(Riddell and Cotterell)
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Christian Response
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Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of Muslim
rage’
Distinguishing between gospel and Western
culture
Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim mind
Interpreting terror
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“Violence and terrorism do form an intrinsic part of
classical Islam” (Patrick Sookhdeo, Institute for Study
of Islam and Christianity)
Ambiguity of Koran but “mainstream Islam, in law and
theology as well as in practice, in the end has always
rejected or maginalized extremists and terrorists”
(Esposito)
Sorting out theological and political
factors
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Theological:
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Ummah as social-religio-political community
Mission of ummah: dar al-salaam, dar al-harb, jihad
Islam eschatology
Resentment toward West
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Historic resentment toward Christianity (Crusades)
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan
Ascendency and universalizing of West: moral, political,
legal, religious, economic implications
Critique of West: godless, immoral, arrogant,
materialistic, seductive, imperialistic
Back pro-Western regimes
Christian Response
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Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of
Muslim rage’
Distinguishing between gospel and
Western culture
Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim
mind
Interpreting terror
Distinguishing gospel and Islam
Islam and Gospel
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Both Islam and Christianity see religion as
comprehensive and not simply private
Islam has been more consistent in
maintaining this
We need to repent of dualism
Yet fundamental difference: Islam—thisworldly victory; gospel—intervention of
Christ
Tolerance: Christianity and Islam
“What is unique about the Christian gospel is that those who
are called to be its witnesses are committed to the public
affirmation that it is true—true for all people at all times—
and are at the same time forbidden to use coercion to
enforce it. They are therefore required to be tolerant of
denial . . . not in the sense that we must tolerate all beliefs
because truth is unknowable and all have equal rights. The
toleration which a Christian is required to exercise is not
something which he must exercise in spite of his or her
belief that the gospel is true, but precisely because of this
belief. This marks one of the very important points of
difference between Islam and Christianity.” (Lesslie
Newbigin)
Christian Response
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Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of
Muslim rage’
Distinguishing between gospel and
Western culture
Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim
mind
Interpreting terror
Distinguishing gospel and Islam
Repentance and dialogue
Dialogue about . . .
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Toleration and Islam
Islamic imperialism in first centuries
Debate about democracy among Muslims
Treatment of minorities and women
Issue of conversion
Preservation of democracy after used to
gain power
Human rights: Islam and UN
(Colin Chapman)
Christian Response
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Sympathetic understanding of ‘roots of
Muslim rage’
Distinguishing between gospel and
Western culture
Diversity of Islam and battle for Muslim
mind
Interpreting terror
Distinguishing gospel and Islam
Repentance and dialogue
Bold and humble witness to gospel

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