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The Clash of Civilizations and Radicalism

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THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS AND RADICALISM
Dr. M. LAL GOEL
Also known as Dr. Madan Lal Goel
University of West Florida lgoel@uwf.edu Abstract. The notion of a clash of civilizations has gained notoriety since the terrorist attack on WTC on 9/11/2001. Professor Samuel P. Huntington has popularized the view that the coming global conflict will be among major civilizations, not among different political ideologies. He identifies eight major civilizations: the Western (Europe and North America), Slavic (Russia and Eastern Europe), Islamic, Confucian, Hindu, Japanese, Latin American, and the African. Of particular focus in the present paper is the threat to civilization from radical Islam. Three factors that foment radicalism are described: the Islamic theology of exclusiveness, the nostalgic memory of a Muslim empire that lasted nearly 1,000 years, and the consequences of oil boom in the Middle East. Population estimates for different civilizations are provided at the end.

Introduction

The theory of a clash of civilizations has been with us for some time. British historian Arnold Toynbee used the term in a series of lectures he delivered in 1953. The Middle East specialist Bernard Lewis wrote in 1990 that the Muslim rage against the West is “no less than a clash of civilizations” (Lewis, 1990, p 60). Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard University political science professor, has given new currency to the notion of a clash of civilizations. His 1993 article in Foreign Affairs has gained global audience. A few years ago, I lectured to a political science class at Pondicherry University in Southern India. I was pleasantly surprised by the extent of the knowledge that Indian students possessed on this topic. A majority of the Indian students agreed with Huntington(s conclusion. The bipolar division of the world based on political ideology (communism versus...

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