Title

Islamic "fundamentalism" and the West: Issues in change, peace and conflict resolution

Date of Award

12-2000

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Sciences

Advisor(s)

Robert C. Bogdan

Keywords

Islamic, Change, Peace, Conflict resolution, Fundamentalism

Subject Categories

International Relations | Islamic World and Near East History | Peace and Conflict Studies | Political Theory

Abstract

Is "Islamic fundamentalism" a political myth, or is it a "challenger civilization," as Samuel Huntington, the author of "The Clash of Civilizations," claims? Other Western scholars caution against the aims of the growing Islamic movement for change against neo-colonial institutions and the Western political domination of the Muslim world. The author attempts to examine the phenomenon of change and reformation in the post-colonial Muslim world that continues to live under the "no system" of anarchy and repression. Islam seems to emphasize change as an important precept of human life, but Muslim scholars have ignored its significance in social, economic and political policy. The West has achieved material change, but seems to have sacrificed the spiritual dimension of the human reality, says John Saul ("The Unconscious Civilization"), and this has caused a conflict between man and society, rather than peace and harmony. Muslims and the West both seem to aspire for change in different ways and for different reasons.

The author introduces the readers to new insights into the much-neglected role and importance of the originality of Islamic "thinking" as the foundation for human change and relations; and explains that Islamic principles and values may be viewed as contributing factors to human solidarity from Adam to Mohammed, as its message is valid for the whole of mankind. Generally speaking. Islam attempts to foster a natural harmony and understanding among man, society, the state and humanity as a whole, all being part of the organic unity of things in the world. Yet, this factor has been all too absent from the secular intellectual perceptions and the foreign policymaking agendas of the West. The Western industrialized nations put forth varied notions of "civilization", "self-conflicting freedoms" and overwhelmingly materialistic systems devoid of spirituality. The author notes that the West cannot be blamed for its political indifference and misinformation with regard to Islam, because the Muslim world seems to have lost the capacity to demonstrate a living model of Islam and its past contributions to the unity of mankind. However, the movement for change and societal reformation is deeply rooted in the Muslim world, and the author proposes an innovative framework for reformation, from strategic planning to the revitalization of political institutions, as the essential foundation for peace and security conceived of as a global phenomenon and part of the objective of One World. This framework would be actively perceived and enhanced by realist thinkers. Could Islam and the industrialized West co-exist peacefully in the New World Order? If so, what are the logical "meeting grounds" for these "civilizations" that have interacted with one another for centuries in peace as well as on battlefields?

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