In the " Introduction " of the book entitled " A World Without Islam ", the author has summarized or rather outlined what the content of the book is all about plus what is mainly his intent in writing such a book.
The following points seemed to me to be of importance since they represent what one may see as the crux of the misunderstanding that exists as a conceptual state of mind, in the West as a whole, about Islam:
~ At the outset, Western public has been bombarded by words such as Jihad, Mujahideen, Mullah, Fatwa, Martyr, Wahhabi, Sharia Law, Islamic Radicals, Madrasa and Taliban. Such a flood of un-fathomable words, as poured by the media to the average Americans, for instance, has made Islam as the center of American struggle against terrorism and the " Global War on Terror ". Islam is really innocent of such an outrageous allegation.
~ What has intensified the misunderstanding has been what the neoconservatives have done: They have labeled Islam as " Islamofascism " to serve, of course, their own political agenda, in making Islam as their enemy.
~ Because of such un-fathomable words and labeling Islam as, " Islamofascism ", have created a polarization that has reduced the relations between the West and Islam as a conflict between the " Western Values" and the " Muslim World " which is really not the case.
In order to show the readers the view points of the author of the book, the following quotations from the Introduction of the book may just do that:
" We are only superficially aware of Middle Eastern critiques of Western policies that touch on oil, finances, political intervention, Western-sponsored coups, Western support for pro-Western dictators, and carte blanche American support for Israel in the complex Palestinian problem-which, after all, had its roots not in Islam, but in Western persecution and butchery of European Jews. European powers have also exported their local quarrels and parleyed them into two world wars that were fought partly on Middle East soil, as was much of the Cold War as well. All this suggests that many other causative factors are at work that have at least as much explanatory power for the current turmoil as does " Islam ".
" It is not simply a matter of " blaming the West, " as some readers might rush to suggest here. I argue that deeper geopolitical factors have created numerous confrontational factors between the East and the West that predate Islam, continued with Islam and around Islam, and may be inherent in the territorial imperatives and geopolitical outlook of ANY states that occupy those areas, regardless of religion."
" One point I wish to make very clear: the purpose of this book is not at all to denigrate or dismiss the role of Islam in world history. Islam has had great impact upon the world, as one of the greatest and most powerful continuous civilizations in history. No other civilization has lasted as long, over such a broad expanse of the world as Islam. I have immense regard for Islamic culture, art, sciences, philosophy, and civilization and for Muslims as well. The world would be a much more impoverished place in the absence of Islamic civilization."
" In the end, I hope to persuade the reader that the present crisis of East-West relations or between the West and " Islam," has really very little to do with religion and everything to do with political and cultural frictions, interests, rivalries, and clashes. This conclusion matters a lot: it has everything to do with how we end up treating the problem of Western-Muslim confrontations today. Are we in fact headed toward a titanic and implacable clash of civilizations, a new Hundred Years' War or World War IV, as some have suggested ? A small group of Muslims, Christians, and Jews actually like such a stark narrative of existential struggle . But if we conclude that religion is
NOT the central issue at work in present tensions, then we have a much better chance at dealing with and even resolving those issues, however more complex they may be. In that sense, we are hopefully working toward building a solid foundation for the three great Abrahamic faiths-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-that share more than they dispute. It is the STATES that dispute." The emphasis is mine.
Next topic will be number (2) Islam and the Abrahamic Faiths.