This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1659

Dr. Daniel Pipes: Separation not clash of civilisations - " How the Cartoon Protests Harms Muslims"

February 15, 2006

How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
February 14, 2006

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3386

What are the long-term consequences of the Muhammad cartoon furor? I predict it is helping bring on not a clash of civilizations but their mutual pulling apart. This separation, which has been building for years, has dreadful implications.

Signs of disengagement are all around.

These developments suggest what the prime minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has called a "huge chasm" between the Muslim world and the West. Or, in the more bellicose wording of the influential Sunni imam Youssef al-Qaradawi, "We must tell Europeans, we can live without you. But you cannot live without us."

Should the chasm widen, with its concomitant lessening of human interaction, commercial relations, and diplomatic engagement, the Muslim world will likely fall further behind than it already has. As I wrote in 2000, "Whatever index one employs, Muslims can be found clustering toward the bottom whether measured in terms of their military prowess, political stability, economic development, corruption, human rights, health, longevity, or literacy."

Disengagement will only worsen the Muslim predicament. Reduced contact with the world's most modern, powerful, and advanced countries would likely cause Muslims to do even worse in those indexes and lapse deeper into a condition characterized by self-pity, jealousy, resentment, anger, and aggression.

Especially when contrasted with Muslim successes in pre-modern times, these traumatic circumstances help explain the crisis in identity that often causes Muslims to seek solace in radical Islam. For everyone's sake, it is important that Muslims begin more successfully to negotiate their path to modernity, not to isolation.

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This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1659