“Islam’s borders are bloody, and so are its innards”
Though he was no theologian or historian of Islam, but rather a political scientist—a profession that typically ignores the metaphysical, the abstract—the late Samuel Huntington was objective enough to appreciate Islam’s “peculiar” characteristics. As he famously observed, “Wherever one looks along the perimeter of Islam, Muslims have problems living peaceably with their neighbors. The question naturally rises as to whether this pattern of the late 20th century conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim groups is equally true of relations between groups from other civilizations. In fact, it is not. Muslims make up 1/5 of the world’s population but in the 1990s they have been far more involved in intergroup violence than the people of any other civilization….Islam’s borders are bloody, and so are its innards” (p. 256).
“‘Clash of Civilizations’ author Samuel Huntington dies,” from Reuters, December 27:
BOSTON (Reuters) – Political scientist Samuel Huntington, whose controversial book “The Clash of Civilizations” predicted conflict between the West and the Islamic world, has died at age 81, Harvard University said on Saturday.
Huntington, who taught for 58 years at Harvard before retiring in 2007, died Wednesday at a nursing facility in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the university said on its website.
In his 1996 “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” which expanded on his 1993 article in Foreign Affairs magazine, Huntington divided the world into rival civilizations based mainly on religious traditions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Confucianism and said competition and conflict among them was inevitable.
His focus on religion rather than ideology as a source of conflict in the post-Cold War world triggered broad debate about relations between the Western and Islamic worlds, especially in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Despite criticism his thesis was simplistic or in the words of Middle East scholar Edward Said promoted the idea of “West versus the rest,” Huntington told Islamica magazine in 2007, “My argument remains that cultural identities, antagonisms and affiliations will not only play a role, but play a major role in relations between states.”…
Criticism from Edward Said, of course, being a sign that one’s assessment of Islam is honest and straightforward.