Outline of Logos 10: Geopolitics of the modern Middle East (lecture by Piero Scaruffi)

Logos 10: 23 August 2006
Logos 10
Bernard Lewis: The Middle East (1995)
Faisal Devji: Landscapes of the Jihad - Militancy, Morality, Modernity (2005)
Olivier Roy: Globalized Islam - The Search for a New Ummah (2004)
Gary Gregg: The Middle East - A Cultural Psychology (2005)

Modern Era
Alan Reza: No God But God - Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam (2005)
Faisal Devji: Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity (2005)
Olivier Roy: Globalized Islam - The Search for a New Ummah (2004)
Gary Gregg: The Middle East - A Cultural Psychology (2005)
Graham Fuller: The Future of Political Islam (2003)

Modern Era
Amina Wadud : Quran and Woman
Omid Safi: Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism
Farid Esack: Quran, Liberation and Pluralism
Fazlur Rahman: Revival and Reform in Islam
Mohammed Arkoun: The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought
Anouar Majid: Unveiling Traditions - Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World
Pervez Hoodbhoy: Islam and Science - Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality
The decline and fall
Renewal movement
Reaction to Christian empires in Islamic lands
1902: Abdul al-Aziz conquers Riyad and unites Arabia under the puritanical Wahabi Islamic order
Jihad against foreign imperialism within the organizational framework of Sufi orders
Almost all of them formed after a pilgrimage to Mecca
Pilgrimage to Mecca plays the role of marketing for the renewal movements
The Protagonists
Islam: the religion founded by Mohammed and defined by the Quran
Arabs: originally, the ethnic groups who lived in the Arabian peninsula; later, all speakers of the Arabic language from Morocco to Syria
Turks, Persians/Iranians, Pakistanis, Indonesians, etc: NOT Arabs
Muslims: anybody (Arab, Persian/Iranian, Turk, Pakistani, Indonesian, European, Indian, American...) who believes in Islam
Christians: anybody (Arab, Persian/Iranian, Turk, _ European, Indian, American, _) who believes in Christianity
Sunnis and Shiites: different sects of Islam
Geopolitics of the Middle East
Three perspectives on the Middle East
The decline and fall
Renewal movement/ effects
18th-19th century: two overlapping phenomena
Massive political expansion of the Christian powers (and retreat of the Ulema's power)
Massive religious expansion of the Islamic faith
Reformist movement (either by colonial Europeans or European-inspired rulers) vs Renewal movement
Two tectonic plaques on a collision route
The decline and fall
Ottoman Empire before WWI
The decline and fall
Ottoman Empire before WWI
The decline and fall
Ottoman Empire before WWI
The decline and fall
European colonialism
1811-1918: Disintegration of the Ottoman empire: Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Yemen
1882-1919: Britain conquers Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, Arab emirates
The decline and fall
European colonialism
1830-1919: France conquers Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria
The decline and fall
European colonialism
1868-1919: Russia conquers Transoxania
Holland and Portugal in Indonesia/Malaysia
Maratha and then Britain in India

The decline and fall
European colonialism
1885-now: Jews emigrate to Palestine (part of the Ottoman empire)
Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916
Balfour Declaration of November 1917
Zionist centers: Constantinople, Berlin, Paris, London, New York
Bolshevik Jews ("With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of leading figures are Jews", Winston Churchill, February 1920)
The Middle East
Between the wars
Independence of British colonies: Egypt 1922, Iraq 1932, Saudi Arabia 1932
1925-1979: Iranian republic (Reza Khan)
1923-now: Turkish republic (Mustafa "Ataturk" Kemal)
The Middle East
Between the wars
1928: Muslim Brotherhood (Islamic republic)
Egypt, but inspired by Wahabi sect of Arabia
Islamic republic for the entire Islamic world
"The Quran is our constitution"
Rebellion against the colonial powers
Rebellion against westernized Arab governments
Lebanon (in 1936), Syria (1937), Transjordan (1946)
1948: 500,000 members
1954: assassination attempt against Gamal Abdel Nasser
1950s: Sayyid Qutb
The Middle East
Between the wars
1930 Mohammad Allama Iqbal calls for Indian Islamic separatism, unity of all Islamic nations
1931-1946: Jewish terrorism (against British rule)
1936: Palestinian intifada (against British rule)
1939: Arab countries supply 5% of the world's oil
1941: Britain and the Soviet Union engineer the succession of Reza Pahlevi as Shah of Iran
1943: Baath party founded in Syria (unify the whole Arab world)
The Middle East
Arab independence
Independence of British colonies: Jordan 1946, Israel 1948, Libya 1952, Sudan 1956, Kuwait 1961, UAE 1968, Oman 1971
Independence of French colonies: Syria 1943, Morocco 1956, Tunisia 1956, Algeria 1962
The Middle East
The Middle East
The Big Game in the Middle East
1948: First Arab-Israeli war: Israel defeats Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq
1949 Pakistan (1956 Islamic republic)
1950: Democratic elections in Turkey
1952: Egyptian republic (Nasser)
1952: Turkey joins NATO
1953: USA-sponsored coup in Iran
1954: Algerian liberation war (1 million dead)
1956: Second Arab-Israeli war: France, Britain and Israel defeat Nasser's Egypt but forced to withdraw by the USA
1956: Israel's nuclear program
1960: OPEC
The Middle East
Historical trends until 1961
No major popular revolution (popular uprising against own regime) in the entire history of the Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia
No major victory since 1683 by an Islamic country against a non-Islamic country

The Middle East
Sayyid Qutb (1952)
Philosopher of militant Islam
Islamic holy war (jihad) as the duty of every Muslim
Civilization clash of Islam with the Western democracies is inevitable
Against Islamic regimes
Integralist view of society
Violent Muslim resistance to regimes that are not truly Islamic
Ibn Taymiyya's verdict of 1300: Jihad legitimate against Mongols even if they converted to Islam
A Muslim might justly assassinate an unjust Muslim ruler (he is not a Muslim anymore)
The Middle East
Sayyid Qutb (1952)
Jahiliyya ("pagan ignorance") is the main evil in the world
Secular society violates God's sovereignty on Earth by creating new rules which override the wishes of God
Jahiliyya is rebellion against God's sovereignty on earth
Christians are all destined for hell
Jewish conspiracy against Muslims
America's separation of church and state is "the" problem
Capitalism is evil
The Middle East
Sayyid Qutb (1952)
Dream of a purified world
"the worship of God alone,
the foundation of human relationships on the belief in the Unity of God,
the supremacy of the humanity of man over material things,
the development of human values and the control of animalistic desires,
respect for the family,
the assumption of the vice-regency of God on earth according to His guidance and instruction
the rule of God's law (Shari'a) "
The Middle East
The socialist era
1961: Nasser's "Arab socialism" (Syria 1963, Iraq 1963, Algeria 1965, Yemen 1966, Libya 1969)
1962: Algeria becomes independent
1962: White Revolution in Iran (democratic reforms by the Shah)
1961-1991: Kurdish liberation war in Iraq (200,000 dead)
1962-2002: Christian/animist war in Sudan (2 million dead)
1965: India-Pakistan war over Kashmir

The Middle East
The Arab-Israeli conflict
1967: Third Arab-Israeli war ("six-day war"): Israel defeats Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and doubles its territory (Golan Heights from Syria, Sinai and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan)
1969-1989: International Palestinian terrorism
"We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon: no alternative" (Golda Meir, 1969)
The Cold War

The Middle East
The oil era
The USA, ending the Bretton Woods system, devalues the dollar by 8% in 1971, and again in 1973, which de facto reduces the price of oil
1973: Fourth Arab-Israeli war: Israel defeats Egypt and Syria (no territorial changes)
1973: OPEC oil embargo
The Middle East
The oil era
1975-1990: Civil war in Lebanon (40,000 dead)
1975: Morocco invades and annexes Western Sahara
1979: Khomeini founds the Islamic republic of Iran
1979: Saddam Hussein
1979-1988: Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
1980-1988: Iraq invades Iran (one million dead)
1982: Hezbollah in Lebanon

The Middle East
World Crude Oil Production, 1980-2000

The Middle East
Oil Reserves

The Middle East
Saudi Arabia
Largely isolated and indifferent until the 1970s
Never involved in an armed conflict
Growing influence as oil revenues increase and share of oil reserves increase
Private funding of fundamentalist schools around the Islamic world
First direct intervention in foreign policy: Afghanistan in the 1980s
First military intervention: Gulf War of 1991
The Middle East
The era of popular uprisings
1987-2006: Palestinian intifada (5,000 dead)
1988-2004: Somalia's civil war (550,000 dead)
1988: The Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan
1988: Al Qaeda (Osama bin Laden)
1990-1991: Gulf War (85,000 dead)
1992-1999: Civil war in Algeria (150,000 dead)
1993: Civil war in Chechnya (Russia)
1996-2001: Taliban in Afghanistan
1996: Al Jazeera
The Middle East
War on (Islamic) terrorism
2001: Al Qaeda attacks the USA
2001: The USA invades Afghanistan
2003: The USA invades Iraq
Israel withdraws from Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005)
2005: Free elections in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon
2006: Israel fights Hezbollah in Lebanon
The Middle East
Hassan Nasrallah (Hezbollah, 1992)
Gamal Abdel Nasser (1967): "We will push the Jews into the sea"
Saddam Hussein (1991): "We will burn half of Israel"
Yasir Arafat (1980s): "The Palestinians will take Jerusalem back"
Hassan Nasrallah (2006): humility
A Shiite cleric (a "hojatolislam")
Inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran
Mohammed's strategy: train fighters and motivate them with religion
Goal: one Palestine with equality for Muslims, Jews and Christians
Islamic Terrorism
Why is it relevant
Because the world is at peace (first time in history)
Islamic Terrorism
Renewal movement of the 18th c/ causes
New patterns of trade (seatrade vs land trade)
Rise of Christian empires in Islamic lands
Echoes of the scientific/industrial revolution
Renewal movement of the 21th c/ causes
New patterns of trade (globalization)
Rise of Christian monopolies in Islamic lands
Echoes of the information revolution
Clash not between civilizations but between the process of secularization and the revival of religion

Islamic Terrorism
Is it "Islamic"?
The vast majority of "Islamic terrorists" are Arabs, and Arabs only represent one third of all Muslims
The vast majority of fatalities of "Islamic terrorism" are Muslims
Thousands of people killed in Shiite-Sunni sectarian violence over the years

Islamic Terrorism
A new weapon of mass destruction: suicide bombing
Chronology of suicide bombers:
Khomeini (Shiite and not Arab)
Lebanon (Shiite and not Arab)
Sri Lanka (not Islamic at all)
Palestine (Sunni Arab)
Pakistan (Sunni Arab)
Chechnya (Sunni Arab)
Al Qaeda (Sunni Arab)
Iraq (Sunni Arab)

Islamic Terrorism
The superficial view: Salafi/Wahabi (Sunni Arab) groups exporting terrorism (historically unusual that non-Arab areas are inspired by Arabs)
The alternative view: Sunni Arabs importing terrorism (historically usual that Arabs copy from non-Arabs) from their traditional sources of culture (Persia)

Islamic Terrorism
Compare with the success rate of Anarchists
1882: Assassination of czar Alexander II
1886: Haymarket bombing in Chicago (7 dead)
1893: Teatro Liceo bombing in Barcelona (22 dead)
1894: Assassination of French president Sadi Carnot
1897: Assassination of Austrian empress Elizabeth and Spanish prime minister Antonio Canovas
1900: Assassination of Italian king Umberto I
1901: Assassination of USA president William McKinley
1920: Assassination of Spanish prime minister Eduardo Dato
Islamic Terrorism
19th century terrorist
Islamic Terrorism
False causes
Poverty causes terrorism (no terrorism in most African, Latin America, Asian countries)
Ignorance causes terrorism (ditto)
Colonialism causes terrorism (ditto)
What causes the abundance of suicide bombers in the Arab world?
Why are there so many Saudis and Palestinians willing to die taking with them as many civilians as possible, while there is not a single South African or Bolivian willing to do the same?
Islamic Terrorism
A real cause
The rise of the Quran, i.e. of the ancestral Arabian cultural psychology
Islamic Terrorism
Other causes
A sign of the collapse of the old order in the Middle East, based on client states and puppet regimes
A side effect of the failure of all attempts to build an Islamic state
International Jihad displacing old-style state-based Islamic ideology (Iran, Taliban)
Islamic Terrorism
Other causes
Lebanon 1983 (USA withdrawal)
Afghanistan 1989 (Soviet defeat)
Somalia 1992 (USA withdrawal)
Kenya/Tanzania 1988 (USA embassies)
New York 2001 (first major attack on USA soil)
Spain 2004 (elections)
Palestine 2005 (Gaza withdrawal)
Iraq 2006 (civil war)
Islamic Terrorism
Pre-Al Qaeda
Several countries in which Islamic terrorism already existed before it struck the USA (from the Philippines to India to Russia to several Islamic countries themselves)
PLO in Israel (1969)
Moro in the Philippines (1972)
Hezbollah in Lebanon (1982)
Abu Bakar Bashir's Jemaah Islamiyah in Malaysia/Indonesia (1983)
Maktab al-Khidamat in Afghanistan (1985)
Kashmiri separatists in India (1986)
Hamas in Israel (1987)
Islamic Terrorism
Pre-Al Qaeda
Abu Musab Al Zarqawi in Jordan (1991)
Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines (1992)
Gama'a al-Islamiya in Egypt (1992)
Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda (1992)
Group Islamique Arme` in Algeria (1993)
Harakat al-Ansar in India (1993)
Chechnya in Russia (1999)
Islamic Terrorism
Nature of terrorism/ primary
Liberation movement against the "occupier" (non-Islamic power)
Palestinians against Israel
Afghans against the Soviet Union
Al Qaeda against the USA
Chechnyan against Russia
Islamic Terrorism
Nature of terrorism/ secondary
The terrorist organization is a puritan organization, inspired by Wahhabi principles
The goal is to reform the Islamic society
The target of the Islamic terrorist is not terror but the public opinion
Addressing a trans-national (and soon virtual) ummah
The importance of mass media
A war fought in the media
Al Jazeera "is" the enemy
The World-wide Web is going to be the next enemy
Islamic Terrorism
Nature of terrorism/ tertiary
Muslims never blame Muslims
Infidels (Zionists, USA, Russians) are responsible for a terrorist attack (directly or indirectly)
Infinite loop: the more Muslims the terrorists kill the angrier the Muslims get against the "occupier"
The more damage the terrorists inflict on Islamic countries, the more confrontational those Muslims become against the non-Islamic powers
Instead of creating an alliance between Muslims and non-Muslims to fight terrorism, terrorism creates a wedge between Muslims (who refuse to admit who is doing the killing) and non-Muslims (for whom it is obvious who is doing the killing)
Islamic Terrorism
Evolution of terrorism: strategies for survival
Hamas and Hezbollah evolved into religious and political organization providing a safety net for the poor
Their social work legitimized them and made them part of the social fabric
Islamic Terrorism
Western terrorists of the past
The State of the Islamic World
Islamic human development
Varies wildly
Arab world
Indian subcontinent
Central Asia
The Islamic World
Central Asia (communist influence)
Turkey (women entitled to vote and veiling prohibited)
Indian subcontinent (Hindu-style rights, even female prime ministers and presidents)
Iran (highly educated)
Arab world (ancestral Arab concept of women as inferior beings)
Burka mandatory in Yemen
Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia
Westernized women in Arab socialist countries (Syria, Iraq, Egypt)
The Islamic World
Political system
Central Asia (communism or democracy)
Turkey (democracy)
Indian subcontinent (Indian style democracy)
Iran (Islamic republic)
Arab world (no democracy before 2003)
The State of the Arab World
Huge sofa
The Arab World
Arab Human Development Report 2002
No major scientist or mathematician in the entire Islamic world (one billion people)
Only one Nobel prize in 100 years
One Arab in four is illiterate (the vast majority being women)
All the Arab countries together have a combined GDP that is half that of Spain alone ($531.2 billion in 1999 versus Spain's $595.5 billion)
Only 1% of Arabs own a computer
Fewer foreign books translated in Arabic over the entire century than in one year in Spanish
The Arab world has the highest percentage of religious believers (99.9%)
The Arab World
UNESCO Science Report 2005
Arabs have the lowest knowledge of Science, History and Geography of any region of the world except central Africa
"In the Arab region the main sponsors and employers of technology are foreign multinationals"
Excluding Islamic studies, Arab universities produce fewer graduates per capita than any other region of the world

The Arab World
OECD 2003
38% of Arabs are under 14
Excluding oil revenues, the Arab world has the slowest economic growth rate in the developing world
High level of corruption
Only region in the world with no democratic progress (before 2003)
The Arab World
Average annual rate of growth of the 1990s (World Bank):
East Asia 7.4%
India: 5.2%
Latin America: 3%
Sub-Saharan Africa: 1%
Arab world: 0.7% (the "lost decade")
Population growth erases even that slim growth:
In 1975 real GDP per capita in the Arab world was 21.3% of the average OECD citizen
By 1998 the real GDP per capita had fallen to 13.9% of the average OECD citizen.
The Arab World
Why would anyone want to live there?
Low crime rate (safest countries in the world for males)
Relatively low consumption of drugs
Relatively low percentage of prostitutes
Strong families
The Arab World
The Arab regression
Obliteration of pre-Islamic history
Mecca before Mohammed was a model of religious tolerance
Obliteration of early Islamic history
Mohammed killed
Mohammed prayed towards Jerusalem
Arabs invaded countries that had not attacked them
Muslims traded slaves
Obliteration of foreign culture
Obliteration of science
Emphasis on the Quran/Hadith in education
The State of the Islamic World
What the Islamic world has in common
Indonesia (Aceh)
Afghanistan (Mujaheddin, Taliban)
Pakistan (Kashmir)
Iraq (Iran, Kuwait, USA/UK)
Sudan (South, Darfur)
Algeria (Berbers)
Morocco (Sahrawis)
Turkey (Cyprus, Kurds)
Bosnia, Kosovo
Russia (Chechnya)
China (Turkestan)
The Islamic World
What the Islamic world has in common
Religious cleansing
Widespread religious cleansing (Pakistan's hindu population declined from 24% to less than 1%, Jews in the Arab world declined from one million to less than 20,000, Afghanistan's Buddhist population has declined to 0%, only 20,000 Jews left in the entire Islamic world, etc)

The Islamic World
What the Islamic world has in common
Religious cleansing
Arab universities have virtually no course for non-Islamic religious studies (British universities alone offer 426 degrees in non-Christian religious studies)
Persecution of Muslims who criticize Islam
Public expressions of non-Muslim religion in Saudi Arabia are banned
In Saudi Arabia churches and any other places of non-Muslim worship are banned, and foreign workers who try to hold secret non-Muslim services are jailed and flogged
Both the homelands of Christianity and Hinduism are under Muslim occupation
The Islamic World
The Islamic World
What the Islamic world has in common
Islamic Conference 2005: The Islamic world is perfect
The rise of the Quran
Rise of the Quran
The Rise of the Quran
Rise of the Quran
Collapse of the historical cradles of Islamic civilization (Ottomans, Persia, Egypt)
Envy and humiliation
Islamic way of life vs Christian way of life
Rise of Arab, Pakistani, Persian, etc nationalism (Nasser, Bella, Arafat, Khomeini)
Rise of the Arabian kingdoms (independent, oil)
Saudi Arabia pushed to the top tier of Islamic states for the first time since Mohammed
Rise of the Wahabi sect
Rise of the literal interpretation of the Quran
The Rise of the Quran
Rise of the Quran
Instead of the advanced societies of Turkey and Iran influencing the backward society of Saudi Arabia, the opposite started happening
Failure of Arab socialism
Success of Iran's Islamic republic (1979)
Islam as the alternative to Western civilization
Islam as an alternative to (secular/socialist) Arab nationalism
The Rise of the Quran
Rise of the Quran
Massive exodus of non-Muslims
Mass emigration of progressive Muslims
Islamic societies become more and more isolated
The Rise of the Quran
Rise of the Quran/ Consequences
The rest of the world has moved towards increasing emancipation from religion
USA (1776) and French (1789) revolutions "demoted" the status of religion (separation of state and church)
Russia (1917) and China (1911) via communism
India (1948) via Gandhi
West, Far East and India via capitalism
The Islamic world has moved in the opposite direction, towards stronger religious dominance
The Islamic world never had the equivalent of the USA/French/Russian/Chinese revolutions (except Turkey)
The Rise of the Quran
The rest of the world has undergone a period of rapid development (society, science, arts, technology)
The Islamic world has undergone a period of stagnation
The rest of the world has embraced a different set of values
For the first time in history, the powers are not at war
Quranic groups are at war with everybody (USA, Russia, China, India, Europe, Far East)
The Rise of the Quran
New cultural psychology
The Quran should be obeyed even by non-Muslims in Islamic lands
The Quran should be obeyed even in non-Islamic lands
Ignorance about and contempt towards other religions
Quran unknown to most Muslims (most Muslims do not read Arabic)
The Rise of the Quran
The Quran was never so important for a Muslim
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 1: Clash of civilizations as a worldwide trend
Clash due to two conflicting sets of values (Bernard Lewis 1957, Samuel Huntington 1996)
False: China, India, Russia, Latin America, Black Africa are evolving towards a common set of values (e.g., the Chinese have never been so similar to Europeans in their entire history)
To some extent, Europe, China, India, Russia and Black Africa have the same "clash of civilization" against Islam
The "clash of civilizations" mainly applies to Islam vs the rest of the world
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: The Islamic civil war
"There is indeed a war of civilization going on, but it is taking place inside Muslim society" (William Pfaff 2004). The West is "a detonator of explosions" which are actually meant for the Islamic world itself.
"Civilizations do not clash, they compete" (Wafa Sultan)
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: The Islamic civil war
A side-effect of European colonialism: Europe imported Islam
Between 1989 and 1998 the Muslim population throughout Europe grew 100% (to about 14m)
Creation of the mosque culture
Consequences of the European Ummah:
not that Europe is becoming Islamic
but that Muslims are becoming European
The Islamic diaspora
New generations of Muslims who only speak European languages and accept European customs
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: The Islamic civil war
Choice vs interpretation
The Western lifestyle if about choice (e.g., one can choose to be a Buddhist or a Christian)
The Islamic lifestyle is about interpretation: the only choice is Islam, and the Quran is always right, thus the only issue is what is the correct interpretation of the Quran (e.g., condition of women)
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: The Islamic civil war
Principle of indeterminacy
The Quran can be interpreted any way one desires to, regardless of what it actually contains
E.g., "The Quran promotes same rights for women, opposes slavery, fosters peace and protects other religions from persecution" when in fact it states (is so many words) just the opposite
No other religious book has ever been interpreted in such arbitrary manner
A virtually infinite spectrum of what Islam implies
As long as one recognizes that there is only one god, and that Mohammed is his prophet, one can do virtually anything, from terrorism to feminism
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: Islamic civil war
Progressive Muslims are more interested in building a prosperous, free and peaceful society than in what a prophet said (it can always be twisted)
Conservative Muslims are more interested in twisting the prophet's words to promote Islamic nationalism
The USA is calling the bluff on progressive Muslims: USA colonization as the no-brainer solution to all your problems
The Jihadists are calling the bluff on conservative Muslims: the international jihad as the no-brainer solution to all your problems
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 2: Islamic civil war
The Islamic masses feel trapped between two equally undesirable scenarios, USA colonization and international jihad, and cannot produce a third alternative: the popular uprising (Gilles Kepel)
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 3: The trauma of de-colonization
All former colonies went through similar turmoil
Affirmation of national identity
Economic crisis
Adoption of USA model
Every part of the world that postponed USA-style reforms has fallen behind, to an extent proportional to the extent that reforms have been postponed
Nasser and Khomeini (just like others) postponed the adoption of USA-style reforms
Communism was overthrown,, but nobody has overthrown Nasser and Khomeini (except Turkey, Dubai, Malaysia)
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 4: the wake of Iran's revolution:
First major popular uprising in Islamic history
First major victory (after Algeria) of an Islamic movement over the non-Islamic powers
Demonstration of both edges of the religious sword:
Inspiration for the jihadists to stage further uprising against the West
Disappointment for the progressists whose revolution was hijacked (the first major uprising and the first major victory resulted in an undesirable state)
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 5: the Jihadists are the future
Jihadists as the new "barbarians" who take advantage of the rivalry between the old powers (USA and Soviet Union) to defeat both and start a new civilization
The Arabs were the barbarians that successfully exploited the weakness of the Byzantines and Sassanids after many centuries of war (or like the USA that exploited the continuous warfare between Britain and Germany)
Jihadists as the founders of the future empire of the planet
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 5: the Jihadists are the future
Christians were the terrorists of Tacitus (Annals 15-44): enemy of (Roman) civilization, wild beasts of hatred
Clash of Civilizations
Scenario 6: The rise of the Quran
Islamic Reformism
Western Reformism
Islamic Reformism
Characters of religious reformism
Autonomy of the individual in interpreting the religious scriptures
Critical examination of the religious dogmas (including authenticity of the scriptures)
Recognition of religious relativism (one's religious beliefs depend on the birthplace, not on absolute truth)
Sense of humour!
Political activism
Separation of church and state
Human rights
Gender equality
Islamic Reformism
Islamic Reformism
Amina Wadud : Quran and Woman
Omid Safi: Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism
Farid Esack: Quran, Liberation and Pluralism
Fazlur Rahman: Revival and Reform in Islam
Mohammed Arkoun: The Unthought in Contemporary Islamic Thought
Anouar Majid: Unveiling Traditions - Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World
Pervez Hoodbhoy: Islam and Science - Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
The holy connection: Islamic renewal and the worldwide spiritual revival
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Ethical, not political, movement
No coherent political program
Suicide bombing (martyrdom) is an end in itself
Similarity with environmentalism: ethical call, but no coherent political program
Similarity with anti-globalization movement: demonstrations are an end in itself
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Indifference towards social issues (unlike Islamist movements of the 1940s-80s)
Politics as a means to embed moral values in the law (abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, shari'a)
Similarity with Christian fundamentalists of the USA

Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
New forms of spirituality are becoming increasingly detached from traditional cultures and societies and tend to create new, global, purely religious communities
The us ("we know the truth") vs them ("they don't want to see the light") paradigm
Similarity with the new-age movement of the West Coast
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Religious hate against the USA is widespread_
_ even in the USA
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
The second slowest developing region in the world after the Islamic region is Latin America, which happens to be the most Catholic region in the world, with the second highest % of believers in God after the Islamic region
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
The 2004 elections in the USA were largely decided by the Christian churches
The 2005 elections in Iraq were largely decided by ayatollah Al Sistani
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
The Islamic world may be more integrated with trends of the Western world than the Western world (or the Islamic world) would like to admit
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Western and Islamic trends
Hippies (to change the world)
to 1968 student riots (Marxist-Leninist program)
to 1970s terrorism (Trotzkyist permanent revolution)
to international terrorism (the internationale recast as a universal struggle against imperialism)
to Palestinian terrorism (zionism = imperialism)
to Al Qaeda
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Western and Islamic trends
Vietnam (containment of the Soviet Union)
to regional wars (Africa, Latin America)
to Western state support for terrorist groups (Renamo, Contras)
to Arabian state support for Arab terrorists
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Western and Islamic trends
French revolution
to terror (Robespierre)
to exporting "irredentist" movements
to national identities

Iranian revolution
to terror (Khomeini)
to exporting Islamist movements
to Islamic identity
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
Western and Islamic trends
Nazist propaganda (anti-British rhetoric): Germany is the victim of British imperialism
to Soviet propaganda (anti-Western rhetoric): the proletariat is the victim of capitalist imperialism
to Al Jazeera (anti-everybody rhetoric): the Islamic world is guilty of nothing, the rest of the world is guilty of everything
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
History repeats itself?
Christian demand for spices caused the Islamic world to get wealthy, and the Islamic world used that wealth to wage war against the Christian world and attack its moral capital, Constantinople (Istanbul)
Christian demand for oil caused the Muslims to get wealthy, and the Islamic world is again using that wealth to wage war against the Christian world (even attacking its moral capital, New York)
Jihad and the Spiritual Revival
A paradox of "civilization": it took centuries to evolve a generation of people who are engaging in self-immolation at a rate perhaps never witnessed before.
Cultural Psychology
Cultural Psychology
A religion is never the same over the centuries
At any point in time a religion is a set of memes
Terrorists "hijacked a religion" because a religion is designed to be hijacked

Cultural Psychology
Religions are metaphors
They were written as metaphors and they were understood as metaphors
After the rational/scientific revolution, the world lives in the age of the literal
Religions are understood as literal
Therefore rational Westerners repudiate the Bible, which is difficult to believe literally
Muslims live in the same age of the literal but most of them have not lived through the rational (scientific) revolution
Cultural Psychology
Religion can always be interpreted in many different ways
The individual prevails over the religion
It is the individual who decides what the religion means
A peaceful man will look for a peaceful interpretation of his religion
A violent man will look for a violent interpretation of his religion
Cultural Psychology
The holistic meme
One can't judge isolated episodes of Islam, but only the whole, and the whole has only positive attributes
E.g., Mohammed killed (improper to stop here)
E.g., Islam is the first religion to build an empire (improper to stop here)
E.g., condition of women, slavery, etc
E.g., Islamic terrorism
In each case one has to look at the broader picture, not judge the episode in itself
Cultural Psychology
The eternal meme
Once Islamic, forever Islamic (e.g., Israel is the homeland of the Palestinians not of the Jews, Turkey is the homeland of the Turks not of the Greeks, etc)
History begins with Mohammed
Cultural Psychology
The "Islam is peace" meme
"The world has a misconception of Islam"
Fact: there are more classes on non-Christian religions in one British university than classes on non-Islamic religion in the entire Islamic world
Fact: religious books of other religions are virtually impossible to find in most Islamic countries
It is the Islamic world that has a misconception about the other religions
Cultural Psychology
The "Muslims are good Infidels are bad" meme
Aberrations of the non-Islamic world are norms (e.g. torture at Abu Gabhri)
Norms of the Islamic world are aberrations (e.g., widespread torture, media censorship)
Cultural Psychology
The Muslim meme
Muslims are always right
The concept of "invasion" depends on the religion of the invader (Osama bin Laden and his Arab brigade were not perceived as "invading" Afghanistan, Zarqawi is not perceived as invading Iraq)
Cultural Psychology
The insurgent meme
Opposing the infidel is always right
"Most Muslims recognize the Iraqi insurgents, not the democratically elected Iraqi government, as the sole legitimate representatives of the Iraqi people" (AlJazeera.net, 2005)
Cultural Psychology
The (Muslim) superiority meme
What offends Islam should be forbidden not only in Islamic lands but all over the world
What offends the rest of the world is ok
Cultural Psychology
The (Western) inferiority meme
Western democracy is the enemy of Arab nationalism
Humanitarian aid unwelcome (If Allah wants Muslims to starve to death, who is the non-Muslim to interfere?)
Cultural Psychology
The apocalyptic meme
The very same Muslim who condemns the September 11 attack says: "If the USA (or the West or India or whatever), does not change its attitude, this will happen again"
The terrorist (himself a bad man) was sent by Allah to punish you for your sins
If a Muslim harms an infidel, ultimately, it is because the infidel deserved it

Cultural Psychology
The humiliation meme
Cultural Psychology
The martyrdom meme
A Christian meme: martyrdom as the highest privilege of the "witness" (in Greek and Arabic "witness" and "martyr" are the same word)
Mohammed was not a martyr
Shiites: Karbala
Cultural Psychology
The truth meme
The difference between fact, opinion and lie is blurred
A bigger lie makes a stronger argument
Hollywood movies are accepted as fact
News reports are considered the product of USA/Zionist conspiracies
Cultural Psychology
The conspiracy meme
Muslims are always innocent
If they are accused of terrible crimes, that is a conspiracy by Israel or the USA
All Muslims should be released from all jails
If Muslims released from jails are found to be plotting again, that is either totally justified or it is false (again a conspiracy by Israel or the USA)
Cultural Psychology
The tribal meme
If one Italian offends one Arab, than it is ok for all Arabs to kill all Italians (eg, Palestinian suicide bombers, Danish cartoons)

Cultural Psychology
The "religious war" meme
Muslims invented "religious war" and their culture is very much oriented towards interpreting everything as a religious war
Cultural Psychology
The Zionist meme
Israel is the cause of all evil
It was not Arafat who stole money, it was Israel that starved the Palestinians
It is not devout Muslims who are killing each other in Iraq, it is the USA
It is not the Arab governments that failed to provide for their people
Cultural Psychology
The Jewish meme
When the Jewish state declines, Jews become more religious
Political defeat leads to religious revival
Cultural Psychology
The Quranic meme
The morality of a Muslim (whether moderate or fundamentalist) rests on the Quran
The rest of the world can win the hearts and minds of Muslims only by appealing to the Quran (#1 reason why suicide bombers are bad: suicide is forbidden in the Quran; #2 reason is that the victims are often Muslims; #3 is that the correct interpretation of "jihad" is peaceful)
In a sense, we all have to become Muslims, and then hope that our (moderate, peaceful) interpretation of Islam will prevail over the interpretation of the extremists
Cultural Psychology
The mother of all Quranic memes: the Muslim double standard
Embedded in the memes of Islam is the confrontation with the infidel and the solidarity with fellow Muslims no matter who has done what
Muslims are always the victims, never the culprits
Muslims are entitled to the very privileges that are criminal if non-Muslims enjoy them
Ditto for the past (e.g., Arab expansion vs Crusades, Arab invasion of the Western world vs the "occupied territories")
Cultural Psychology
The Muslim double standard
Muslims are occupying the homelands of at least four major religions
Judaism (e.g., Jericho in Palestine)
Christianity (from Bethlehem to Antioch in Palestine and Syria))
Zoroastrianism (Iran)
Hinduism (Indus Valley in Pakistan)
How would Muslims feel if non-Muslims occupied Mecca and Medina?
Cultural Psychology
The denial meme
If Mohammed killed, how many of the one billion Muslims are willing to call him a killer?
If Islam was at war from the moment it was born, how many Muslims are willing to call Islam an ideology of war?
If the political establishment massacred Mohammed's family, who are Sunnis obeying, the Prophet or his enemies?
If Mohammed fell into the three temptations of Satan (that Jesus resisted), who sent Mohammed: God or Satan?

Cultural Psychology
The denial meme
Muslims never traded slaves
Muslims never attacked non-Muslim countries
Mohammed was a man of peace
Islam means peace

Cultural Psychology
The USA meme
What the USA does is not terribly relevant
The USA is guilty whether it does X or the opposite of X.
Changing that the USA does will not change the Arab opinion of the USA
What has to change is the Arab mind, so that they can understand and appreciate the difference between X and the opposite of X.
Cultural Psychology
Love/hate relationship for the USA
"How can such a great country like the USA have such a stupid president?" (Saddam Hussein's representative at the United Nations, Aldouri)
"First, I thank the United States that they have given us this weapon of democracy." (Hamas spokesman Farhat Asaad)

Cultural Psychology
The body meme
"Palestinians only have their bodies to use as weapons" (an Al Jazeera commentator justifying suicide bombers)
"Jews only had their minds to use as weapons" (A Jewish friend explaining why so many Jews became scientists, artists, philosophers and writers)