We have tried to point out many times this insight going beyond the ‘clash of civilizations’ meme. The planet is a complex tapestry of layered cultural histories, belying the construct of ‘civilization’. And the mystery here is why the US has so degenerated that it wishes to reamp the religious factor to create an artificial enemy.
Aside from their poisonous implications for international relations, such obfuscating explanations simply fail the test of history. The history of the relationship between the modern Western world and the Muslim world shows that, contrary to popular perceptions in the West, from the time of their initial contacts with the capitalist West more than two centuries ago until almost the final third of the twentieth century, the Muslim people were quite receptive of the economic and political models of the modern world. Many people in the Muslim world, including the majority of their political leaders, were eager to transform and restructure the socioeconomic and political structures of their societies after the model of the capitalist West. As Karen Armstrong, author of a number of books on religious fundamentalism, points out:
“About a hundred years ago, almost every leading Muslim intellectual was in love with the West, which at that time meant Europe. America was still an unknown quantity. Politicians and journalists in India, Egypt, and Iran wanted their countries to be just like Britain or France; philosophers, poets, and even some of the ulama (religious scholars) tried to find ways of reforming Islam according to the democratic model of the West. They called for a nation state, for representational government, for the disestablishment of religion, and for constitutional rights” .