The New Crusades

The New Crusades: Constructing the Muslim Enemy

Emran Qureshi
Michael A. Sells
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 400
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The New Crusades
    Book Description:

    Not since the Crusades of the Middle Ages has Islam evoked the degree of fear, hostility, and ethnic and religious stereotyping that is evident throughout Western culture today. As conflicts continue to proliferate around the globe, the perception of a colossal, unyielding, and unavoidable struggle between Islam and the West has intensified. These numerous conflicts, both actual and ideological, have revived fears of an ongoing "clash of civilizations" -- an intractable and irreconcilable conflict of values between Western cultures and an Islam that is portrayed as hostile and alien.

    The New Crusades takes head-on the idea of an emergent "Cold War" between Islam and the West. It explores the historical, political, and institutional forces that have raised the specter of a threatening and monolithic Muslim enemy and provides a nuanced critique of much received wisdom on the topic, particularly the "clash of civilizations" theory. Bringing together twelve of the most influential thinkers in Middle Eastern and religious studies -- including Edward Said, Roy Mottahedeh, and Fatema Mernissi -- this timely collection confronts such depictions of the Arab-Islamic world, showing their inner workings and how they both empower and shield from scrutiny Islamic radicals who operate from similar paradigms of inevitable and absolute conflict.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50156-9
    Subjects: Religion, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface: A Tribute to Eqbal Ahmad
    (pp. ix-x)
    Emran Qureshi
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction: Constructing the Muslim Enemy
    (pp. 1-48)
    Emran Qureshi and Michael A. Sells

    Is Islam at war with the West? A number of voices, from Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington to the exiled Saudi radical Osama bin Laden have answered yes. The ruthless and deadly attack of September 11 has led to a new wave of enthusiasm in the U.S. for Huntington’s claim that there is a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West and that Islamic civilization is, by its very nature, hostile to Western values. There is no doubt the suicide bombers hated the civilization symbolized by their targets: the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and,...

  6. Part I
    • Palace Fundamentalism and Liberal Democracy
      (pp. 51-67)
      Fatema Mernissi

      Islamic fundamentalism is usually perceived by Western liberal democracies as something not only alien to, but also entirely incompatible with, their philosophical and ethnical foundations. Often, though, they fail to make even the elementary distinction between Islamic fundamentalism—an authoritarian ideology and political system, which sacralizes hierarchy and repudiates pluralism—and Islam as a religion and a culture. Thus the incompatibility between Islam and the West has been promoted, since the fall of the communist camp, as the principal field of conflict and lurking danger in the next century.

      After making the necessary distinction between Islam as a culture and...

    • The Clash of Definitions
      (pp. 68-87)
      Edward W. Said

      Samuel P. Huntington’s essay “The Clash of Civilizations?” appeared in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 1993, announcing in its first sentence that “world politics is entering a new phase.”¹ By this he meant that whereas in the recent past world conflicts were between ideological camps grouping the first, second, and third worlds into warring camps, the new style of politics would entail conflicts between different and presumably clashing civilizations. “The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. … The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics.” Later he explains how it is that...

    • The Clash of Civilizations: Samuel P. Huntington, Bernard Lewis, and the Remaking of Post–Cold War World Order
      (pp. 88-130)
      John Trumpbour

      In the waning summer months of 1857, Alfred C. Lyall tried to explain the reasons for ongoing resistance to Britain’s imperial control over the Indian subcontinent. “Of course you know by this time that the whole insurrection is a great Mahometan conspiracy,” he wrote his father. He elaborated that “wherever anything horrible has been perpetrated, it has always been the act of the same fanatics.” Though traumatized by the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Lyall later would emerge among the most influential nineteenth-century commentators on Asian civilizations. He clarified that “above all I can appreciate that furious hatred of all Musulmans,...

    • The Clash of Civilizations: An Islamicist’s Critique
      (pp. 131-151)
      Roy P. Mottahedeh

      The twentieth century had two great prophet-philosophers of history, Spengler and Toynbee. Each of them spoke to the West about its future after a major change in circumstance and prophesied for the West on the basis of a long historical view of the destiny of civilizations, and both led careers that spanned the world of scholarship and public policy. Both of them started out as historians but came to despise their fellow professional colleagues as narrow-minded slaves of detail who made niggling objections to their larger schemes. Now, Samuel Huntington, a political scientist who has plunged into history, seems ready...

    • Among the Mimics and the Parasites: V. S. Naipaul’s Islam
      (pp. 152-169)
      Rob Nixon

      Over a period of about two decades—from the early sixties until the late eighties—V. S. Naipaul accumulated a distinctive authority as a high cultural commentator on the shortcomings of the third world. His prestige as a novelist assisted him in sustaining his visibility as an interpreter of decolonizing and neocolonial societies during that era. However, by venturing into travel writing and journalism he garnered a reputation of a different order, one that went beyond the conventionally literary to the point where—in those border regions where British and American belles lettres meet popularized political thought—he was treated...

    • The Islamic and Western Worlds: “End of History” or the “Clash of Civilizations”?
      (pp. 170-202)
      Mujeeb R. Khan

      Francis Fukuyama in his essay “The End of History?” drew upon Hegel to argue that the fall of the Berlin Wall would inevitably lead to the universal triumph of liberal democracy and capitalist consumerism. A few years later, in the wake of the first post-Holocaust genocide against a European religious-cultural minority in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Samuel Huntington opposed Fukuyama’s thesis with one positing an inevitable “Clash of Civilizations” drawing upon particularity and difference.¹

      Intellectual commentators on these two popular paradigms have, however, failed to fully appreciate the philosophical basis of this discussion in a trialogue between three leading and controversial philosophers of...

  7. Part II
    • Europe and the Muslims: The Permanent Crusade?
      (pp. 205-248)
      Tomaž Mastnak

      This essay is about Europe’s attitude toward the Muslims. It does not cover the whole range of European attitudes toward the Muslim world. It deals, however, with what is most important. As such, the text that follows is a story about European animosity—not only because hostile views of the Muslims were prevalent in European history but because without that hostility there would not be European history in the strict sense of the word. For, without that hostility, Europe as we know it today—Europe as a political community—would not exist. Europe as a self-conscious collective entity emerged relatively...

    • The Myth of Westernness in Medieval Literary Historiography
      (pp. 249-287)
      María Rosa Menocal

      Modern civilization’s myriad pretensions to objectivity have unfortunately tended to obscure the fact that much of our writing of history is as much a myth-making activity as that of more primitive societies. We often regard tribal histories or ancient myths that do not cloak themselves in such pretensions as less objective than our own. We are prone to forget that history is written by the victors and serves to ratify and glorify their ascendancy—and we forget how many tracks are covered in that process. The writing of literary history, the close and often indispensable ancillary of general history, is...

    • Islamophobia in France and the “Algerian Problem”
      (pp. 288-313)
      Neil MacMaster

      International Islamic “fundamentalism” has, following the collapse of the USSR and the end of the cold war, come to be perceived as a major threat to the West. The Western military-industrial complex, it has been argued, structurally requires an external enemy and where one does not exist in the shape of communism, a replacement has to be found or invented.¹ Political analysis that interprets Islamic fundamentalism at the international level as a powerful but secretive global network, within which funds, arms, personnel, and ideologies circulate, is a key component of Islamophobic constructions. The myth of an Islamic “International” in many...

    • The Nationalist Serbian Intellectuals and Islam: Defining and Eliminating a Muslim Community
      (pp. 314-351)
      Norman Cigar

      Recent events in Bosnia-Herzegovina provide significant material for a case study on the impact that external images of Islam can have on Muslims as a community and as individuals.¹ Perhaps there was no more striking aspect in this process of creating images than the role that Serb intellectuals played as they exercised their craft of developing and disseminating knowledge and engaged in political activity. Their special position in society enabled the latter to serve as a guide to their fellow Serbs and, as this essay will seek to show, their impact has been felt strongly in creating images, forming attitudes,...

    • Christ Killer, Kremlin, Contagion
      (pp. 352-388)
      Michael A. Sells

      In the summer of July of 1995 the United Nations civil and military authorities in Bosnia refused to authorize air strikes to protect the U.N.-declared “safe area” of Srebrenica as the forces of Serb general Ratko Mladić closed in on the enclave. In front of UN soldiers Mladicć’s men separated the thousands of captive Muslim civilians into two groups. Women, elderly men, and boys were placed in one group, older teenage boys and men in a second. Serb soldiers and militiamen began torturing and killing captives within the sight and earshot of UN officials. Approximately seventyfive hundred boys and men...

  8. Contributors
    (pp. 389-390)
  9. Index
    (pp. 391-416)