As a prelude to a thought article I intend to write about the tense relationship between Islam and the West, let me share this note with you which formed my public response to Mal. Ibrahim Sheme, an Editor with the Nigerian daily newspaper, Leadership, on his Friday June 5, 2009 article, Obama's Al-Azhar's Agenda. My response is now more than 3 years old.
America Does Not Hate Islam
"This is an interesting analysis, Mal. Sheme, and from one who knows much indeed. But I feel like Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis have more claim to the, "Clash of Civilisations’", thesis than Francis Fukuyama, to whom you attributed the clause, who only wrote the book, "The End of History and the Last Man" in 1992 to say the world has reached the end of its history and America and its ideology of liberal democracy has prevailed over all ideologies in no amount of measures. It was against his assertion that Samuel Huntington wrote the book, "The Clash of Civilisation and the Remaking of the World Order", in 1998, arguing that the end in history has not arrived and that the new phase of battle would be fought along civilisational lines, with major elements of it being the Western World and Islamic World.
Even though the same Huntington later wrote, on Clash of Cultures, emphasizing the cultural, not religious, elements of the “Clash of Civilisations”, the world had already taken the earlier central pointers of the “Clash” thesis, which centred on Islam and the West, not cultural and social trappings of the individual and differing Muslim countries verses the Western culture and its socio-liberal values.
For scholars both from the West and the Islamic world who believe in the “Clash” as being between Islam and the West, including the neo-conservatives who supported the war on Iraq and Afghanistan on that premise, nothing can stop them from seeing the whole activities of America in the middle east and elsewhere as purely anti-Islam.
For those scholars who take the later meaning of the “Clash” ,they see the activities of America including the wars on Muslim countries as purely political not religious and as a result they say as Obama says: "America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam." And when America acts against a certain value or cultural practice of certain Muslim people, they see it as not acting against what is Islam but rather what is made to be seen as Islam by some values that do not promote freedom and liberalism, since Islam is equal to liberal philosophy and freedom in its very unique way.
In any case scholars from both camps struggle through the pages of history using various sociological theories to find evidence to support their thesis, as each are not without strong cases for or against a channel of argument.
While Mal. Sheme has presented us with one side of the argument the other side of the argument, puts America in a stead of a better nation practicing and upholding the Islamic value of equality among humans by, among other things, electing Obama a son of an African, Muslim immigrant, as its number one citizen. This at a time when nations with claims to Islam, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, find it difficult to have national policies that speed up naturalisation of immigrants beyond privileges of enjoying civic rights which are even poorly delivered.
With the way America conduct its affairs, it is easy to say, in years to come, it can have a Muslim president, than to think that a non Arab will lead Saudi Arabia or non Persian leading Iran, not to mention a non-Muslim leading the countries.
In this, then, the right description of America cannot be said to be anti-Islam as it is being projected to look like but rather politically, economically and territorially imperial. Labels that can fit any nation that so behaves regardless of its faith or ideology."