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Journal Islam Today N░ 26-1430H/2009

 

Between Islamic Universality and Western Globalization

Dr. Mohamed Amara(*)

 

If we wish to compare Islamic universality with Western globalization we will not err in saying that they stand at two opposite ends. Islamic universality is diversity, coexistence, mutual acquaintance, and competition within the framework of human unity and of all that is shared by all mankind. Western globalization on the other hand stands for conflict, division and a so-called 'creative' chaos that unfolds against a backdrop of Western hegemony seeking to cast the entire world in the Western mold only.

Universality is a humanist trend, a step towards the interaction of civilizations, the cross fertilization of cultures, the interconnection of intellectual patterns, solidarity, complementarity and the mutual acquaintance of nations, peoples and states. In universality, the world is a platform of civilizations as they meet on vast expanses of common ground while each preserves its own cultural identity and serves its nationalist, civilizational, economic and security interests within the context of a balance of interests, not of powers.

While it is hard to ignore the civilizational diversity existing in this world platform when we look at the civilizational specificities of China, India, Japan, the West, Islam and other civilizations, we cannot dismiss the fact that some civilizations stand out by their 'indigenous' cachet, such as in India, China and Japan, while others, such as the Islamic and Western civilizations, stand out by their past and present propensity to expand and their ability to contribute beyond their historical and geographical boundaries. This universal propensity has been manifested in the European culture since the Greco-Roman times, while the Islamic civilization's tendency is traced back to the time when this civilization rose from the pages of the Holy Quran.

The elements of the unified Islamic Ummah were derived From the Holy Quran as was the Islamic cachet of its civilization. Its universality was nothing but a by-product of the universality of the Islamic message and the Charia with which Allah (SWT) chose to seal all divine revelations. For such wise purpose, the Quran spoke of this universality from the burgeoning time of Islam: [And no reward dost thou ask of them for this: it is no less than a message for all creatures.] (Yussuf, verse 104), [We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.] (Al Anbia, verse 107), and [Blessed is He who sent down the criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures.] (Al Furqan, verse 1).

This Islamic Ummah and its civilization prevailed wherever and whenever the teachings, values and culture of Islam spread. The term 'Ummah' was not used to mean closed or exclusive but to signify the community, any community, that is forever open, inclusive and expansive, the one being fulfilled time and again, everywhere.

But as Islam sees it, this universality does not mean the monopoly of the Islamic civilization over the whole world to the exclusion of the 'Civilizational Other'. It means interaction and competition with the other in the full respect of civilizational plurality, cultural diversity and the color, race, custom and creed as well as racial linguistic, cultural, philosophical and civilizational peculiarities of peoples, nations and tribes... These diversity peculiarities are a law of nature, of the creation and of the divine providence which can never be altered.

Any civilization stands out by its cultural imprint, the perspective that its people entertain of the universe and the status man occupies in the universe.

If in the Western culture, Christian theology sees man as the image of God while secular modernism sees him as the master of the universe, the Islamic civilization has started out with the premise of monotheism and the Oneness of a divine entity that has no equal. It also perceives the universe of creation, whether human, animal, vegetal or inanimate, as edified on the principle of diversity, plurality and difference.

- Human beings constitute peoples and tribes: [O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).] (Al Hujurat, verse 13).

- People also stand out by their linguistic, ethnic and racial differences: [And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.] (ar-Rum, verse 22).

- People differ in their religions and beliefs: [If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. Except those on whom thy Lord hath bestowed His Mercy: and for this did He create them: and the Word of thy Lord shall be fulfilled: "I will fill Hell with jinns and men all together."] (Hud, verse 118-119).

- People differ in their laws, cultures and civilizations: [If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.] (Al Maida, verse 48).

- People pursue various goals: [Verily, (the ends) ye strive for are diverse.] (Lail, verse 4), and also [then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah will bring you together. For Allah Hath power over all things.] (Al Baqara, verse 148).

Thus interaction and positive competition is the only means to bridge gaps, redress injustices and restore the balance of relations between classes, nations and civilizations [Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!] (Fussilat, verse 34).

'Conflict' does not refer here to a dispute where one party triumphs over the other and lays claim to its lands, resources and privileges, thus putting an end to diversity and difference: [And the 'Ad, they were destroyed by a furious Wind, exceedingly violent; He made it rage against them seven nights and eight days in succession: so that thou couldst see the (whole) people lying prostrate in its (path), as they had been roots of hollow palm-trees tumbled down! Then seest thou any of them left surviving?] (Al Haqqa, verse 6-8).

The Islamic concept of universality considers diversity, plurality and difference as the rule and the law of all creatures, and believes that interaction is the middle way between isolationism, dependence and atheism. Thus, the world's civilizational landscape becomes a forum of civilizations where man is honored in all ways.

The concept of universality in Islam differs from the Western one not only at this age of Western globalization- but since the dawn of the Western civilization. A propensity for centrality has been closely associated with the Western civili-zational model since Roman times when only Free Romans were considered civilized human beings while the rest of the world were seen as Barbarians. Rome considered that its religion was the only one viable and all others needed to be eradicated. Indulging in this centralist trend in their pagan days, Romans massacred Christians after exiling the Jews. After embracing Christianity, they persecuted any Christian denomination that differed from theirs. This remained the case until the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants broke out. These wars lasted from the mid 16th century to the last decades of the 17th century (1562-1688AD) or until the Age of Enlightenment, and cost the lives of almost ten million people, i.e. 40% of the population of Central Europe.(1)

This Western centrality trend persisted throughout the West's colonial history with conflicts and eradication attempts made at all levels and in all fields. On the intellectual level, the West continued to destroy the bases of the intellectual heritage of colonized populations and to infiltrate their value systems(2). On the cultural level, it operated through the westernization of the colonies, and on the religious level through evangelization. The West's action on the economic level consisted of usurping the wealth of the colonies, building its luxury with the surplus achieved by impoverishing colonized nations. On the security level, this took shape through transforming the world into a security buffer for Europe and the West and by mobilizing the people and resources of colonies in colonial wars in a way similar to what the Persians and Romans did to the Ghassassina and Manadhira in the old world order.

The West's propensity for centrality, its rejection of plurality and its refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Other's existence, are inherent to the West's hegemonic vision (of the 'self' and the 'other'), a vision that was even recognized and acknowledged by fair-minded Western scholars. French orientalist Maxime Rodinson (1916-2004AD) said in this regard that encouraging centrality was natural to Europeans and had always existed but that it had become associated with a clear degree of condescension towards the others, particularly in light of the imperialism which started in the mid 19th century.(3)

Such is the Western understanding of the universality of European civilizations, one of civilizational centrality which sees the West as the universe's axis, as the only civilization worthy of such name and one that should be set as the paradigm of progress and the mold in which the whole world should be cast.

The West continues to see conflict and clash as the only means of achieving this civilizational pivotism in view of the conflictual factor that contributed to shaping the Western civilization. This centralism was promoted and justified by the major theories that marked the European philosophy of lights and Western modernist thought and culture.

- The philosophy of power, intrigue, and immoral opportunism is the essence of Machiavellian philosophy as formulated by Machiavelli (1469-1527AD) in his book 'The Prince'.

- The philosophy of history by Hegel (1802-1882AD) bases relationships in history on conflict of which each new cycle obviates the old one.

- Darwinism introduced by Darwin (1809-1882AD) in his Origin of Species considers conflict as the law behind progress and evolution. Survival is for the fittest and the fittest is the strongest. The elimination of the weak link is the law of nature.

- The same applies in sociology. Class struggles for Carl Marx (1817-1883AD) and others are the application of Darwinian and Hegelian philosophy in sociology whereby the new uproots the old, the grassroot class grows out of the ashes of the ruling class, and slavery replaces primitive peripatetics. Then feudalism came and started a different kind of slavery while capi-talism obviated feudalism. Marxism heralded the end of communism and the dictatorship of the proletariat that of liberal capitalism. The motto of the conflictual philosophy which characterized the Western civilization seems to be Allah's saying: [Every time a new people enters, it curses its sister-people (that went before)] (Al A'raf, verse 38).

This exterminatory centralist tendency confined the description of Man in Western civilization to the Western man only. During colonial eras, the West has exercised this cultural extermination with an amazing ease that is more akin to the demise of conscience. It engaged in that extermination as if it were a mission or an application of the natural law of selection in the world of civilizations and cultures. The extermination of peoples through occupation -in Africa and Palestine- was seen as an act of civilizing and modernizing those countries and purifying their lands from barbarian peoples and primitive customs. The evangelization of Muslims was seen as the salvation of those allegedly godforsaken souls; and the extermination of the cultural heritage of non-European countries was considered as a liberation from backwardness and stagnation. It might also be taken as the application of the natural law of the survival of the fittest who is the European and always and forever the best and most deserving of survival.

This Western centrality, which never recognized the legitimacy of the Other, saw only the Self and believed that the principle of evolution was built on annihilating the other, was what made the West prone to hostility and colonial expansion, finding justification for this aggressive tendency and almost considering it natural and requiring no apology whatsoever.

Historical records of the relationship between the West and the East since Alexander the Great (323-356BC) spanned twenty-four centuries during which the colonial west engaged in the political, cultural, religious and civilizational repression of the East and in economic plundering over seventeen of those twenty-four centuries.

Ten centuries were pre-Islamic and stretched from the times of Alexander and his Greek conquests in the 4th century BC to the era of Hercules (610-641AD) in the 7th century AD.

Two centuries were dedicated by the West to the Crusade Wars against the Muslim Orient (489-690AH/1096-1291AD).

Five centuries represent the age of the contemporary Western invasion of the Muslim world. It started with the fall of Granada (897AH/1492AD) and continues until today.

The West celebrated the passage of 500 years since the beginning of this modern invasion by organizing Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992 at the exact same spot from where Islam was evicted from al-Andalus (West Europe). In the same year, 1992, the Bosnia and Herzegovina war broke out, nipping the project of an Islamic state in the heart of Europe in the bud.

Since the colonial West considered this onslaught, repression and obliteration of the Eastern Other's religious and civilizational traits as no more than a process of natural selection and civilizational Darwinism, it experienced no regrets and never considered an apology for a long and bloody past of repression and colonialism.

When Pope Paul II (1922-2005AD) visited the grave of Jonah in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, he refused to visit the mausoleum of Salah Eddine El Ayyoubi (532-589AH/1137-1193AD) for fear that such visit would be construed as an apology to the Muslims for the Crusades. Europe and America refused and continue to refuse any mention of an apology for what they did in Africa for over five centuries. In fact, in 2005, the French National Assembly expressed its pride at what the French armies achieved in Algeria over one hundred and thirty years of occupation, a tragedy by the end of which almost two million Algerian martyrs had been massacred.

The same tune is sung when it comes to how Western conscience perceives what the West did to the Indians who were exterminated and whose civilization was erased, added to more than forty million black Africans who were hunted down by Western hunters, loaded on animal boats and shipped off to lands where their blood and bones paid for the wellbeing and luxury of Westerners in America and Europe.

Such was the centralist tendency of the West long before modern globalization, and such was the relationship of the colonial West with the rest of the world.

This is how universality is perceived in Islam and the West. What could then be the new content presented by the now internationally common term 'globalization'?

The novel element in Western globalization is manifest in its extent rather than in its quality. We are before an escalation in Western centralist tendencies and intensification in the manifestations of this centralism.

Behind this escalation are the developments occurring around the world, and consequently occurring in the relationship between the Western order and the Western world.

Since the Age of Lights, the West has gone through many phases in the relationship between its nations and states:

- Phase of religious wars.

- Phase of nationalistic wars.

- Phase of colonialist wars to share the non-Western world.

- The first decades of the 20th century were marked by the divide between totalitarian communism and capitalist liberalism within the Western civili-zational model. This break and ensuing social division consumed much of the belligerent energy of Western powers and was coupled for almost a quarter of a century with the fight of the two camps against Fascism and Nazism.

Benefiting from this historical opportunity, national liberation movements thrived in colonized countries. Countries that were successful in obtaining their independence benefited from the lull granted by the internal strife within the West's two camps and achieved, after political independence, varying degrees of cultural, economic and military development.

However, westernization had a powerful impact and exercised much pressure on those states and countries. German orientalist Sigrid Hunke contended that the newly independent counties took different paths to forge ahead in the modern world, acquired the lifestyles and civilizations of the colonizers, and simulated the living and thinking styles of their former masters. They imitated their traditions and borrowed their material achievements and moral values, becoming as Euro-peanized as the Europeans, as Americanized as the Americans and as Russianized as the Russians.(4)

Despite their westernization, the clear divide between communism and capitalism during the Cold War provided our peoples with a degree of free choice, albeit within a context of invitation and intimidation.

When the last totalitarian Marxist model disintegrated in the final decade of the 20th century, the edifice of Western civilization became whole once again and for the first time since the European Age of Enlightenment. This coincided with the West's success in ironing its internal and economic differences within the limits of non-violent conflict, and as dictated by the menace of nuclear terror. It also coincided with an unprecedented revolution in communication technologies in information, culture, thought, finance and economy. All of this contributed to a revival of Western centralism and to an evolution from universality to globali-zation that sought to eliminate the margin of free choice enjoyed by non-Western peoples, nations and civilizations and launch a phase of coercive invasion to succeed that of invitation and intimidation.

Globalization represents a new cycle in Western centralism. It involves a design to cast the entire world in the Western mold at all levels, be they economic, political, moral, cultural, military or legislative, etc… It is the phase of the Western Deluge which in the eyes of the West represents the end of history. Whoever fails to voluntarily board the Ark of the Western civilizational model will embark on a cycle of conflict and coercion the traits of which are defined by the boundaries of cultures and civilizations. These boundaries are defined by the American strategist Huntington in an article that 'exposes' the Western thesis of civilizational clash. If the fall of communism heralded the birth of Western globalization, the 9/11 events provided a 'golden opportunity' to make this globalization an American 'catch' that only Americans benefit from to the exclusion of all others, including their European allies.

If the situation on the ground in this globalized Western invasion stands witness to the veracity of this analysis and description, the term 'globalization' is in itself witness and evidence.

Even in its Western model, and considering the circumstances and discre-pancies which have marked it, universality did not totally strip us of free choice. But globalization, which represents the age of Western domination and the tech-nological revolution turning the world into a universal village, is signaling higher risks of disrupting the balance of powers between weakened peoples and nations. Globalization, as even the term itself denotes, carries the menace of imposed change. Indeed, it often implies the systematic and compulsory casting within one mold, and the negation of diversity, plurality and difference. We have expe-rienced this when our peoples became plagued by phenomena such as Frenchi-zation, Englishization, Russianization, Americanization, Israelization, etc. Globa-lization represents the era of Western and especially American hegemony and its design to shape the world according to the Western centralist tendencies, in unprecedented forms and degrees and in response to the developments and changes modifying the structure of Western civilization. Such changes include the ampli-fication of the West's hegemonic and tyrannical proclivities, encouraged by the unity of its house, the resolution of its internal differences and the technological development and information revolution witnessed.

Since globalization is the West's attempt, under the command of America, to cast the entire world in the mold of the dominating civilization to serve its own interests, this invasion spares no field particularly when it encounters a gap that needs to be filled.

Attempts are made to globalize the terrible dysfunctions of unbridled capi-talism which has achieved unprecedented levels of social injustice. The North, which edified its wellbeing and comforts on the spoils of colonial rule, represents 20% of the world's population but consumes 86% of the world's production.

The most important trade in the economy of globalization is arms' trafficking, followed by drugs and then prostitution. The world's expenditure on drugs amounts to 400 billion dollars while prostitution draws 20 trillion dollars. The proceeds of sexual exploitation of children, in America alone, are estimated at two billion dollars a year, while the average spending on weapons amounts to 1000 billion dollars every year. Armament and related industries draw 90% of the world's brilliant minds.

The amounts spent on alcohol and pets in Europe and America average 2000 billion dollars a year while health, education and food in the South, with its 80% of the world's population, accounts for only 19 billion dollars a year.

This is the economy of capitalism which they call the end of history and that the West wishes to globalize and impose on the entire world.

One of the first repercussions of this appalling dysfunction, enabling 20% of the world's population to consume 86% of the earth's resources while the other 80% live off the remaining 14%, is the lack of buying power for the great majority of the world's population. This has made capitalists, whose sole concern is to augment their wealth, focus their attention on parasitic sectors instead of primary production and services fields. In addition to drug trafficking, money laundering and prostitution networks which have become major GDP sources for some countries and where the labor force sometimes exceeds that of major productive sectors, most capitalists have focused their attention on brokering and stock exchange speculations -100 trillion dollars- i.e., 97% of all liquid assets, while the share invested in global production and commerce does not exceed 3.5 trillion dollars.

From 1991 to 1998, the volume of international commodity trading increased from 25 to 38 trillion dollars, while the volume of financial trading -unproductive and even destructive speculations- increased over the same period from 15 to 180 trillion dollars.

The debt of Third World countries, i.e. 80% of the world's population, reached 1.950 billion dollars in 1995 on which interests alone equal four times the expenditure of the third world on education and health together. The magnitude of the tragedy is hard to understand unless we know that multinational and continental companies which globalize world economy borrow money from Wall Street at an interest rate of 6% then lend the same dollars to the South at an interest rate between 20 and 50%. This has come to mean that by borrowing from the North, the South was actually funding it, not the other way around, and that the South was developing the economy of the North. A short term loan to Egypt of four million dollars, for example, reached, once paid off, a global total with interest of 22 million dollars.(5)

That is the economic guillotine that they wish to globalize and that will extinguish any hope of an independent national economic development of the South.

Besides the economic dimension of globalization, there is also the political one which has marginalized the role of international organizations and laws for the benefit of American hegemony. The US National Security Council has almost replaced the UN Security Council, the causes of the Islamic world have been entrusted to an American Zionist lobby and the national sovereignty of governments is shrinking in the face of the American interference masked as humanitarian intervention. Our Islamic countries are being colonized under the pretext of 'preemptive' wars and many cards are brought to play in this regard, including the minority card. A Christian author professed his support for such actions arguing that it was perfectly legitimate to demand the internal and external application of international pressures on countries in order to protect the rights of their citizens and guarantee the respect of international conventions. No wonder this is happening since we are living in the age of un-sovereign states, one of the most salient features of this global phenomenon.(6)

He did not explain why globalization somehow undermines only the national sovereignty of our states and does not affect the sovereignty of hegemonic Western countries. Perhaps our sovereignty has to dwindle in order to feed theirs, making this globalization neither universal nor global.

Even the basic right to self determination guaranteed by international laws to free people from the yoke of colonialism is being denied to the peoples of the Islamic Ummah in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya… in the name of globalization. It is in fact perverted into a way of Balkanizing sovereign UN member states as was the case in East Timor which was separated from Indonesia, and as is the case now in Iraq and the Sudan.

Through such means, American policy becomes a universal and globalized policy and spouts theories and theoreticians.

This political globalization is backed up by a legislative globalization exercised by the American Congress whose bills are no longer confined within national boundaries as is the case with parliaments in the rest of the world. Congress has started producing legislation for the entire world and passing laws that define countries as evil or good, terrorist or peaceful, rogue or obedient. With the days of CIA secrets over and done with, Congress is openly adopting budgets dedicated to changing regimes or overthrowing rules in sovereign countries.

Military globalization is the means of imposing other forms of globalization on anyone who might be tempted to resist it. If the fact of American bombers attacking people in Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of self-defense is seen as an aberration, this aberration has been made legitimate by globalization in the NATO meeting held on the 50th anniversary of this Organization in April 1999AD.

The military arm of NATO, which was created in April 1949AD with the objective of defending the territories of its Member States, was globalized along with its war machine when the Organization's Charter was amended to make its mission the defense of the 'interests' and not only the 'territories' of Member States. Applications were soon found for this amendment, including the presence of American troops in Afghanistan and in many other parts of the Islamic world.

If military globalization serves to support economic, political and legislative globalization, the globalization of values and culture is a means of ensuring the melting of non-Western civilizations in the pot of the Western civilizational model. The occupation of minds has always been the best means of consecrating the occupation of lands and of usurping riches, with little need for military and army expenses.

If we consider the report of the Population Conference held in Cairo on 5-15 September 1994AD a sample of the conventions promoting Western values, globalizing and imposing them on the whole world in the name of the United Nations, we will find in this document much evidence of the moral invasion of the Islamic world and Southern civilizations taking place in the name of globalization.

The family institution is one among many Islamic and even universal values. It is based on the legal union of males and females and represents the nucleus of the nation. Yet, the population report seeks to change family structure to cover all forms of illegal unions, including gay marriages. The report clearly and persistently funding calls upon governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, institutions and research centers to give priority to biological research on changing family structures and strive to abolish all forms of discri-mination in marriage and other forms of union(7).

While chastity is one of Islam's values and even a universal one, the report has taken safe and responsible sexual intercourse to a level where it simply refers to it as one that does not lead to HIV infection, and not necessarily legal and legi-timate sexual pleasure. It presents sexual intercourse as a natural physical right to be enjoyed by all sexually active people, irrespective of their age and gender. The document states that sexual activity is the right of all couples and individuals -emphasis on individual- be it a male or female adult or adolescent, and that all countries should guarantee these rights by 2015 at the latest.(8)

The document promoted sexual freedom to the extent of incriminating early marriages and called for legalizing fornication instead (since the aim is to prevent early marriages, governments should increase the minimal age of marriage and most of all provide alternatives to early marriages)(9). The overriding concern is to satisfy the specific needs of adolescents as along as they deal with their sexual activity in a positive and responsible manner(10).

This is just one small aspect of the globalization of Western immoral, which are seen to pervert values of immorality and the perversion of man's natural disposition as created by Allah.

In addition to the globalization of economy, politics, legislation, defense and values, there is also religious globalization through the evangelization of Muslims in a plot to obliterate our Ummah and civilization and close the chapter of Islam forever.

Brandishing a slogan of 'A Christian Africa by 2000', the Catholic Church launched a campaign to Christianize Muslims instead of addressing its own internal issues such as the secularity that led to the spread of atheism. When Allah foiled its plans, the Church did not heed this sign and simply moved the deadline of its campaign to 2020AD.

The Church has no qualms about speaking of the Islamic challenge or the new Islamic conquest of Europe. Cardinal Paul Poupard, the Pope's assistant and head of the Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture, said in an interview to Le Figaro that Islam was a challenge to Europe and the West in general, and that this challenge lied in the fact that Islam is at the same time a religion, a culture, a social system, a way of living and thinking and a form of extremism, while Christians in Europe tend to marginalize the Church's status within society(11).

For Protestants, the protocols of Islamic Evangelization which were formulated at the Colorado Conference in 1978AD stated that Islam was the only religion of which the original sources contradicted the fundamentals of Christianity, that the Islamic system was the most socially and politically harmonious religious system and that hundreds of centers were needed to study and understand it with a view to properly infiltrating it(12).

With plans to infiltrate Islam and its culture by relying on local churches and migrant labor, Protestantism proclaims with no shame or moral qualms that causing catastrophes in the Islamic world is the only way to turn Muslims away from Islam and towards Christianity, considering these catastrophes as a miraculous means of evangelizing Muslims. For evangelization to happen, crises must be triggered to upset the life balance enjoyed by people. Extending aid to people in dire need has become an essential part of the evangelization process. Furthermore, the current and growing needs of many Muslim societies have helped change the attitude of their governments from opposing missionary action to becoming more amenable to these Christian endeavors(13).

Thus takes place the globalization and invasion of the world, and the Islamic world in particular, on all economic, political, moral, cultural and even religious levels, as well as military and legislative ones. Globalization is conflict, oppression, division and a so-called creative chaos within the context of Western and particularly American hegemony that seeks to shape the whole world on the lines of the Western civilizational model.

While Islamic universality stands for diversity, mutual acquaintance, coexis-tence and interaction against a backdrop of human unity and a shared human legacy, when we speak of Western globalization, its challenges and how to face these challenges, we need to keep in mind that:

- Large masses of Westerners share our concern about this unabated globali-zation, regardless of their reasons for opposing it.

- Western science and knowledge is a shared universal component and a legacy of wisdom produced by fair-minded scholars. All rational-thinking people should seek to acquire this knowledge and wisdom wherever they find it as they deserve to benefit from it.

- The project of Western hegemony which has considered Islam and Muslims as the enemy throughout history.

Once we draw these lines, we will find in the West allies in our fight against unbridled Western globalization.

We need to lay down bridges of solidarity and mutual assistance with the civilizations of the South that suffer, in one way or another, from the invasive Western globalization of their economies and cultures.

In his study on the clash of civilizations, Samuel Huntington urged American decision maker to keep all civilizations of the South on the back burner until America has vanquished the Islamic and Chinese Confucian civilizations and then integrate them. We need to abort such plot by reviving solidarity and mutual assistance between Islam and the Eastern and Southern civilizations, drawing on our heritage and experience acquired during the Ummah's battles for national liberation, the last of which was the creation of the non-aligned movement. We also need to put to contribution our experience in assisting liberation movements in those countries.

If modern technological developments have almost turned the world into a global village, we need to start by setting order in the Arab and Islamic household and transform it into an economic power where resources and capacities are inte-grated and complementary.

The Islamic world alone accounts for 35 million square kilometers of territory where one billion and half people live.

In addition to the spiritual, cultural and civilizational resources of the Islamic world- the unity of faith, Charia, nation, civilization and the house of Islam, this Ummah is also the world's leading producer of oil, gas, manganese, chromium, zinc, and bauxite. It is the second largest producer of copper and phosphates, the third producer of iron, the fifth in lead and the seventh in coal. The longest river in the world is located in the Islamic world, and on its shores the art of farming was taught for the first time ever. In one of its countries (the Sudan) there are enough arable and cheap lands to cover the needs of the Islamic Ummah in its entirety, and enough seas, oceans and rivers exist in the Islamic world which makes it the world's first source of fish.

The monetary surplus of many Islamic countries is deposited in the West only to return in the form of loans to other Islamic countries, mortgaging their inde-pendence and hampering their growth. Utilizing this surplus within an Islamic framework may break the shackles keeping this world as the hostage of unbridled Western globalization. Since most of the riches of the Islamic world are extracted from the bowels of the earth, a single form of zakat, namely the tax on mines and treasures set at fifth of the value of the extractions, is enough to set up a fund for the development of the entire Islamic world in a lawful manner. By applying the Prophet's hadith: “One fifth is the share of zakat paid on what is mined” (narrated by Al Bukhari, Muslim, Al Tirmidi, Malek, Abu Dawoud and Imam Ahmed), we would be able to avoid the modern usury which has exceeded in its despicability pre-Islamic practices, and free the Islamic world from the clutches of globalization-geared financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

It is possible for economic integration to open up the frontiers of the Islamic world to bilateral trade which currently accounts for no more than 8% of the volume of trade, while the remaining 92% is exchanged between each country of the Islamic world and the hubs of Western globalization.

Globalization technologies can and should globalize the Islamic world first, opening frontiers to integrated Islamic trade, industrial and agricultural comple-mentarity, and then, it will be possible to deal with the world as one economic block. That is the rationale of these times as applied by Europe as a unified continent and America as a continent while we should be the first to apply it because we are an Ummah and not a mere geographical expanse.

If our Islamic regional, Arab and African organizations are revived and boosted, they can represent a modern and contemporary form of unity and complementarity of the house of Islam, i.e. the new Islamic caliphate under whose shared interests and global concerns, the objectives of religion and life can be fulfilled for the benefit of this Ummah.

Material interests encourage nations, peoples and civilizations, and even continents, to seek complementarity, mutual assistance and unity. In addition to these worldly interests, the Ummah of Islam pursues the goals of religion and happiness in the hereafter through this solidarity, complementarity and unity.

Putting order in the Arab and Islamic mind has its part to play in the endeavor to put order in the Arab and Islamic house and prepare the ground for the conclusion of alliances and creation of organizations that represent the safety net of our Ummah and the means of eschewing this invasion.

Faced by this looming danger, we need to remember and apply the experience acquired by our Ummah throughout its long past.

This nation brought down to their knees mighty powers that ruled the world when Islam first saw light. The Islamic conquests freed the lands of the East and set the minds of its peoples free after ten centuries of repression and occupation.

In eighty years, the Muslim world conquered what took the Romans eight centuries to control. This Ummah vanquished the Crusading invasion in which all of Europe took part and which constituted history's First World War. It defeated the Tatars that no other power could ever vanquish. It defeated them through military force, then guided them with wisdom and gentle preaching until they embraced Islam and became the striking force of this religion. And in the soil of this Ummah were dug the graves of modern Western colonial empires.


* Member of the Council of Islamic Studies, Arab Republic of Egypt.

(1) Hashim Seleh: European Enlightenment as a Reaction to Sectarian Strife, Ash-Sharq Al Awsat Magazine, London, 2/26/2000Ad.

(2) Abderrahmane Al Jabarti: The demonstration of piety in the demise of French society (Muzhir al-Taqdis bi Dhahab Dawlat al-Faransis), pp. 310-311, authenticated by Hassan Mohamed Jawhar and Omar Dessouqi, Cairo edition, 1969AD.

(3) Dr. Mohamed Amara: Islam through Western Eyes: Between Allegations of the Ignorant and Fairness of Scholars, pp. 64-65, Dar Al Shorouq, Cairo, 2005AD.

(4) Islam through Western Eyes, page 368.

(5) Data and figures on the subject are available in the UN Human Development Report for 1998AD and the daily Al Ahram, Cairo, articles of Salah Hafez on 9/16/1998, Dr Mohamed Abdel Fadil on 6/15/1998, Mr Yassine on 1/21/1999 (The Gist of the 20th Century), and Dr Ahmed Shawqi, the Academic Library, Cairo, 1999AD.

(6) Magdi Khalil: Egypt and America (Egypt's Copts), Al Ahali newspaper, Cairo, 2/7/1997AD.

(7) Draft Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population & Development, Chapter XII, paragraph 24; Chapter V, paragraph 5; Chapter II, principle 7; Chapter VII, paragraphs 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18 and 21.

(8) Ibid, Chapter VII, paragraphs 2, 3, 4 and 5.

(9) Ibid, Chapter VI, paragraph 7; Chapter IV, paragraph 21.

(10) Ibid, Chapter VI, paragraphs 7 and 11; Chapter VII, paragraphs 2, 5, 9, 43, 44, 45 and 46.

(11) Asharq Alawsat Newspaper, London, October 1st, 1999.

(12) Christianization: a Plan to Conquer the Muslim World, p. 752, Arabic edition of the papers of Colorado Conference, Centre for Muslim World Studies, Malta, 1991.

(13) Ibid, pp. 242 and 826-827.