Western, Islamic Conflict Not Ideological

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By Chrispin Inambao

CAIRO

An expert on the conflict between America and its allies against many Islamic states says the cause of this clash of civilizations has more to do with the failure by both parties to conduct dialogue and not their ideological differences.

Ambassador Mahmoud Fargal made these remarks recently when he delivered an insightful lecture to a group of 16 African journalists who were in Cairo, Egypt, on a three-week study tour under the aegis of the Union of African Journalists (UAJ).

“They say the clash is not between ideologies but it is between civilizations. One influential American writer said Muslims live in the past and they are very envious of American civilization,” noted the Ambassador who is also a respected academic.

“Both parties are not able to conduct dialogue. There is no tension between Judaism, Muslims and Christians,” he said during his lecture titled, ‘Dialogue between Civilisations’.

To underline his message on the lack of meaningful dialogue between the two warring entities the Egyptian academic said even the current Pope has urged the two to talk.

And that America during the Cold War made a strategic alliance with Osama Bin Laden and his forces that at the time fought the USA’s rival the Soviet Union, with America supplying the Mojahedeen with Stinger missiles that played a key role to defeat Russians and to drive them away from Afghanistan, was another factor.

He said this previous strategic alliance between the West and Islamic countries had more do with both sharing common religious values unlike the then atheist USSR.

While the clash between the West and the then USSR was “irresolvable” and “one had to collapse,” because of ideological differences, the one currently existing between the West and Islamic states “is a matter of misunderstanding”, said Ambassador Fargal.

Muslims are unhappy about the double standards of America which on the other hand with its allies feels Israel is a victim of terrorism being perpetuated by Muslims.

The USA feels it needs to use violence especially after the 9/11 attacks to “crush” terrorism in Muslim countries such as Iraqi and Pakistan, he said.

There was also a plan by the West to “democratize” Muslim states but this had to be scrapped after Hamas and other parties seen as the enemy of Israel won these elections.

One of the reasons why there has been failure is that Muslim fundamentalists are more organized compared to Muslims who are moderate and have largely been “silent” in condemning these radicals, while Washington’s double standards and its resultant lack of credibility and its bias in favour of Israel has not helped matters, he said.

In a nutshell, he said: “You spoil relations between religions politically” in reference to American President George W. Bush who claims he receives messages from God to defend the Zionist state.

On Israel the Ambassador says it feels “insecure” because it has numerous boundaries with its Islamic neighbours.

Professor Ibrahim Saleh in one of the lectures in his book titled “Prior to the Eruption of the Grapes of Wrath in the Middle East,” says the Arab/Israeli conflict is “deeply rooted”.

Washington’s two-faced politics heavily favouring Israel on this crisis has not helped matters and this could be partly to the fact that nearly half of the American people believe in the prophesy of the battle of Armageddon and in their belief the “establishment of the State of Israel is a historical milestone necessary for the return of Christ,” he wrote.

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