From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
9/11 was not a clash of civilizations

September 11, 2006 11:06 PM

Juan Cole destroys 6 myths about 9/11 in Foreign Policy magazine.

#3. "9/11 Was a Clash of Civilizations"

False. The notion that Muslims hate the West for its way of life is simply wrong, and 9/11 hasn't changed that. The exhaustive World Values Survey found that more than 90 percent of respondents in much of the Muslim world endorsed democracy as the best form of government. Polling by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found that about half of respondents in countries such as Turkey and Morocco believe that if a Muslim immigrated to the United States, his or her life would be better. The one area where Muslim publics admit to a value difference with the United States and Europe is standards of sexual conduct and, in particular, acceptance of homosexuality. In other words, Muslims reject what might be called Hollywood morality, just as do American conservatives and evangelicals. Those differences alone do not drive people to violence.

If it is not a clash of civilizations, what is it? It is a clash over policy. Bin Laden has expressed outrage at the "occupation of the three holy cities"-Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem-by the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia (now ended) and the Israeli possession of Jerusalem. Before the Iraq war, polling consistently showed that Muslims were most concerned about the United States' wholehearted support of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians. The bloody U.S. occupation of Iraq has now created another point of tension: The Muslim world does not believe that Iraq will be better off because of the U.S. intervention. Autonomy and national independence appear to be part of what Muslims mean by "democracy," and they consider Western interventions in Muslim affairs a betrayal of democratic ideals. September 11 and the American response to it have deepened the rift over policy, but they haven't created a clash of civilizations.

More from the archive in Terrorism.

9/11 was not a clash of civilizations (09.11.2006)

Next Entry: The President addresses the nation (09.12.2006)
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Read the 1 comments.

Victor Pineda:

I really like what you are posting. I also enjoy all the links. Congratulations on IRAQ For Sale: I'll be seeing it in Beverly Hills tomorrow. The film starts at 7.20pm not 7.30pm.

Victor Pineda

Tue Sep 12 2006 1:38 AM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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