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Theology and the Clash of Civilizations

Jack Miles

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Jack Miles writes that peace will come not when any one terrorist and his network have been "surgically" excised but when an authentic alternative vision has emerged within the House of Islam.

Because of the secularization of the state in the West and the concomitant privatization of religion, Western governments, when dealing with one another, do not expect to be required to deal with one another's religious beliefs or religious leaders. But in the House of Islam, religious leaders typically have a far greater claim on the public than do civilian leaders, and it is a fatal mistake to leave the Muslim public -- the umma -- out of the equation. At the end of World War I... Britain and France vastly... underestimated the importance of Muslim religion as an organizing principle....  In effect, the British and the French were psychologically incapable of dealing with the Middle East other than through leaders manufactured to resemble their nominally religious but passionately nationalist selves. They were at a loss when confronted with a culture whose real leaders were passionately religious and only nominally nationalist.

For the complete article go to the Cross Currents website.



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