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Division Among Arabs And Quest By West To Convert Arabs To A Settled Lifestyle

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Coping with religious pluralism and human diversity is the bane of the new world order. In Tunisia, something unanticipated happened. Just like that, Tunisians woke up from sleep in February 2013 to witness the assassination of a well-known political opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, outside his home.

His death among other issues raised a red flag and shined light onto the post-revolution Arab world affecting all aspects of the Arab modernism.

Belaid’s death was also fingered not to be unconnected to the role he played in making sure that the undemocratic regime of Zine Abidine Ben Ali went down in January 2011. Some observers said that it was for Belaid’s contrary belief-system with reformists’ that led to his surprising murder.

Conflicts within
Ali had ruled Tunisia for nearly a quarter century. While that regime lasted, some of the religious leaders wanted a Tunisia where moderate Islam and religious pluralism would be practiced. This thinking to be inclusive, however, was to the chagrin of many.

There was a Tunisia where some Islamic groups used intimidation and violence to go after their Islamic aims and objectives. Others did not adopt aggression as a way to address their interests in the same Muslim country.

The worlds do certainly understand that some Islamic fundamentalists adopt a very narrow thinking dynamics in the context of Islamic cultural diversity. Arab societies clash within themselves in carving out decisions and roles women can play in politics and society.

Be it in educational policy or else, the status of non-Muslims and their roles is considerably appraised differently. There has always been turmoil in the Arab world when it comes to Islam’s place in politics, as indeed, the principles of Islamic religious faith always play a compelling role among the Arabs.

For example, the Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood has been always accused by other Muslims as being too far in committing to the ancient sharia-law. The National Interest of February 20 2013 gave an article captioned "Tunisia and the Clash within Civilizations", in which Rajan Menon wrote that "The killing of an opposition leader highlights thunderous struggles within the Arab world. Thus the struggle over religion’s place in politics has divided, rather than united, Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East.”

Menon argues that the division tends to be portrayed as a quarrel between “secularists” and “Islamists.” Menon further adds that “This is a mistake, for the former camp includes observant Muslims who, nonetheless, want to keep their faith and politics apart”.

In like manner, Christians and Islamic sects, such as the Sufis, take their religion seriously but do not want it to define their political life, or for it to be defined by zealots claiming to be “true” Muslims.

Power and interest cause conflicts
What that meant was that power and interest continue to play an innermost function in the affairs of mankind, no matter the society involved. Empires, monarchical governments and peoples identifying themselves with nationalism and fascism were seen as fad in the 18th and 19 centuries in Europe and America respectively. However, later in France and expanded in the 20th century, the Russian Revolution was part of that ideology that has crossed the bridge of complex religiosity and governance.

The root cause of religious intolerance seemed to be driven with fundamentalist cultures and traditions to the centre, where sordid roles were played out.

The activities of the 21st century, one must note, are gulped in cultural divergences. Today, the world is not only experiencing a Clash Of Civilisations (COC), but also a systemic Clash Within Civilisations.

Take for instance, the Islamic communities exist in the European and Western communities yet the communities have not lived in a synchronized accepted ethical value with others. The argument is centred on the clash within civilizations – with the Christian west claiming superiority over the Muslim Arab world.

Clash within a civilization
Menon as we saw earlier observed that in Syria the clash within a civilization has assumed a deadly form. The civil war pits an Alawite-dominated state against insurgents, whose most pious members see Alawites not as fellow Muslims, but as apostates.

Basically, Bashar’s regime has been able to survive not only because it has more and better weapons than its foes but also because other Muslims (Sunnis urban professional, Kurds, and Druze) and Syria’s various Christian denominations have either stayed neutral or backed the government despite their misgivings for fear that its fall will lead to the rise of a doctrinaire Sunni regime. The armed opposition is, in the main, are the Sunnis who have roots in the rural areas. Many groups within it are animated by the goal of establishing an Islamic state given their fundamentalist approach to governance.

Political interest
Apparently, in the absence of peace, the communities intertwine with each other when interest is the middle focus in the area of politics. Still within each of the worlds, coherence is not full stop among the people. There are cases of fundamentalism with diverse groups on crusades for their particular world mission to accept an ideology, or eschew it.

Against that backdrop, the West is doing everything humanly and spiritually possible to convert the Arabs to a settled lifestyle though the Arabs had their aboriginality in nomadic tenets. America stood as a target in the fight for human rights and spreading of democracy. In consequence, the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre in the USA and the recurring Islamic terrorist attacks have become a global terror network and threat to safety and peace.

The very terrorist attack on USA signaled the beginning of what may be called ‘Hot War’ between the two camps. A quest to control not only the value-systems of the Arabs but also their foreign policies has compelled the West to wage a dangerous war against Iraq in 2003, which ended in 2011.

Misinformation within civilisations
The West misinformed the world into believing that Saddam Hussein, who was then the President of Iraq, was in possession of nuclear weapons, capable of consuming the world. There were also such wars in Afghanistan, Algeria, Chechnya, Bosnia, and a host of other Arab countries.

There was the Western sponsored revolution in Libya christened the “Arab Spring”. It saw to the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi (a maximum ruler of Libya for over four decades) and subsequently his death.

Western and European countries, namely the United Kingdom and the United States of America, have implanted in their citizens a consciousness that always make them see any Arab as an outlaw, a risk element.

The making of the Hot War
Students of political history knew that political scientist Samuel P. Huntington in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, saw war brewing in the post-Cold War world, but did not find the right title for it, except what he described as "The Clash of Civilizations (COC)".

On the other hand, the Arabs as have been shown through highlighting of their ideology woven in Islamic creeds want to overcome and take over the West. The world has seen that after the death of Islamic faith founder, Mohammed in 632 A. D., the Islamic Jihadists had by 732 A. D., taken over Arabia, Syria, the Holy Land, North Africa, Spain, and the middle of France.

In the lecture mentioned earlier, Huntington forewarned the world that the belief-systems, cultural and traditional appellations of different races would be the elementary source of conflicts in the post-Cold War.

Clash of powers
While the world leaders continue to justify the carnage of the West in Iraq and other Arab worlds, the Arabs continue to send disbelieve of the war through gunshots and missiles the world is seeing and hearing today.

The Arabs continue to flaw the invasion of Iraq, saying that it infringed on their fundamental human rights to live, as a people and race. In juxtaposing that view point, it appears common sense reason would agree that from when Huntington formulated his “COC” theory and subsequently publishing a book on it in 1996, the West invariably was selling a wholesale mischief for a decade against the Arabs for the inglorious job it did in Iraq in 2003.

It is evident that the search for imperial ambitions by the West led to the Arab Spring Phenomenon or Uprising, being the clash of powers with al Qaeda terror group. The worst thing that is occurring is the subjugation of the so-called Third World not to veto opinions of the Big-5 countries at the United Nations (UN), namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. And these countries when invariably sidelined at the UN have grudges against the Big-5.

Conceptions and misconceptions
The “Hot War” can be seen as the propagation of the European and Western hegemony. It is so given their rapacious movements to enthrall the rest of the world. Such propagation of power and dominance of the Arab circle may be described and called neo-colonialism.

The “Hot War” notion is being brewed by the self-seeking interest of the West against the underpinned Arab worlds, including African and Asian regions. The irony is that the modern day egoistical interest groups have made the West and Arabs to forget that they share in the same conservative faith of Abrahamic civilisation. The modernisation is what has kept the two sides to always lock their horns in many unending conflicts.

The relationship between civilisation and violence is causing the world physical and mental injuries as well as social discrimination. All of this is occasioned by the incessant quest for economic, ideological and political power.

It is, however, sad to understand how the West has shown its oversight and then goes on to display civilisation as a pattern of supremacy of technological and political power blocks for order and disorder as the case may be.

It has become imperative that the world policy makers must have a rethink in dishing out imagined falsehood, while in the pursuit of gluttonous policies on the scale of political reasons. The truth is that many policies in the world today have culminated into a directionless “Hot War”, unlike in the days when the Cold War was simply between Capitalism and Communism.

It is fearsome that the “Hot War” is not limited to religious differences between the Arab world and the western hemisphere. It is also powerfully evident in men and women, family and children around gender rights and power struggles for control.

There should be a clear cut meaning and application of control and choices in the definition between violence and civilisation in the 21st century.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant and winner, in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere