Modern World History
Final Research Paper
Topic B; Analyze how both foreign conflicts, both home and abroad, has impacted Islam.
From the Crusades through present day, people and governments have come into contact with the faith of Islamic culture. It may seem foreign to some, but that’s because many of us individuals are used to being set in our own ways and we forget that there are other cultures out there in the world that could easily feel the same about Christianity. Foreign policies and conflicts have kind of evolved since the Crusade era but there are still some pressing issues that have been lurking around for many years. Since September ninth, 2011 (9/11) Americans have really put a stereotype on the Islamic culture but people need to realize that Islam is not a culture of war and terror unless provoked, which is very similar to the United States in my opinion.
The Quran mentions “Jihad” 41 times; however, mercy, peace, and love are mentioned about 355 times and Westerners still argue that Islam is a religion full of terror. You may be asking yourself if Islam is so peaceful, why are most wars in Muslim countries where terrorism is spreading? That all depends on your definition of the word terrorism; some people consider America’s presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as an act of terrorism. About 3,000 Americans were killed due to the attack that occurred on 9/11, but about 15,000 Afghanistan’s have been killed from bombings in their country because of the Taliban, which was created by the CIA in order to fight Russia.
From my understanding, the word “Islam” connotes “more than fourteen centuries of history, a billion and a third people, and a religious and cultural tradition of enormous diversity.” During the Middle Ages, Islam was the world leader in civilization and in military power. Its great kingdoms, made wealthy by commerce and industry, supported richly creative science and literature. Jews, persecuted in Christian Europe, found refuge in the more tolerant Islamic countries. From the seventeenth century onward, however, Islam lost its dominance and world leadership, first falling behind the modern West and then the rapidly modernizing Orient (Lewis).
Muslim rulers and intellectuals had difficulty accepting this loss of stature. According to the Islamic view of God’s plan for the world, Islam should have retained its dominance. Islamic thought did not include the concept of a secular realm, coextensive with a religious realm. In early Christian history, God and Caesar were opposed; within Islam, from Muhammad’s day forward, religious truth and political power were closely linked. Therefore, the loss of political position in the world seemed an affront to religious belief. Feelings of humiliation at this trend were intensified when attempts to remedy the situation by drawing on Western practices proved unsuccessful. Endeavors to implement capitalist or socialist economic and political practices failed to encourage industrialization. The Muslim world remained mired in poverty (Lewis).
Lewis notes that the word “jihad” comes from an Arabic root whose basic meaning is striving, and it is often used in the closely related sense of struggle or fight. In the Koran, “jihad” is sometimes used to mean moral striving; at other times it means armed struggle. Lewis finds emphasis on moral striving common in the early sections of the Koran, written while Muhammad was the leader of a minority group of believers; after he became ruler of Medina and commanded an army, the sense of armed struggle dominated. Most early commentators, Lewis insists, discussed jihad in military terms, as a religious obligation to oppose infidels and apostates. Lewis has been criticized for his view of jihad by commentators who prefer to stress the ethical and peaceful core of Islamic belief. Lewis rejects their criticism and flatly states that “for most of the fourteen centuries of recorded