A friend emailed me about this article a few days ago. It is a worthwhile reading. Here is an abstract from the Foreign Policy web site
A World Without Islam
Imagine, if you will, a world without Islam—admittedly an almost inconceivable state of affairs given its charged centrality in our daily news headlines. Islam seems to lie behind a broad range of international disorders: suicide attacks, car bombings, military occupations, resistance struggles, riots, fatwas, jihads, guerrilla warfare, threatening videos, and 9/11 itself. Why are these things taking place? “Islam” seems to offer an instant and uncomplicated analytical touchstone, enabling us to make sense of today’s convulsive world. Indeed, for some neoconservatives, “Islamofascism” is now our sworn foe in a looming “World War III.”
But indulge me for a moment. What if there were no such thing as Islam? What if there had never been a Prophet Mohammed, no saga of the spread of Islam across vast parts of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa?
Given our intense current focus on terrorism, war, and rampant antiAmericanism—some of the most emotional international issues of the day—it’s vital to understand the true sources of these crises. Is Islam, in fact, the source of the problem, or does it tend to lie with other less obvious and deeper factors? For the sake of argument, in an act of historical imagination, picture a Middle East in which Islam had never appeared. Would we then be spared many of the current challenges before us? Would the Middle East be more peaceful? How different might the character of EastWest relations be? Without Islam, surely the international order would present a very different picture than it does today. Or would it?
IF NOT ISLAM, THEN WHAT?
From the earliest days of a broader Middle East, Islam has seemingly shaped the cultural norms and....
Some of the wars that seemed well justified to many include the American Civil War, World Wars I & II, and even the current Afghanistan War. But examples for the less-well-justified wars are more abundant: the Crusades, the Ottoman conquests in Europe, American recruitment and support of Mujahedeen to fight godless Soviets in Afghanistan (1979-89), Western- and Arab-supported Iraq War against Iran (1980-88) , North-South war in Sudan (1983-2005), and finally the Iraq war with Neoconservatives getting Fundamentalist Christians to back it as part of the ultimate struggle between Evil Islam and Good Christianity, etc. The economic and ethnic components may differ in magnitude from one war to the other, but in all these cases, religious aspects were inflated by all sides to gain moral and material support, and to keep the war going on.
Anyway, I liked the article because it resonated with my thoughts. See what you think.