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1 Can We Avoid a Clash of Civilizations?

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Chapter Summary

Islamic fundamentalists, unsurprisingly, can be found across the religious spectrum in every country where Muslims congregate, although many Western observers attribute its centre of gravity to Wahhabism, the rigid Islamic brand of Sunni Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia. Christian fundamentalism also spreads its wings. It ought to be easier to decide who and what is right in Islamic fundamentalism than Christian. By the seventh century the Christian faith was very much bound up with East Roman order, which the Muslims sought to overthrow even as they absorbed its system of governance, of taxation, bureaucracy and written records. Historically, there has never been a sustained, continuous, clash between these great civilizations, Islam and Christianity. Undoubtedly there have been particular clashes and until the fall of the Ottoman Empire as a consequence of the First World War, the Muslim world won most of them.

Keywords: Christian civilization; East Roman order; First World War; Islam civilization; Ottoman Empire; Saudi Arabia



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