Excerpt from Term Paper: Islam and the Clash of Civilizations World civilization has known in the last decades some of the most important political, economic, and in particular cultural developments of the 20th century. The era after the end of the Cold War determined a series of events that triggered numerous conflicts around the world, from the war in Kuwait in the early s, to the genocide in Rwanda, human rights abuses and apartheid in South Africa, to the escalation of the terrorist phenomenon to dimensions never attained before.
Toggle display of website navigation Feature: The cultural fault line that divides the West and the Muslim world is not about democracy but sex.
November 4,9: Christopher Shays of Connecticut, after sitting through hours of testimony on U. This claim seems all too plausible given the failure of electoral democracy to take root throughout the Middle East and North Africa. According to the latest Freedom House rankings, almost two thirds of the countries around the world are now electoral democracies.
But among the 47 countries with a Muslim majority, only one fourth are electoral democracies — and none of the core Arabic-speaking societies falls into this category. Yet this circumstantial evidence does little to prove Huntington correct, since it reveals nothing about the underlying beliefs of Muslim publics.
Indeed, there has been scant empirical evidence whether Western and Muslim societies exhibit deeply divergent values — that is, until now. The cumulative results of the two most recent waves of the World Values Survey WVSconducted in andprovide an extensive body of relevant evidence.
Culture does matter — indeed, it matters a lot. Historical religious traditions have left an enduring imprint on contemporary values. However, Huntington is mistaken in assuming that the core clash between the West and Islam is over political values. At this point in history, societies throughout the world Muslim and Judeo-Christian alike see democracy as the best form of government.
In other words, the values separating the two cultures have much more to do with eros than demos. As younger generations in the West have gradually become more liberal on these issues, Muslim nations have remained the most traditional societies in the world.
This gap in values mirrors the widening economic divide between the West and the Muslim world. Thus, the people of the Muslim world overwhelmingly want democracy, but democracy may not be sustainable in their societies.
But in the last decade, democracy became virtually the only political model with global appeal, no matter what the culture. With the exception of Pakistan, most of the Muslim countries surveyed think highly of democracy: In Albania, Egypt, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Morocco, and Turkey, 92 to 99 percent of the public endorsed democratic institutions — a higher proportion than in the United States 89 percent.
Yet, as heartening as these results may be, paying lip service to democracy does not necessarily prove that people genuinely support basic democratic norms — or that their leaders will allow them to have democratic institutions.
Although constitutions of authoritarian states such as China profess to embrace democratic ideals such as freedom of religion, the rulers deny it in practice. But this sentiment needs to be complemented by deeper underlying attitudes such as interpersonal trust and tolerance of unpopular groups — and these values must ultimately be accepted by those who control the army and secret police.
The WVS reveals that, even after taking into account differences in economic and political development, support for democratic institutions is just as strong among those living in Muslim societies as in Western or other societies [see chart].
Yet this preference for religious authorities is less a cultural division between the West and Islam than it is a gap between the West and many other less secular societies around the globe, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Even in the United States, about two fifths of the public believes that atheists are unfit for public office.
However, when it comes to attitudes toward gender equality and sexual liberalization, the cultural gap between Islam and the West widens into a chasm. On the matter of equal rights and opportunities for women — measured by such questions as whether men make better political leaders than women or whether university education is more important for boys than for girls — Western and Muslim countries score 82 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
Muslim societies are also distinctively less permissive toward homosexuality, abortion, and divorce. In practice, Chinese women occupy few positions of real power and face widespread discrimination in the workplace.
India is a borderline case. The country is a long-standing parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary and civilian control of the armed forces, yet it is also marred by a weak rule of law, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial killings. The status of Indian women reflects this duality.
Yet domestic violence and forced prostitution remain prevalent throughout the country, and, according to the WVS, almost 50 percent of the Indian populace believes only men should run the government. The way a society views homosexuality constitutes another good litmus test of its commitment to equality.
Tolerance of well-liked groups is never a problem. But if someone wants to gauge how tolerant a nation really is, find out which group is the most disliked, and then ask whether members of that group should be allowed to hold public meetings, teach in schools, and work in government.
Today, relatively few people express overt hostility toward other classes, races, or religions, but rejection of homosexuals is widespread. Among authoritarian and quasi-democratic states, rejection of homosexuality is deeply entrenched: By contrast, these figures are much lower among respondents in stable democracies:Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris, The True Clash of Civilizations, Foreign Policy March/April “ The cultural fault line that divides the West and the Muslim world is not about democracy but sex%(6).
The True Clash Of Civilization By Ronald Inglehart And Pippa Norris. An Essay on Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order: What He Got Right, What He Got Wrong Introduction Samuel Phillips Huntington was an American political scientist at the University of Harvard, who published an article in the Foreign Affairs journal, entitled “Clash of Civilizations.
"Civilization" can also refer to the culture of a complex society, not just the society itself. Every society, civilization or not, has a specific set of ideas and customs, and a certain set of manufactures and arts that make it unique.
By Ronald Inglehart, Pippa Norris | November 4, , PM Democracy promotion in Islamic countries is now one of the Bush administration’s most popular talking points.
Various aspects of the relationship between religion and science have been cited by modern historians of science and religion, philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others from various geographical regions and cultures. Even though the ancient and medieval worlds did not have conceptions resembling the modern understandings of "science" and "religion", certain elements of .
Ronald Inglehart is program director at the Center for Polit-ical Studies at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and directs the World Values Survey.
Pippa Norris is the McGuire lecturer in comparative politics at Har-vard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.