Meeting the Challenge of Coexistence

With Alastair Crooke, Panel on Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict, Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, September 20, 2006

MARY ROBINSON: When you say you think we have Islamism totally wrong can you briefly say why?

ALASTAIR CROOKE: Yes. We perceive the West as engaged in a struggle against what we see as a continuum of Islamist extremists. And we see this is the struggle that we are facing.

In fact, there’s just as much of a struggle within Islamism, and more than that, when you listen to Islamist groups you hear them speaking both from what I call the revolutionary wing and the revivalist wing.

They use language which is quite interesting, and people say, well how do we do politics with these people because they don’t seem to have a political agenda?

But quite often the words that they’re using are words like respect, dignity, and justice. And maybe these are words that are familiar here, particularly in the United States, and I think they were the sort of language that came out of the civil rights movement here. And I think what you are seeing, partly in the Muslim world, and what Islamism is about is, it is the politicization of a deep discontent with the world order. It’s not simply about religion. It’s about a deep discontent at the world order and a desire to confront not the West, but Western hegemony. There is a distinction between being anti-West and being against Western hegemony.

Read the complete 38-page transcript (PDF) of this panel discussion between Alastair Crooke, Mark Drewell of Barloworld International, and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, former president of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, moderated by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland. And to learn more about the Clinton Global Initiative, go to the CGI web site.


  1. Don Fontaine wrote:

    Regarding: “I think what you are seeing, partly in the Muslim world, and what Islamism is about is, it is the politicization of a deep discontent with the world order. It’s not simply about religion.”

    The Jewish and Christian prophets spoke of a deep discontent with a world order that was evil (empire). Did not the prophet of Islam so speak (I really do not know)?

  2. charlie victor wrote:

    If we look further than the details of the Palestine and other conflicts we come across certain fundamentals which require determination:-
    Does International Law apply? Who decides the rules? Who can impartially enforce them?
    Is Resistance to military occupation and control justified? Whose, and what rules apply?
    (c.f German occupation in WWII)
    Is Right of Conquest valid? What rules apply?
    (c.f Israel/Palestine, Saddam Hussein/Kuwait, Russia, China, US, Iraq, Afghanistan)

  3. Alabama John wrote:

    Religion — Only hope for the promised land

    In the grand scheme of things, first came the Jews to establish that, even in a government controlled by God, force will never overcome evil.

    Then came Christians to establish that, even with a fellowship ruled by a martyr named God, faith without works will only succumb to evil.

    Then came the Moslems to establish that, even with the Old and New Testaments excepted as the very word of God, even faith with works cannot overcome evil. For surely God warned Adam that if man should ever desire to combine good with evil, use a pretense of good to hide evil, that the only purpose of planet earth would be to prove the harm in it.

    And so, to those who still think force will overcome evil, what this pacifist would suggest is that you support the better of two evils.

    For unless we like the direction Christian Jews have us going, a genocide of all Moslems, we need to put a cap on the use of deadly force in the holy land. For either Israel should give half of their war materials to Gaza, or give all their killing machine back to USA — save cheep small rockets.

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