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The Clash of Civilizations vs. Universal Compassion


AbuBakr Karolia

South Africa, January 13, 2002

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‘We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to humanity, giving them glad tidings and warning them, but most Men understand not.’ Qur`an, S34: 28

Gods message and revelation through the Prophet of Islam was not meant for one family or one tribe, or one race or set of people. It was meant for all mankind and through decisive, sincere news for its salvation and guidance.  The question for mankind is whether this message has been understood. When we analyse the landscape of history we see that it is tattered in an egotistical humdrum of politics and greed.



In the contemporary history of mankind the book of Samuel Huntington, ‘Clash of civilisation and the remaking of world order’ (1996) alludes to and in a linear fashion develops an argument and examination of civilizations in conflict. This book has generated more discussion on whether conflicts between civilisations would dominate the future. In the contemporary world, cultural and religious identities are central for the development of mankind. Yet the resemblance of those that are trying to shape the new ‘world order’ are antagonistic towards peace. 

The Nobel Qur`an guidance and message is beautifully reflected in the statement that ‘Nations and tribes are there not to despised each other but to know each other. This precise principle of understanding and love is meant for all of mankind to follow. Mankind’s safeguard against war is not in the making of a ‘world order’ that does not allow dissenting voices, or the concerns and creative projects that deal with the alleviation of poverty, disease and ignorance in the world. In this world order ‘peace’ is illusive because it advertises control of power and world resources through economic and material prowess, consumerism, wealth accumulation and includes religious intolerance and ignorance.



There are many examples to support this argument, e.g. The end of the Cold war between the US and the Soviet Union in the 1980’s, gave the Western ‘developed’ countries opportunity to assist projects and programs amongst undeveloped countries, which would have truly shaped the world for a brighter 21st Century. Instead of adopting a character of compassion and change, these developed, powerful countries solidified the base of economic oppression through the idea of ‘globalisation’. 

One example of the ‘Davos’ platform where over a thousand businessman, intellectuals, bankers, government officials and journalists meet annually are the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Government, corporations and academic institutions with extensive international involvements employ all of these people who hold university degrees in the physical sciences, social sciences, business, and law. These people control world institutions as the United Nations, World Trade Organisation, The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, many world governments and the bulk of the world’s economic and military capabilities. They share beliefs about so-called liberal democracies and free market economies, which are common amongst people in Western civilization. This Forum has seen violent protest against it recently due to its hidden agenda that is solely in the interest and benefit of the developed and wealthy countries of the world. The Word Social forum as been formed by community activist, socialist, anarchist etc, as an alternative to the World Economic Forum. 



A further glaring example was when Iraq attacked Iran in 1981 with the support of the West and affiliated countries as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In this war it cost the two countries the lives of over a million people. Their economies came under severe pressure and the development of their infrastructures slowed down. This war was the direct result of Iraq later attacking Kuwait. The US and Britain took the opportunity to boost their economies by being the mercenary in the defence of Kuwait. A further million lives was lost. The US and Britain unilaterally then imposed sanctions on Iraq which has brought suffering to Iraq’s citizens and the innocent victims of the war more then to Saddam Hussain and his government who the superpowers assent the sanctions are intended. Half a million children have died in Iraq and the people has suffered horrendous misery since the imposition of these oppressive sanctions. 

Another example is Britain’s condoning the occupation of Palestine in 1948 and the continued support of the illegitimate state of Israel by the backing of the American government. The US has supported the oppressive of Israel with funding of $5.8 billion annually. Further, the supplying of F16, F22 military aircraft, Apace helicopters and other arms to suppress the Palestinians.  The Palestinians refugees have no right of return. The Israeli war machine and ruthless politics are squeezing the death out of the Palestinian people. The people of Jenin are the latest victims of violence and war perpetrated by Ariel Sharon, war machine and his supporters. 

Then there is Nicaragua in the 1980s was subjected to violent assault by the US. Tens of thousand people died. The international terror attack was accompanied by a devastating economic war, which a small country could scarcely sustain. Nicaragua went to the World Court, which ruled in their favour. Ordering the US to pay substantial reparation. The US dismissed the judgement with contempt, responding with the escalation of the attack. Nicaragua went to the Security Council, which called on states to observe international law. The US alone vetoed it. Who is going to block any resolution brought against the US and its remaking of the world order?



The World Conference against Racism held in South Africa in August 2001 saw the walk out of US and Israel delegates in their contempt for delegates discussing the reparation for slavery in Africa and the brutality of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people. We similarly saw the absence of the US and Israel during the celebration of the 2nd Geneva Convention where 114 countries met to condemn the violence of the Zionist against Palestinians. It was left strategically to the European Union to arbitrarily trash out a conclusion, which would be accepted to the US. The motives behind staged walkouts and absence of key delegates is due to the fact that the final communiqué is binding on all delegates. In these international forums there is no veto power by delegates if things go wrong.  



The September 11th terror attack on World Trade Centre and the Pentagon left a few thousand dead and in the aftermath, that followed, the US and Britain hatched their agenda of the World alliance against terrorism. The infamous remarks of George Bush echoed through the Media, “If you are not with us then you are with the terrorist.” This simplistic statement gave license to all affiliated ideas to the ‘remaking of the World order. Israel and India took full opportunity to attack its occupied territories and nobody ask the difference between terrorism and the struggle for freedom by the oppressed. 

The US and Britain’s attack on Afghanistan developed and materialised the plans drawn since 1995 for a construction of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Since December 2001 we have seen an interim government headed by Hamid Kerzai in Afghanistan. Since the defeat of the Taliban by the US in corporation with Northern Military Alliance (NMA), Afghanistan has been formulated as a typical nation state bidding the will of Western civilisation and the ‘remaking of the world order’. The Afghani people have been defeated for the first time in its history by an outside force in corporation with the NMA.



My concern arises about the emotion and anger of Muslims, who are unable to challenge the so-called liberal democrats and their structures because of apathy, hate and differences amongst Muslims. Strategies of dealing with western media are mostly bankrupt and inefficient. During the early days of Pagad the message of Islam became tainted with violence and ignorance. The strategies by many sincere activists to use violence and many times engaging phantom enemies ultimately led to those positions to be compromised. For example if a bomb when of in the Waterfront area, Muslims would be blamed. Any local or International agency could have been responsible, but the accusing finger would point towards the Muslims. 

The Zionist have a sophisticated media strategy and we need to engaged them on a one to one basis. Quality information and vibrant debate to develop worldwide support for the Palestinian struggle. Muslims do want to develop forums for discussions and change and I believe this unfortunately will need to more ignorance and violence. 



The agenda agreed by developed, wealthier countries is to establish a civilisation based on liberal democracies. Francis Fukuyama in his book ‘The End of History’ said that there would be no new civilization in the future as liberal democracies have won the war of civilization. The question of achievement, if the history of the 20th century is to go by and especially the examples of the violence and death of more then a 180 million people then it must be rephrased by what western civilisation has not achieved. 

The treatment of Al Qaeda captives, shackled, chained, knaps sacked and blindfolded is against Geneva Convention rules for war prisoners. The US rules the world and its history is written in the blood of the Red Indians, the real Americans who were destroyed and humiliated in their own country. The US is the only country in the world that used nuclear atomic weapons against humanity during world war two in 1945 by bombing Japan. Francis Fukuyama’s book ‘The End of History’ is an arrogant misrepresentation of human aspiration and should be challenged. Mankind’s hope for an egalitarian society is within its grasp provided the prescription is correct. This prescription is addressed in the last section and it is imperative that this medicine is taken or someone may add a chapter to the ‘the end of history’ as the end of the world’. 



Mankind are dealing with issues as culture, identity, ethnicity that should be understood through human aspiration, beauty and the preservation of the world. This statement must be transformative and transcend barriers of racism, ignorance and hate speech. Language must communicate compassion and mercy. Mankind communicative skills and language must pursue the path of tolerance and love. 

When we look at the legacy of Africa we see a historical landscape of profound educational institutions as Al-Azhar in Egypt founded by the Shiite Fatimads. Timbuktu in Mali reminds history of the Taureg, a dessert race and a beautiful civilisation that was an example for mankind with large libraries and centres of learning, a proud heritage for all civilisations. 

The Moroccans, a vibrant culture and the Berbers were called to protect Muslims and Jewish settlements in Spain from 8th Century A.D. and remain as and advance civilisation until the 15th Century A.D. The legacy and vibrancy of that History lead us to the beginning of the European renaissance and the enlightened age. 

The trade links of the Arab Muslims established communities and linkages well before Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gamma found the trade link to India. Mozambique was named after a Muslim mariner, Mosa bin Bique. 

This vibrancy of the Muslim businessman who had a marked impact in North Africa, Indonesia and other places as China needs to be re-established in the modern epoch. This impact gave root to chivalrous and noble examples of beautiful human beings. The Ulema were knowledgeable through, compassion, sincerity and humility. The justice of the leadership was compassionate and just. Assimilation with local and national culture was the example and behaviour of the leadership, which included businessman, intellectuals and Ulema. 

South African Muslims must recognise the humanitarian role in the example of the Prophet of Islam. Concerns of Muslims and the welfare must be prioritised within the context of the Geo-political position of where they stay. Loyalty is firstly to your neighbour, only thereafter to the world. Assimilation and change must be through love and compassion. 

The Almighty will not the change condition of a people until they first change what is their hearts. This vibrant verse of the Noble Qur`an tells Mankind and Muslims how to transform oneself and then the help of God will come. The prophet of Islam helped first his neighbours, family and countryman before the message of Islam impacted the known world during the 7th Century A.D. Today this message of Islam continues to move people worldwide. Muslims need to recommit and reunderstand in the proper context what this message means and how to interpret it. 

Learning, compassion, justice and mercy are the approach of a ‘human’ being. A human being, who is mindful throughout his life on a minute-to-minute and day-to-day situation, deals with perfecting his compassion. Human being cannot be just without compassion and mercy. When a person asked, the Prophet of Islam to explain the meaning of Islam in a swift and easy format, the prophet said, belief in God and the best is he who serves mankind. 



The African people and the Muslims in South Africa have a history of struggle, which must be enhanced as a unified struggle for the alleviation of poverty, ignorance and disease. 

‘ We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all the Worlds. Qur`an, S21: 107. This verse of the Noble Qur`an tells us the primary reason why Allah sent his last messenger. The universal standard of Gods compassion and mercy was to send a messenger and representative for all mankind, creatures and all the ‘worlds’. 

God always begins his response in the Noble Qur`an as ‘In the name of Allah, the most Merciful, the Most Compassionate’. This message was carried as a guiding light by Muhammad (S), the prophet of Islam, a ‘mercy for all of creation’. 

Mankind’s opinion through, globalisation, universalism or the remaking of a new world order, or universal man does not effectively or necessarily transform man into a compassionate and merciful being. The challenge and endeavour to establish a suitable vehicle of change and transformation must be appreciated, respected and creative to establish a new humanity. 

If this is going to be achieved, mankind will have to relate to the understanding of the manifestation of love and compassion, which is the basis of ‘UNIVERSAL COMPASSION’. Universal Compassion is the behaviour of the 3rd millennium and a better future for the human family, all creatures and the Worlds. Mankind’s behaviour, communication must be reorganised and re-educated and to endeavour and persevere to transform ourselves. 

To the lord belongs what is in the Heavens and the Earth. 

Verily we come from Him and we return to Him - in Peace.

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