MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation 19

The Crisis of Islam and the Crisis of the West

Since the events of September 11, 2001, many people in the West have been pursuing crash courses in understanding Islamic belief and history. They have realized the wisdom of acquiring some historical perspective on what appears to be a clash of civilizations. In “The Crisis of Islam and the Crisis of the West,” Bernard Lewis, a Western historian of the Middle East whose work is recognized around the world, helps provide that essential perspective.

Shortly after 9/11, a book written by Dr, Lewis before the horrible events of that day was published. It was called What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. The question in the title is asked from the point of view of the Islamic world, and refers not simply to recent events, but to a centuries-long pattern of frustration and disappointment. As Lewis writes in the introduction, “For many centuries the world of Islam was in the forefront of human civilization and achievement.” But the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in the siege of Vienna in 1683 began a period of decline in world influence, and a rise in the influence of Western ideas and habits in the region once totally ruled by the laws of Islam. 50 minutes.

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    Bernard Lewis: “. . . for a thousand years or so, Muslims were attacking Europe . . .”
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    “ . . . there are only two civilizations which are defined by religion . . .”
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    “ . . . Islam was theocratic from the start . . .”
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    “ . . . the definition of martyrdom . . .”
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    “ . . . pacifism is not part of the [Islamic] tradition . . .”
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    “ . . . a lot of sharia is disguised Roman law or Persian law . . .”
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    “ . . . for Muslims, there is this notion of a divine law which regulates every aspect of life . . .”
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    “ . . . among some, Turks are regarded as apostates. Among others they are regarded as a model to be followed . . .”
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    “ . . . in the Islamic world, the collapse of the Soviet Union was seen as a victory for Islam, not for the West . . .”
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    “ . . . Islam has a policy toward the West, but the West does not have a policy toward Islam . . .”
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    “ . . . the political joke is the only authentic form and uncensored form of expression . . .”
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    Closing