Is there a clash of civilizations?

Dalia Mogahed: I also think one of the biggest issues is a misdiagnosis of the problem we’re facing in the war on terror. What I read in the paper is that this war on terror, this whole campaign to fight terrorism, is really characterized as Cold War II – a battle of ideologies. And our President [George W. Bush] says that all the time: “This is the defining battle in our century of two ideologies.”

And I think framing it in those terms is very counterproductive, because what Muslims hear is it’s between the west and Islam.

What are the two ideologies?

Because this might seem strange, but terrorism is not seen as driven by an ideology; it is a tactic that, for a Muslim viewing it, they don’t see it as being driven by a specific and very unique ideology. It’s just these people are essentially criminals committing a criminal act. And it’s a tactic.

So to then frame the issue as a clash between ideologies, there’s no ideology really left except Islam itself. And so then it becomes very obvious why a recent poll showed that eight out of 10 in some of the most populous Muslim countries in the world say that the war on terror is a war on Islam. And it comes from this characterization of the war on terror as a Cold War II.

Whereas if it can instead be framed as a war against a criminal act, and where terrorists are more thought of as criminals than framed as almost evil heroes, it would help counter terrorism and our ability to have more traction in the Muslim world, since Muslims and Americans actually agree in their rejection of terrorism.

But yet this common ground lacks traction because of this misframing of the struggle.

 

Recorded on: July 3, 2007. 

 

If it's a war of ideologies, what are the two ideologies?

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

The culprit of increased depression among teens? Smartphones, new research suggests.

A new study, led by psychologist Jean Twenge, points to the screen as the problem.

A teenager eyes her smartphone as people enjoy a warm day on the day of silence, one day prior to the presidential elections, when candidates and political parties are not allowed to voice their political meaning on April 14, 2018 in Kotor, Montenegro. Citizens from Montenegro, the youngest NATO member, will vote for a new president on Sunday 15 2018. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
Surprising Science
  • In a new study, adolescents and young adults are experiencing increased rates of depression and suicide attempts.
  • The data cover the years 2005–2017, tracking perfectly with the introduction of the iPhone and widespread dissemination of smartphones.
  • Interestingly, the highest increase in depressive incidents was among individuals in the top income bracket.
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less