The historical dynamics between the Islamic world and the West have been marked by a complex interplay of power, influence, and conflict. While the Islamic civilisation once flourished, its significant contribution to Europe’s intellectual growth during the era of Muslim rule in Spain stands out as a pivotal benefit to Western civilisation. The cultural exchange during this period turned Spain into an intellectual hub, often referred to as ‘heaven on earth’ by historians, fostering advancements in various fields that profoundly influenced the broader European landscape.
Despite the enriching influence of Muslim Spain on Western civilisation, the reciprocal impact of the West on the Islamic world has been starkly different, characterised by a series of detrimental stages. According to prominent Kuwaiti Political Scientist Abdullah Al Nafisi, these stages outline a systematic assault on the Islamic world by the West.
1. Military Aggression:
The initial stage involved direct military attacks on various parts of the Islamic world. This tumultuous history has left scars that still resonate today, shaping geopolitical landscapes and influencing regional dynamics.
2. Territorial Division:
The second stage witnessed the division of the Islamic world among Western powers, with the UK, France, and Italy obtaining strategic territories. This unfolded akin to predators dividing their prey. This deliberate carving of borders sowed seeds of discord and set the stage for future conflicts.
3. Intellectual Influence
Another insidious stage involved the creation of an intellectual class shaped by Western ideologies. This was facilitated through educational institutions like the American University in Cairo and British schools across the Arab world, systematically molding minds to adopt Western values and lifestyle.
4. Economic Dependency
Economically, the Islamic world became entwined with Western interests. Examples include the cultivation of cotton in Egypt and olives in Tunisia, only to be exported and converted into goods in other countries.
5. Creation of Israel:
Perhaps one of the most contentious moves was the establishment of the state of Israel, strategically designed to perpetuate the gains from the first four phases and thwart any potential unity within the Muslim world.
The unwavering support of the West for Israel becomes clear in the words of the current U.S. president, who stated, “If there were no Israel, the United States would have to create an Israel to protect its interests in the region.”
The ongoing Palestinian struggle is not merely a regional issue but a global symbol of resistance against historical injustices. The world, it seems, only pays attention to the plight of oppressed people when they resist, and the Palestinians have become instructors in the art of resilience and defiance.
In unraveling the complexities of the Islamic world’s relationship with the West, it becomes evident that the roots of contemporary geopolitical challenges lie in historical actions. The Palestinian struggle is not isolated; it is emblematic of a broader narrative of resistance against the consequences of colonization. To comprehend the West’s seemingly hypocritical stance on the Palestinian issue, one must delve into the intricate dynamics between the colonizer and the colonized that have shaped our world.