Islam and the West in the Age of Conflict among Civilisations: the Alternative of Intercultural Dialogue as a Means of Conflict Resolution

  • Bassam Tibi


At certain stages in history Islam and Europe had positive records of mutual impact. But they have also been at odds to the extent of waging war against one another, be it jihad or crusades.1 Despite the existing positive records the image of Islam in the West has been subject to continued stereotyping.2 Similarly, in the world of Islam the West does not enjoy a friendly image. These inter-civilisational issues touch on world politics and they became pertinent when Muslims after the end of the Cold War started to raise claims related to the question of ‘order’3 in the course of the crisis of the international system in its shaken post-bipolar shape. Some observers suspect that the debate on civilisation and world politics was launched by the West itself in a desperate search for a world political enemy supposedly to replace communism. It was suggested that Islam is the ‘candidate’. Of course this is wrong.4 Already in 1962 Raymond Aron spoke of ‘the heterogeneity of civilisations’5 as a source of conflict in world politics veiled by bipolarity. The end of the Cold War brought about the unveiling of this heterogeneity.


World Politics Islamic World Religious Pluralism Religious Fundamentalism Islamic Civilisation 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bassam Tibi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Cornell UniversityUSA

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