This is not an easy read for me, but it does contain a lot of interesting argument by Graham Fuller. Graham Fuller was a vice president at a CIA department and had dealt with a lot of cases in the Middle East. From his own experiences and his research, he comes to an argument that the world without Islam will still be as chaotic as now. Islam, which now is often suspected as a violent religion, has little effect in most conflicts between the West and the East (especially middle east).
In this blog post, I would like to highlight some interesting arguments and facts from Fuller.
- Fuller starts his book by digging through the history of Abrahamic religions: how Judaism, Christian, and Islam relate to each other; how conflicts arose between them; and what was actually the root cause of the Crusades. Eventually, the tension between the West and the Middle East has arisen even between Islam came through Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Eastern Orthodoxy shared a similar anti-Western sentiment with Islam community. This suggests that Islam is not the root cause of the long West-Middle East friction. Basically, it’s not the religion itself that spark the sentiment, but the geopolitical tense since the age of Roman and Byzantium.
- Islam is the second largest religion in Russia and even recognized as Russia’s traditional religion, along with Orthodoxy Christian. This shows that Islam and Christianity could get along in a society. Hence, the tension is not in the religions.
- We often hear about how Uyghur ethnic in far west China suffers from discrimination and persecution from the mainstream society of China. However, Fuller shows that Muslims with Han ethnicity (the mainstream ethnic in China; usually called as “Hui” people) were integrated well to the China society since the Song Dynasty (~ 10th century). Hui people even hold strategic positions in China kingdom and government system. This shows that the diverse ethnicity in China is the particular problem, not Islam.
- In India, Fuller argues that British colonialization and their political strategy were responsible for the hard friction between Hindu and Muslim in India and Pakistan.
- The US is often involved to overthrow of unfriendly regimes (using military or covert operations) in order to maintain regimes favorable to it, e.g. in Korea, Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia, Syria, Panama, Angola, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.) (see the full list on page 263). Note that the US basically “not only” against Islam.
- If there had been an Islam, Christian Palestinians would have no more happily lost their lands to Jews (page 265).
Ultimately, Fuller’s conclusion is a line that maybe we expect: Land, natural resource, and power clash; rather than Islam; are the drivers of most conflicts between the West and the Middle East.