International Journal for Muslim World Studies (IJMWS)

Formerly known as International Journal of Muslim Unity (IJMU)

The Political Barriers Between The Muslim World and the West: Means of Bridging The Two

The Political Barriers Between The Muslim World and the West: Means of Bridging The Two

Abdu Mukhtar Musa *

                                   

ABSTRACT

This paper is based on the assumption that the West and the Muslim World can come together to live in a peaceful coexistence allowing certain problems to be properly addressed. From a theological point of view the major Western religions, Christianity and Judaism, share one origin with Islam as Abrahamic religions. They share common values and, hence, common ground that could help in bridging the two sides which are now divided by some misconceptions and misunderstanding. The paper gives a brief background of a relationship of ups and downs, interactions and conflicts, between the Judaic-Christian West and the Muslim world throughout different phases of history. Then the paper reviews the barriers between the two sides through three phases: the medieval ages; renaissance – along with the crusade; Orientalism and colonialism; and, finally, the modern phase (of modernisation and globalisation). Both sides influence or/and penetrate the other: Islam by influencing the political thought of medieval (Christian) Europe, control of Andalusia and, culturally, penetrating deep into Europe the West influencing the Muslim world through the crusades, orientalism and colonialisation. In the third and last part, the paper proposed means for building bridges through the quest for a common ground. It appeals to the West to change its traditional, and inaccurate, way of looking at the Muslims by equating them with terrorism, and calls on the Muslims to approach the West by adopting a proper discourse based on a comprehensive and systematic strategy for dialogue including combating the limited extremists who reflect a false picture of Muslims, identifying them with terrorism which is a mistaken generalisation.