The integration of world trade systems combined with the political affiliations within different states altered the socio-economic and political practices in the contemporary world.
Although the social, economic and cultural changes differed within states, in the Middle East, the progressive events, which occurred from as early as the sixteenth century is the route of clash of civilization in the modern society. Among the events are establishment of Muslim empires together with the emergence of international trade and the commencement of religious conflicts especially the protestant had a great impact on the Middle East.
Consequently, the spread of Islamic ideologies in the Middle East, which differ greatly from Christianity in the Western leads to conflicts between the two regions. Therefore, according to Huntington the western and Middle East region will forever be in war mainly because of the contrasting religious, social, cultural, and political differences. Unless the world learns to accept and appreciate the inherent cultural differences of each other, the contemporary society is set to engage in endless wars especially between Western regions and Islamic world.
Islamic religion is the common religion in the Middle East while Christianity prospers in the western world. The major conflicting regions in the modern society are between Islamic and Christian states. Although the Muslim holy book, the Quran advocates for peace, the religion takes prides in promoting holy wars. According to Gelvin (2011), one of the scholars contradicts the Quran and the religion ideologies of Muslim when he asserts, “what can you expect from a religion that assigns pride in of place to martyrdom and jihad” (p.3)?
Therefore, the urge and strive by the people of the Middle East to spread their religion leads to conflicts with other countries in the Western world. On the other hand, the western society is quick to point out faults and condemn the Islamic religion thus resulting into constant disagreements. Likewise, the Muslim are ready to protect their religion to the extend of shading blood, which results in frequent suicide bomb attacks or the famous September 11, attacks on the United states.
One of the factors that make religion the major source of conflict is the inability of an individual to practice two religions at the same time. Although a person can hold dual citizenship or even intermarry, he/she can never be a Christian and at the same time be a Muslim. Thus, the religion identity of an individual in the modern world is crucial to his/her survival.
Additionally, the religion conflicts have led to the establishment of a number of terrorism groups like the Al Qaeda and the Taliban. After the discovery of oil in most of the countries in the Middle East, the terrorism groups were able to fund themselves.
For instance, the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s father enriched himself through the oil business. Subsequently, Osama inherited his father’s wealth, which he used in financing the terrorism attacks. Furthermore, most of the terrorism groups succeed because of the lack of peace between the countries in the Middle East like Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.
Through promotion of hate speech on western countries, especially America, they negatively brainwash people, which leads to conflicts. Moreover, the ideologies of the rebel groups accelerate war between the two regions. According to the Muslims, America’s aim is to use other countries especially in the Middle East to establish strong economic and political status.
The discovery of oil ores in the Middle East attracted many countries especially from the west like America. Thus, the Americans established themselves in the East, which the region viewed as post colonialism. Additionally, Americans strive to promote their way of life in the region culminating into conflicts. Unless different nations learn to live with the cultural differences in the world, conflicts will exist forever.
When the terrorism groups attacked the western world, countries like France, Britain, and the United States vowed to retaliate. Consequently, most of the leaders from the East like Saddam Hussein who promoted terrorism died in the hands of Americans.
In addition, the recent killing of the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has aggravated the tension between western world and the Middle East. Therefore, who knows what the terrorist groups might be planning? Unfortunately, the leaders from the two regions cannot reconcile because of the extreme religious, political, and cultural practices.
Eqbal Ahmed observes that, “modern Islamists are concerned with power, not with soul, with the mobilization of people for political purposes rather than with sharing and alleviating their sufferings and aspirations” (Said, 2001, p.3). Therefore, the Islam as a religion is less concerned with peace or humanitarian ideas, which contradicts with the Christianity making the two regions irreconcilable.
On the other hand, America is the world’s superpower and its political prowess has made it an enemy with other nations especially from the Middle East. To retain its political prowess America has build supersonic war jets, strong nuclear bombs, machine guns and increased the size of the army. Unluckily, other nations especially from the Middle East keep on challenging their superiority, which results into wars.
The tendency of the western countries to control global civilization is another cause of conflicts and unrest in the modern world. The pace and type of civilization among states can never be equal or involve similar ideologies. Civilization does not only involve economical change but also historical events, linguistics, traditions, culture and above all religion.
Thus, different nations have diverse views on families, spiritual matters as well as the responsibilities of each member of the family. Moreover, the traditions of each country or ethnic tribe define differently the roles and hierarchy or position of each member in the family. What is more is that these traditional and social systems have existed over 100 years or more and therefore anybody with an ambition to change them will receive tremendous resistance.
What most nations do not understand is that the difference in cultural, social, and religious practices should not lead to wars but rather promote peace. The cultural differences are not similar to political systems that exist in the modern world. Therefore, if the western world and the Middle East stop interfering with the cultural and social practices of each other, then peace will definitely prevail all over the world.
The advanced technology and transport systems promote international interaction. Different people or nations become aware of their culture and civilization. For instance, there are different ethnic or tribal groups in African culture but none of the tribal groups becomes important when any of them resides in Europe. An Africa from Kenya or Nigeria will simply earn his title as a Kenyan or a Nigerian, which eventually culminates into animosity or resistance leading to conflicts.
Similarly, when a person from North Africa (Islamic state) migrates to Europe or united State or vice versa, he/she may experience hostility because of the difference in culture or the difference in civilization ideologies. Additionally, in the corporate world the western worlds are comfortable when conducting business within themselves rather than with other nations especially from Asia.
According to Huntington, “these increasing interactions intensify civilization consciousness and awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations” (1993, p. 25). Thus, unless the tension and negative perception between different regions, which started with the ancestors cease, the conflicts will last forever.
The cultural differences also promote conflicts in the world. There is no nation that readily backs up or respect the culture, which contradicts from hers. The African, Asian and western cultures differ widely especially in the mode of clothing. For instance, the Asian especially Muslim women cover their face and head with a hijab, which is their traditional culture. Additionally, the culture forbids women to wear tight clothes particularly trousers.
The Muslim men put on Kanzus and not suits, as it is the cultural norm in the west. On the contrary, the Western culture condemns the use of hijabs and most of their women put on trousers. Recently, there was a fracas in France when the law enforcers arrested women putting on hijabs or covering their heads.
Therefore, each of the nations ensures that its culture stands all over the world. Unfortunately, the urge to hold onto the culture leads to disagreements because nobody is ready to adjust to the other. Thus, with the continued flow of Muslims in America, Britain, France and other parts of the western world, cultural clashes may not cease.
One of the supporters of Huntington thesis recalls his disagreement with unknown person because the person asked him “why are you wearing a tie and a suit? They are western too?” (Said, 2001, p. 2). According to Said (2001), cultural diversity was the route of his fight between the Arabs and the whites (P. 2). Currently, Muslims believe their culture is more superior but due to lack of political power, they are unable to promote it, which is the route cause of holy wars or jihads.
The conflicts that prevail in the contemporary world started in the historical era. During the establishment of empires and monarchies in the ancient times, emperors, princes, and kings led their people in conquering other nations. Consequently, the attacks not only increased their armies or territories but also increased the economy.
In addition, the colonization of most of Asian countries by Britain resulted in the fall of ancient empires like the Ottoman while the Safavid empire fall was due to invasion from Afghanistan. The Ottoman Empire stretched from the Middle East to North Africa and Southern Europe.
The fall of the vast empire was due to colonialism and since the countries of the Middle East want to reestablish their historical empires or territories, frequent clashes with the Western world are therefore inevitable. Therefore, the wars were due to international conflicts, which is still in progress in the modern world. Most nations are fighting to spread and increase their territories, which has led to conflicts in the current world.
Likewise, the emergence of the first, second and cold wars in the nineteenth century led to the division of the world on basis of economic and political classes. The impact of the historical wars and the subsequent fall of the political systems like the empires affected negatively the socio-economic and cultural structures of the nations.
The consequences of the wars persist in the modern times because the countries from Middle East are fighting to reinstate or restore their culture, political and social structures. On the other hand, the countries colonized by Western countries put pressure on their people to refute the western ideologies or cultural practices established during the colonial era resulting into conflicts.
The other conflicting issue is the rapid economic expansion that the whole world is undergoing. The biasness of trade partners results in international and interregional conflicts. China and Japan are the countries whose economy is on the rise. Regrettably, the civilization of Japan and China is neither uniform with European nations nor the Middle East.
Consequently, the basis of economic growth on civilization promotes corporation of regions or nations with similar practices. Although Japan has the most powerful economy in the Asian region, the corporation of China with other countries like Taiwan and Singapore will eventually raise its economic status above all other countries in Asia.
The uniformity of cultural practices and similarity in civilization accelerates China’s unity with other countries in the bloc. Similarly, religion practices determine economic practice as it is the case with non-Arabic Muslim countries like Turkey Iran and Pakistan among others (Weidenbaum, 1993, p.2).
The impact of establishing economies on basis of religion and culture has led to the failure of economic ties not only between United States and the Middle East but also between Northern and southern American states. According to philosophers, the religion or cultural divergence affects the creation of policies on human rights, immigration, trade, commerce, or environmental issues (Huntington, 1996, p.26). Therefore, due to conflicts among nations, the economy of the world is set to fluctuate forever.
Finally, civilization conflicts occur in three stages. The first stage also referred to as the micro-level, there is ethnic, tribal, or civil wars within a nation. Each of the group’s fights to control the territory of the other or to possess power within a region as it is the case in Sudan and Somali. The second stage occurs at international also called the macro-level where nations compete in military, economic, and international organizations. The final category is where nations compete in promoting their political and religion policies.
In summary, the fights between the Middle East and the Western world have become contagious or have negatively affected other nations. Although the different regions possess diverse economic, social, cultural, and political practices, they fight to promote their individual ideologies. The culture, language, lifestyle, and economic practices differ according to the region but nobody in the world understands that.
Modern civilization bases on culture and religion, which are the major source of conflicts. According to philosophers, Asia, Africa, America and Europe can never realize peace unless each of the regions promote intercultural practices and condemn trade based on religion and culture. For Middle East and Western countries like the United States to experience peace, other nations especially in the Middle East should learn to respect the religious differences in the world.
Gelvin, J. L. (2011). The modern Middle East: A history. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Huntington, S. (1993). The clash of civilizations? Foreign affairs, 72 (3), 22-49.
Huntington, S. (1996). The clash of civilizations. United States: Simon and Schuster Press, Said, E. (2001). The clash of ignorance. The nation. Retrieved from
Weidenbaum, M. (1993). Greater China: the next Economic Superpower. Contemporary Issues, 57, 2-13.