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     Question Forum :  Roger Scruton    Date Posted:  09 - May  -  2003




Are you aware of a book written by the British philosopher Roger Scruton entitled Globalisation: The West and the Rest. I have come across reviews of it on a few Christian sites that highly acclaim it. I have heard the author says things like the Shariah is outdated and Muslims fear secularisation and globalisation because it will prove Islamic law is not valid and that a true Islamic state would lead to a totalitarian regime or dictatorship. As you are an Islamic political party I would like to know your views on his thesis?

A cursory reading of the book shows all the hallmarks of the multitude of titles being churned out to deal with the perceived Islamic menace. As with Bernard Lewis' "What went wrong" it romanticises Western (Roman) Law and history and belittles Islamic achievements without distinguishing much between different periods of time or different geographical regions. Neither "the West" nor "the Muslim world" are monolithic, and to treat them as such makes for poor scholarship. 

Nationalism may well have been carried to excesses in Europe, but the idea of the state is not, as Scruton suggests, a Christian invention: The city state of Madinah produced the first state contract (including minority rights) long before the Magna Carta was grudgingly conceded by a beleaguered British monarch. Titles like Scruton's help little in understanding the political currents amongst Muslims since the fall of the caliphate or the difficulties of reconciling the fall of an empire with the claim of universality and infallibility of its underlying religious ideology. Instead those books reflect back on the insecurities and contradictions present in today's Western psyche, not without parallels of the East Roman Byzantine Empire before it was overrun by Islam: the overstretch of empire during its decadent final phases, the competition between rival group interests in waiting (e.g. Europe), the failing logic of the dogma of democracy, globalisation, free market etc. and the increasing intolerance and reliance on force. 

Where the parallel ends is that Islam does not, at present, have the same dynamics as it did at that time, when its message was fresh. The likely place for those dynamics to develop may well be North America and Europe, so Scruton has every reason to be suspicious of Muslims in our midst: not because they are secretly planning terrorist atrocities, but because they can hold up the mirror to intolerant liberals like Scruton and show that the Emperor has no clothes.

Islamic Party of Britain

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