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No common ground? Islam, anti-Americanism and the United States

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Given the tension between America and Islam which was provoked by the terrorist attacks of September 11, the question posed by this essay is what areas of common ground exist between the United States and the Islamic world and what likelihood there is of expanding such common ground. Two models of US-Islamic relations - a ‘cooperation model’ and a ‘conflict model’ - are examined with a view to establishing the relative weight of negative and positive factors in the relationship. The essay concludes with the suggestion that Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis, and others like it, come close to cultural determinism. The case can be made that it is not conflict of cultures which gives rise to political conflict and war but political conflict, and especially the collapse of political authority, which provokes cultural conflict. From this point of view, the challenge is to seek workable solutions to political problems, taking into account cultural differences without allowing them to dictate the agenda.
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Keywords: Anti-Americanism; Clash of civilizations; Conflict; Cooperation; Islam; Jihad

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of East Anglia, UK

Publication date: 2004-09-01

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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