Table of Contents

I. Prospectus
-
II. Circles of Antagonism: Popular Culture
-
III. Circles of Antagonism: The Intellectual Idiom
-
IV. Causes of Antagonism
-
V. Constructive Attitudinal Change
-
VI. Structure of the Islamic World
-
VII.Conspectus
-
Appendices
-
Afterword by Javeed Akhter
-
About the Author

Back to ISPI Home
 

Structure of the Islamic World

What is this world of Islam which has commanded so much international attention during the last half century and which has been demonized especially in the last decade? Here it is contended that a systematically constructed taxonomy does not lend support to the thesis of Huntington and others that Islam is a life-threatening monolithic danger to the West. It may be that certain countries with a Muslim population and professing an Islamic impetus may constitute a threat of some description. This can be ascribed to the interests of particular nation-states rather that to a global or even regional Muslim conspiracy. China and North Korea pursue a foreign policy not because they are Confucian but because they must protect their national interest. Pakistan pursues its foreign policy because of a perceived threat from India not because it is Muslim.

While it is a risk to attempt to describe a phenomenon of the magnitude, diversity and complexity of the Muslim world, some typology, no matter how hyper general, is essential.
The Ummah-A Global Reach
With a population somewhat more than one billion or some 27 percent of the world' s population, belief in Islam is spread in every conceivable geographical and political configuration-ranging from Morocco to the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam (pop. 285,000). No other religion has quite so powerful and impetus for global expansion-neither Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism nor Christianity. The concept of world-wide Christian unity, once a powerful force, has been eroded by sectarianism, schism, nationalism, secularism and by a loss of confidence in what once was regarded as the true faith. From a Muslim perspective the ecumenical impulse which aims toward a recovery of Christian unity so trivializes and neutralizes the pristinity and clarity of doctrine that the Christian zeal for conversion disappears. Agitation in the Church of England in 1984 over the consecration as Bishop Durham of Dr. David Jenkins, who expressed disbelief in the Virgin Birth, a central doctrine of Christianity, dramatizes the dilemma of non-Orthodox Christianity in preserving the pristinity of doctrine. In non-Catholic and Orthodox Christianity the doctrine of Biblical "inerrancy" continues to compete with widely spread notions which limit scriptural significance to non-literal or metaphorical interpretation.

The recovery of Islamic identity stimulated by decolonization following World War II and the oil wealth of the Gulf, particularly that of Saudi Arabia, is statistically and visually evident t throughout the world. The building of thousands of mosques, establishment of major Islamic universities (such as at Islamabad ad Kuala Lumpur)), printing translation (even into Zulu) and distribution of millions of copies of the Qur'an and, the Herculean enlargement of the mosques at Makkah and Medina including installation of the world's largest air conditioning system, are suggestive of this phenomenal growth. Much of the resurgence is due to the financial support of Saudi Arabia. The rate of conversion to Islam is ominous many. When the encyclical Redemptoris Missio was issued in 1991, Vatican spokesmen said it "reflected fears that Catholicism was lagging behind Islamic expansion in Asia, Africa and the Middle East."
2.Solidarity or Fragmentation
A strong sense of fraternal bonding of all Muslims has been both a fantasy and ideal but seldom a reality in Muslim history following the Prophet's death in 633 AD. This quest for community is expressed in the concept of ummah (community of believers) and continues to be given rhetorical expression in contemporary Muslim affairs. The fact that it is mentioned in the Qur'an and several times gives it a sacred position. It is similar to the Roman concept of civitas especially in its emphasis on putting the community good above personal desire an din directing the community towards virtue and away for evil. Ummah is an architectonic idiom whose purpose ultimately is to embrace all mankind. It is the external structural manifestation of the soul of Islam. That soul resides in the Qur'an, the sunnah which is a group of hadith which are sayings and opinions of the Prophet. These, together with qiyas, opinions of learned Muslims, and ijma, consensus of Muslim scholars, constitute the core of belief which sustains the ummah.

Ideologically the Muslim world senses a profound communion which has not been suppressed in the Muslim psyche; it continues to exist as a powerful primordial sentiment. The great German historian Oswald Spengler, who understood the mystical, intuitive components of man's nature, reminds us that the "Islamic community...embraces the whole of the world-caverns, here and beyond, the orthodox and the good angels and spirits, and with the community the State only formed a smaller unit of the visible side, a unit, therefore, of which the operations were governed by the greater whole." This impulse toward Islamic unity is also nurtured by a vivid memory of Islamic imperial grandeur and by a vibrant, dynamic of missionary zeal. The force of ummah is the tacit dimension, the psychic indwelling nature of Islam. The separation of Muslims into distinct, often mutually antagonistic, nations is a reality which does not fit comfortably in fantasies of a Muslim perception of world order. Nevertheless, it is not likely that a unified superstructure of Muslim states will supersede sovereign nation states in the foreseeable future.

The abolition of the caliphate by Kemal Ataturk in Turkey in 1924 marked the formal end of what by then had become only an empty shell of global unity. Iran, Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey had existed for centuries as discrete, rich civilizations with relatively fixed boundaries. Saudi Arabia was not a unified political entity until 1932. Together with Syria and the rest of the Arabian peninsula it had cartographic recognition as early as 1471 AD as Arabia Felix, Ayaman, Petrea and Arabia Deserta. The huge Ottoman Empire was divided by the Allies in 1923 into colonies, spheres of influence, mandates or crucial states, all with boundaries based on colonial politics, sometimes whims. Thus the future Muslim nation-states of the Middle East were born and the concept of Ummah eroded. In Asia and Africa, imperial policies demarcated the boundaries of the colonies of Britain, France and the Netherlands even as recently as the 1947 partition of India. The arbitrariness of national boundaries with minimal, often no regard for ethno/linguistic or geographic considerations continues to plague Muslim states and Israel in 1948 and irredentism of the Israeli state is the most glaring instance of colonial injustice and arbitrariness. It has been the primary cause of Muslim international relations. Decolonization following World War II spawned such independent Muslim states as Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf States. Subsequently others such as Bangladesh, Brunei, Bosnia and the six Central Asian republics became sovereign entities. By 1994 the number of Muslim states had reached 52. The concept of the nation-state thus further eclipsed the vestigial remnants of global Muslim unity.

A major division of the ummah is that of Arabs and non-Arabs. Arabs constitute only 20 percent of Muslims; the largest concentrations are in such non-Arab states as Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Muslim minority of India. The most populous Arab country, Egypt, with about 60 million, is dwarfed by Indonesia's population of 250 million and the populations of Bangladesh (176m) and Pakistan (128m).

A strong sense of Arab solidarity had been pushed forward by the Pan-Arab movement of Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser as early as 1955, provoked further by the Suez War of 1956. For a few years this was a remarkably popular cause although limited to the Arab states whose population was a minority in the Arab world. We can label this the Ummah Arabiya in contrast with the all-embracing Ummah Islamiya. The Pan-Arab movement was directed primarily against Zionism, imperialism and feudalism. It took a stop towards political unity by Egypt's forming with Syria the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1958. A few months later Yemen joined the UAR in a federated capacity labeled the United Arab States. A military coup in Syria in 1961 forced Syrian withdrawal and the UAR collapsed. In 1964 Iraq and Egypt issued a proclamation establishing an Arab Socialist Union. There were similar Egyptian efforts to federate with Sudan, and, in 1973, with Libya. None of those Pan-Arab overtures materialized. Jordan attempted a federative relationship with Iraq in 1958, but this too ended with the Iraqi Revolution of July 14, 1958. The fragile nature of these shifting alliances is evident in the different configuration of the Gulf War of 1991: Egypt and Syria against Iraq; Yemen and Jordan against Egypt.

Beneath the shifting cleavages that emerge in the Islamic world, there has come into being a global structure of considerable sophistication. There is a reciprocal relationship between the structure which arises from sentiment, even fantasy, and the depth of sentiment given institutional support. This embryonic infrastructure supporting the ummah is perennially disrupted in part by its own intra-Islamic disputes (Yemen-Egypt; Iran-Iraq; Iraq-The Gulf, Jordan, P.L.O., Iraq, Yemen-The Gulf) but in part also by non-Islamic forces experienced in techniques derivative from a doctrine of divide et impera as well as from Byzantium and Machiavelli. The sense of Arab unity institutionally expressed by these unsuccessful structures and by ideological movements such as the Baath Socialist party finds contemporary institutional expression in the League of Arab States (LAS), established in 1945, which now has a membership of 22 Arab Fund for African Development, Kuwaiti Fund for Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development.

The intra-Arab differences over the Gulf War have undoubtedly weakened what little effectiveness the League of Arab States has had in recent years. It has successfully mediated some disputes but its inability to act against Iraq for its invasion of a fellow member state, Kuwait, was a defining moment in loss of prestige. The invasion was a clear violation of Article 2 of the Joint Defense Treaty which was part of the League's charter. It specified that armed aggression against any member was an action against all members and was to be repelled by collective or individual state effort.

In December 1994 a three-nation Arab summit was held in Alexandria. Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their support of Syria's position on peace talks with Israel. This statement followed Syria's complaint that such Gulf states as Oman and Qatar were making overtures towards peace with Israel. Thus the divisions of the Gulf War and the Arab -Israeli peace negotiations continue to plague Arab solidarity, to weaken Arab international entities and to encourage the formation of smaller groups of Arab states with common, although often transitory national interests.

The most effective regional Arab organization is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), formed in 1981 by six nations of the Arabian peninsula: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Its importance has increases as a consequence of the Gulf War. In addition to extensive patterns of trade relations, its mutual defense policies have drawn the Gulf states, already bonded by geography and a common culture, more closely together. The last GCC annual summit of heads of state held in Bahrain in December 1994 suggests some of the problems faced by the region. Its joint communiqué strongly condemned violence and extremism whatever the sources. The report of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to the Council, as chairman of the previous (14th) term, spoke of new regional defense and economic groupings in the world. He urged stronger economic ties leading to a Gulf common market and increased cooperation in defense arrangements. Peter Mansfield's use of the expression New Arabians as a book title is fortuitous. The commonalties of the Gulf states, especially their contiguity and economic circumstances, set them apart from other Arabs; this title deftly catches that separateness. The rather dramatic success of the Gulf Cooperation Council is suggested by the extensive body of published research which has been done in the short span of this fourteen-year existence.

Although there has been much rhetoric about Arabs solving Arab regional problems, none of these agencies has been capable of dealing with the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War or the Palestinian problem. An Arab infrastructure (Ummah Arabiya) thus exists but has not yet been able to compete successfully with the nation-state.

Beyond the circle of the Ummah Arabiya is the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), established in 1969 under the aegis of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. This was the triumphal culmination of Faisal's life-long efforts towards global Islamic solidarity. The catalytic event was the burning of the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem which was then under Israeli control. The first summit meeting of heads of state was convened in Rabat in September 1969. Although boycotted by Syria and Iraq, 25 Muslim states were represented; Iraq and Syria joined soon after. The first summit was followed in 1970 by the first conference of Islamic foreign Minster in Jeddah.

Summit meetings of heads of state have been held in Rabat (1969), Lahore (1974), Makkah and Taif (1981) Casablanca (1984), Kuwait (1987), Dakar (1991) and Casablanca (1994). The current membership was recently increased to 52 after the admission of four Central Asian republics (Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) formerly part of the Soviet Union. Bosnia-Herzegovina was admitted to observer status oat the 1994 Casablanca summit and other states have applied for similar status. Heads of state meet at summit every three years and there are annual meetings of foreign ministers who set the agenda and elect the secretary-general. The secretariat in Jeddah had a staff of about 150 officials from all over the Muslim world. When affiliated organizations such as the Islamic Bank are included, the total staff approximates 1,500. Established with a primary objective of securing Arab control of Jerusalem, its diplomatic and other activities have broadened far beyond that. It has established four international Islamic universities. In Malaysia, Balgladesh, Uganda, and Niger. These, together with the International Islamic University in Pakistan, are the major Muslim universities now total twelve-scattered in various countries.

The OIC rotates appointment of the post of sectary-general among the regions of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. A propitious tradition of leadership was started with the appointment of Tunku Abdul Rahman, former prime minister of Malaysia. He was followed by Hassan Tohami of Egypt, Amadu Kri Gaye of Senegal, Habib Chatty of Tunisia, and Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada of Pakistan. The current secretary-general is Dr. Hamid al-Gabdi, former Prime Minster of Niger. All have served with uncommon distinction. The post of four assistant secretaries-general has similarly rotated among various Muslim states. The selection of these officers, and the choice of geographically dispersed sites for summit and foreign ministers' conferences, suggests the importance of non-Arab Muslim states from all the continents and the reinvigorated sense of identity of Asian, African and Middle Eastern Islam. The OIC has achieved several diplomatic successes within the ambit of Muslim brotherhood. At the Lahore summit of 1974 Pakistan and Bangladesh were reconciled after their bitter war of secession. The 1987 Kuwait summit defused (with the cooperation of the Gulf Cooperation Council) the coup in Sharjah. Strenuous efforts to mediate the Iran-Iraq War undoubtedly helped in its ultimate resolution. Equally vigorous diplomatic activity sought to resolve the Soviet-Afghan War and the Gulf War. The 1994 summit declaration, condemning terrorism in all its forms, reaffirmed that terrorism contravened the values and traditions of Islam. That summit, attended by President Alija Ali Izetbegovic of Bosnia, gave special attention to Bosnia it recommended bilateral action by Muslim countries rather than pan-Islamic intervention.

One of the most significant ideological consequences of the OIC was King Faisal's call for greater understanding between Christianity and Islam. Faisal's ambition to establish constructive relations with the Vatican was pursued after his death. This attitude towards cooperation with Christianity evolved at almost the same time as the Vatican's empathetic recognition of Islam discussed earlier.

The Ummah Islamiya can be divided into distinctive regional entities with common economic problems and, in some cases, cultural affinity. Reference ahs earlier been made to the Gulf Cooperation Council, by fart he most successful of these regional groups. The Maghreb Union, established in 1989, consist of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and the Mauritania. A different national configuration is the Arab Cooperation Council also established in 1989, consisting f Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Yemen. Conflicting alliances during the Gulf War and civil war in Yemen virtually collapsed this organization. A regional entity of ten countries, established in 1993 as the Economic Cooperation Organization, is made up of Iran, Turkey Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the six Central Asian states of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan. The potential economic and political power of this group is great but its effectiveness is handicapped by the rivalry of Turkey, Iran and, although not a member, Saudi Arabia for influence in Central Asia. Its third annual summit was held in Islamabad in March 1995.

The distinctive character of Islam in East and Southeast Asia is reflecting in the formation in 1993 of the Asian Islamic Council based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Organized with the help Saudi Arabia, the Council has predominantly a religious and cultural emphasis and includes representatives of Muslim emphasis and includes representatives of Muslim states such as Indonesia and Malaysia and of minorities in the Philippines, Korea, Japan and other Asian countries. Hence its composition is that of individuals rather than the governments of nation-states. In this respect, as well as in its religious cultural objectives, it resembles the Muslim World League more than the other regional entities described above.

Complementing the vigorous political and diplomatic activities of the OIC is the Muslim World League (Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami) also established by King Faisal in 1952 based I Makkah. This is a quasi-official body designed to coordinate and stimulate religious, cultural, youth, welfare, and public service organizations -both national and international-throughout the Muslim world. Its periodic world congresses are attended by representatives of some 300 Muslim organizations. For many years, its secretary general was Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, a former president of King Abdul Aziz University and currently Vice President of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura) established in 1993 as the supreme legislative body of Saudi aria. Dr. Naseef was an uncommonly effective leader who traveled extensively on behalf of Muslim causes. It was he who took the unprecedented action of addressing the annual convention of the Southern Baptist Association thus furthering King Faisal's objective of strengthening relations between Christianity and Islam.

One of the most promising activities of the Muslim World League was the establishment in 1987 of the Islamic Fiqh Academy. This is an effort to announce rulings in Islamic law (Shari'a) in such matters as human reproduction other ethical issues. Since there is no central global authority to reconcile doctrinal differences or to issue edicts (fatwa) which have pan-Islamic validity, the Fiqh Academy is regarded as a move in that direction. Fatwa are issued on various problems from time to time by Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz, President of Scientific Research, Islamic Ruling, Call and guidance, but they apply only to Saudi Arabia. Some rulings carry moral authority outside the Kingdom. For example, in 1989 Iran called on Muslims everywhere to execute Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, regarded by all Muslims as blasphemous. But the Muslim League, through the Fiqh Academy, called this decree inconsistent with Islamic values. It advocated instead a trial for Rushdie and a chance for repentance if found guilty. While this in no way invalidated the Iranian position (according to Iran), it does suggest a beginning effort to make Islamic policy of global applicability.

The foregoing suggests that an elaborate network for an Islamic global political structure has slowly emerged during the last few decades, but that its organization is loose and without central authority. The principal impediments to the emergence of a more effective universal Islamic community are the conflicts within Islam, acerbated by the Gulf War and by the intervention of foreign powers who view the rise of an effective Muslim power block as inimicable to their interests.
3. Muslim Minorities (Dar al-Harb)
The traditional way of describing the structure of the Islamic world is by dividing it into dar al-Islam and dar al-harb. The former, usually translated as the domain or realm of Islam, referred to lands ruled by Muslims or in which Muslim institutions flourished. The latter term: lands, domain or realm of war, referred to countries with on-Muslim governments. The two terms have also been translated as "Realm of Belief: and "Realm of Disbelief". Dar al-Islam embraces those states which declare themselves constitutively to be Islamic (such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia). It also includes those where a majority of the population is Muslim although no official declaration of Islam has been made (Indonesia). These regimes are easily identified; they are the 52 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference listed in the appendix at the end of this essay.

The second category, dar al-harb, can perhaps no longer be appropriately thought of as a political context of warfare. It is more accurate to refer to this group as Muslim minorities living in a relatively peaceful non-Muslim regime in which their Islamicity can be fully and freely expressed. No doubt Bosnians, Chechens as well as some Muslims who, viewing certain restrictions on their behavior in France, England and certainly in the former Soviet Union, might consider the traditional translation more accurate.

It may be useful to suggest a third category of refugees or migrants who have fled an unfriendly regime (Afghanistan, Palestine, Bosnia) but who have not established a permanent or semi-permanent home in their new land. This includes those who are refugees remaining in their own country such as the million Azeris in Azerbaijan, Biharis in Bangladesh, Afghans in Afghanistan, Chechens in Chechnya or Muslims in Bosnia. All such refugees, whether outside or with their homeland, can appropriately be called dar al-muhajirin (realm or domain of refugees). There would inevitably be some overlap between this category and minorities. The distinction would be either the fact of an established new abode or the intent to remain in it. This group in not represented in any formal organization such as the OIC or the League of Arab States.

Cutting across all three categories is the conventional distinction between Arabs and non-Arabs. Arabs constitute some 20 percent of the Muslim world. They live predominantly in the 22 nations which are members of the League of Arab States listed in the appendix to this essay.

Minorities living in dar al-harb make up about one third of the world' Muslim population. Although relevant today are conflicting an imprecise, some approximations may be ventured. The largest concentration of minorities is the 130 million Muslims in India, constituting about 12 percent of the total Indian population. Before the break up of the Soviet Union, some 15 percent of the population was Muslim. With the independence of the Central Asian Muslim republics the Muslim minority in Russia has been reduced to about 3 percent. China has a Muslim minority of 40 million or 4 percent of the population. In South Africa, Muslims constitute 3.5 percent of a total population of about 40 million. For the whole of Southern Africa, Muslims are 20 percent of the population.

The minorities in Europe have been discussed earlier in this essay in the context of anti-Muslim sentiment. The smallest Muslim minority is that of Japan 0.9 percent of the population follows Islam. In many states Muslim minorities are geographically dispersed. In others, such as China, Kashmir and the Philippines they are concentrated in a defined area determined largely by historical forces. In such instances they may constitute a majority in that specified territory (state or province) even though they are a minority in the nation as a whole. Of all the Muslims living in dar al-harb only the Muslims of the southern Ph8ilippines, Kashmir, Cyprus, Bosnia and to a lesser degree Eritrea, have sustained consistent dissonance with the majority regime over a period of years. Only Eritrea (once a part of Ethiopia) has successfully gained independence. The Republic of Northern Cyprus has achieved de fact independence but its de jure status ahs been recognized only by its sponsor, Turkey. The grievances of Muslims elsewhere, particularly in Europe are increasing but there are no moves for separateness.

Only recently has much systematic attention been given to the roles of Muslim minorities. The Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs was established in 1976 at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. Its excellent journal continues to be published in London. Internationals seminars on minorities have been held in London in 1978 in Sherbrooke, Canada in 1981 and in Perth, Australia in 1984. A growing body of literature is emerging and international body of specialists in Muslim minority problems has emerged with communication links and publishing outlets. The World Islamic Council for Propagation and Relief convened a seminar in London in January 1995 on minority problems. These developments will strengthen Muslim identity within each minority and may ultimately affect the manner in w which Muslims as minorities are treated in the non-Muslim states where they live. What is now needed is formal representation of minorities in such institutions as the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Whether or not new Muslim states will be created by secession or by boundary changes remains to be seen.
4. Refugees (Dar al-Muhajirin)
The problem of Muslim refugees which I have labeled dar al- muhajirin has received even less attention than minorities. Although the figures fluctuate rapidly, it is estimated that the number of refugees in 1994 approximates 23 million. Although it is impossible to determine accurately, my estimate would be that approximately 80 percent or about 18 million, area Muslims. The volatility of this figure is suggested by the fact that in early 1995 it was increased by more than 300 thousand Muslim refugees who fled Grozny, Chechnya as a result of Russian military action there. The largest groups of Muslim refugees their the Afghans (some 5.7 million) who fled their country for Pakistan, Iran Iraq, and elsewhere. The oldest and second largest group is the Palestinians numbering about 2 million, concentrated in Jordan, the west Bank and Gaza but scattered in a global Diaspora. Bihari Muslims trapped in Bangladesh because they are Urdu speaking citizens of Pakistan number about 200 thousand.

Refugees have a special status in Islam since the Prophet himself as a refugee fled from Makkah to Medina. From that date, 622 AD, the Muslim calendar begins. The living significance of this tradition is suggested by the comment of Brigadier Said Azhar who was Pakistan's Chief Commissioner for Refugees: {Pakistan's humanitarian gesture is influenced by a various Quranic injunctions on the treatment of migrants who forsake their homes for the sake of Allah. It is against this background that the people of Pakistan have shared property and poverty in the noble spirit of the first migration (hijra) of Muslims from Makkah to Median 14 centuries ago."
5. Cultural Diversity Within a Universal Islam
The quintessential of Islam command universal acceptance but the behavior and practices of Muslims living in distinctive political-cultural configurations differ. Certainly it can be said that all profess to believe in such canons as the absolute oneness of God (Taw'hid), the sacral status of the Holy Qur'an revealed by God through the Archangel Gabriel to the Prophet, the belief that there can be no prophet after Muhammad (Seal of the Prophet) and the Five Pillars of Faith: testimony of faith (Shahadah), prayer five times daily (salat), fasting during the month of Ramadan (siyam), tithing of income for charity (zakah) and pilgrimage to Makkah (hajj). The universality of these beliefs cuts across sectarian lines such as Sunni and Shia, (except for the seal of the Prophet), are embraced even by such a sect as the Ahmadiyyas who are regarded by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia , and others as heretical. These essentials of belief are shared by the four classic schools of law: Hanbali, Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafi.

The modality of Islam which prevails in Saudi Arabia is a blend of the Salafiyya movements of Muhammad Abduh and the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. The official view in Saudi Arabia is that neither the term Salafiyya nor the terms Wahabi is accurate. The belief that the creed of Saudi Arabia is simple Islam in its purest form is premised on several factors. First is the historical fact that it is the birthplace of the Prophet, the site where he received the Qur'an and where he lived, preached is buried. Second is the absence of a complex, institutionalized religious system existing prior to Islam. Pre-Islamic Arabia was, relatively, a tabula rasa, hence the Islam which emerged was not seriously conditioned or modified by a competing system. Lastly, there was virtually no colonial influence in Saudi Arabia. The rule of the Ottomans in the Hejaz was Muslim rule, as the influence of Aramco in Al-Hasa had no effect on Islam. The encrustations of Ottoman Islam were expunged by the purifying movement of Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab in the 1740's. The relative pristinity of Islam in Saudi Arabia becomes evident upon comparison with Islamic behavior elsewhere.

The two most powerful modifying influences on Muslim societies have been colonial rule and preexisting cultures. By its very existence the superordinate subordinate relationship of colonialism eroded confidence in Islamic culture. Imperial hubris elevated values of the metropolitan powers. In some realms, particularly the French to a lesser degree the British, Dutch and Italian, the consequent dialectic came perilously close to the substitution of one culture for another. French rule in North Africa and the Levant has produced a blend of French and Arab culture unique to the area. In architecture, ambience and social customs, for example, Lebanon, especially Beirut, was more French than Islamic. The introduction of grape cultivation and the manufacture of wine in North Africa is a symbol of this departure from orthodox Islamic teaching. In Turkey secularization was due not to the influence of an occupying colonial power but to the emulation of European culture by the charismatic influence of Kendal Ataturk. In India and Indonesia, Islamic behavior was affected by a powerful Hindu culture. In India and Pakistan today one finds fakirs, pirs, veneration of saints and graves which are proscribed in Saudi Arabia There is a mystic quality derived perhaps from Sufism, Hinduism, and pre-Islamic Zoroastrianism of Persia which colors behavior of village Islam sufficiently to justify a classification which some analysts have call "Indic Islam". In Indonesia the mysticism residing in the rich Hindu art, drama, and music of Java have profoundly influenced Islam. The rise of Schism to be the state religion in Iran may well have been influenced by pre-Islamic Persia. The inclination to strong monarchy in the form of kinship and in the power of the imam and the ayatollah, the sense of hierarchy, the love of regal splendor and panoply had all been glorified in the Persia of Cyrus. Indeed the receptivity of Persia to Shiite Islam may have been conditioned by these very factors in ancient Persia. Peter J. Chelkowski and Ehsan Yarshater suggest that the elaborate veneration of Hussein and the theme of redemption through sacrifice and self-immolation had parallels in ancient Persia.

Egypt has had a mixed cultural colonial legacy as complex as that of Iran. The Islamic domination, starting with the 7th century AD, grafted politico-religious authoritarianism on ancient Pharaonic culture which had the same emphasis. The twelve year period of Napoleonic rule (1789-1801_ encouraged a sense of nationalism and introduced elements of French law and bureaucratic organization. During the next period of rule under Mohammed Ali, large numbers of foreigners were brought in from Britain, France and Turkey to provide technical assistance When the British assumed control in 1182 until Egyptian independence in 1922, there was massive infusion of British norms and institutions of government. Much of what was introduced came by ways of India where the British already had long experience in colonial rule. We thus see in Egypt one of the world's oldest universities and regarded by many as the global center of Islamic scholarship. This cultural duality is also manifest by the existence of an uncommonly robust Islamic militancy seriously challenging government and political stability.

Sectarian divisions in Islam are neither as pronounced or as numerous as those in Christianity. The 1995 World Almanac lists 167 Christian denominations in the United States alone. Baptists appear to be the most fractious, with 21 distinct persuasions. The doctrinal differences within Christianity are profound. These range from the orthodox literal interpretation of scripture to belief in scripture as metaphor and myth. The spectrum includes trinitarianism and unitarianism; the liturgies embrace the sumptuous, ornate splendors of the Orthodox and Catholic traditions as well as the simplicity of the Quakers and Moravians. And within the Christian embrace lie the doctrines and practices of Christian Science and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

When we compare the fact that Islam embraces no deviation from its quintessential with the divisions in Christianity, it is misleading to use the term "sect" (which describes Christian divisions) to characterized Muslim differences. The term "modalities" in the Islamic context seems more appropriate.

The major division is that of the Sunni and Shia with the Sunni claiming about 85 percent. Shiism, the state religion of Iran also claims about 30 percent of the population of Pakistan. Nearly half the population of Iraq is Shia although the regime of Saddam Hussein is Sunni. The Alawi, a branch of the Shia, is the ruling elite under Jafiz al-Asad in Syria; the Shiites are a significant minority in Lebanon and a small minority (about 200 thousand) on the east coast of Saudi Arabi. The principal difference between these two modalities lies in the role of the religious leaders, imams, and especially the position of the ayatollah. This is linked to the notion of occultation, i.e. that certain imams, and have gone into hiding and may reappear at critical moments. This is a mystical aspect of Shiism which is rejected by the Sunni. Shiism emerged in about 632 AD from disagreement about leadership in Islam after the death of the Prophet. The dominant belief was that the leadership should be elected by the followers of the Prophet; this group became known as Sunni. Others, who felt the leadership should pass by inheritance to Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad and thence to his sons Hassan and Hussein, became known as Shiites. The defining moment came wit the brutal assassination of Hussein in 680 AD in Kerbala (in modern Iraq). This event is commemorated with great fervor in Shiite communities with processions, self-flagellatation and religions plays depicting the assassination.

Shiism is divided into several branches including the Alawites, the Zaidis (mostly in Yemen) and the Kharajites (in some parts of North Africa). The Ismaeli Shiites scattered throughout the world and headed by their imam Prince Karim Kahn whose headquarters is in Geneva, concentrate on philanthropy for social causes. They deplore the emphasis in much of Islam on scriptural exegetics. They have given much developmental aid to social enterprises in remote areas and have established a Medical Center and College in Karachi which has become on of the most modern medical facilities in the Middle East. They do not typically enter politics or government service, hence are not a disruptive force in Muslim societies.

It is the Shiva regime of Iran with its hegemonic impulse in Central Asia and Lebanon and its growing military and nuclear capability which is of concern to other Muslim regimes as well as to some Western countries. Where once the Shiites were regarded with disdain and even condescension by Sunnis, they are now viewed with apprehension, even fear, particularly in the Gulf States. These feelings have little to do with Islamic doctrine; like the origins of Shi' ism centuries ago, they have everything to do with power politics.

Another variation in modality is a group known as the Ahamdiyyas (also called Mirzai and Qadiani) named for their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and for his abode -the village of Qadian in India. This group flourished in Pakistan but was declared "non-Muslim" by the National Assembly in 1974 because it violated the "Seal of the Prophet" by professing that its founder was a prophet following Mohammed. Ironically, the Ahmadiyyas have been zealous missionaries, especially in Africa and have been staunch practitioners of Islam wherever they have settled.

Cutting across these modalities, although found mostly among the Sunnis, is a tradition of Islamic mysticism called Sufism. The Sufis seek, either through asceticism or ecstatic experience such as dance, song or meditation, a direct communion with God. Sufis, found throughout the Muslim world, are a significant influence in Islam.

In addition to these modalities several schools of law emerged during the two centuries after Muhammad's death in 633 AD. The four most prominent schools, named for their founders who were influential scholars of Islam are followed today. These schools, mentioned earlier, differ with respect to the degree of reliance on hadith, on the reliability of hadith, and emphasis on consensus or on reason and analogy interpreting the Qur'an. Differences in the law of inheritance and marriage requirements have also emerged through the years. There is no deviation from the quintessentials of the faith. A Muslim army may follow any school or all schools of law. Saudi Arabia recognizes the validity of all four schools in its Shari'a courts.

Another powerful and persuasive indicator of the complexity of the Muslim world and the force of couture as a modifier of behavior is ethnographic and linguistic diversity. Arabic is the language of the Qur'an; although it is translated into all major languages. Prayers are often recited in Arabic by non-Arabic speaking Muslims but Arabic not the language of common use beyond the 22 Arab states or Arab communities in other states. Hundreds of other languages are spoken by Muslims: Persian, Urdu, Malayan, Swahili, Bengali, Turkish, and Berber, to name but a few. These languages are derived from several different linguistic families and have different (though sometimes related) scripts. Strenuous efforts have been made to teach Arabic in all Muslim configurations, but cannot be said that it is anywhere new universal in use.

Richard V. Weekes identifies some 300 distinct ethnic groups wholly or partly Muslim. He describes in detail 96 such groups whose Muslim populations exceed 100,000. These 96 groups include more than 92 percent of the world's Muslims. These groups are not necessarily internal religious minorities, but are distinctive ethnic communities, sometimes speaking different language from the majority in the country where they live. Often their domicile goes beyond national boundaries.

To illustrate the enormous cultural diversity of these ethnic groups, I have selected four: Berbers, Kurds, Tatars, Kashmiris, each of contemporary geopolitical importance. Each group reveals markedly different political and cultural configurations. Finally I describe briefly the five ethnic groups with Pakistan, a Muslim nation-state perennially agitated by ethno-linguistic difference.

Among the largest and most distinctive of such groups are the Berbers of North Africa, concentrated mainly in Morocco (34 percent of the population), Algeria (22 percent), Libya (5 percent), and Tunisia (3 percent). The Berbers' pre-Islamic veneration of saints has modified their contemporary practices. Some of their religious leaders (marabouts) are thought to have supernatural powers and are accorded the same saintly veneration.

Another such group is the Kurds living mainly in turkey (10 million), Iran (5 million), Iraq (3.5 million), and Syria (1 million). Armenia and Azerbaijan each have about 10 thousand Kurds. There is also an indeterminate number, probably a 100 thousand, in the Russian Federation. Most of the Kurds are Sunni, although in Iran and parts of Iraq there are Shia minorities. Of all the Muslim ethnic groups, the Kurds are the most deserving of a separate homeland. Revolts to establish autonomy in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey have not been successful. The Kurds' hopes raised by the Gulf War which they thought would establish an autonomous Kurdistan did not materialize. Instead, a zone north of the 36th parallel was established in Iraq, with UN forces protecting that zone from Iraqi incursions. Turkish pursuit of the PKK, a Kurdish guerilla faction, across the Iraqi border in April 1995 suggests the complexity of the problem. The Kurds continue to press for autonomy, but because this would mean transfer of territory from all four countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey) to create Kurdistan this does not seem likely in the foreseeable future.

The Tatars are noteworthy here because of their new relationship with the Russian Federatio9n established by treaty in 1994 defining their status as one of 21 autonomous republics in the Federation. The Republic of Tatarstan flies its own flag, elects its own president and enjoys a large measure of autonomy just short of national sovereignty. Descendants of the Tatar-Mongols of Manchuria, some 6 million Muslim Tatars are scattered throughout the former Soviet Union of the 3.7 million people in Tatarstan, Muslim Tatars only slightly outnumber ethnic Russians. Unlike other Muslim enclaves, Tatar Muslims have intermarried extensively with ethnic Russians and other non-Muslims. Their orthodoxy and fidelity to traditional Muslim behavior is somewhat more relaxed than found elsewhere. In the past several years, there has been an Islamic revival manifest in the restoration or construction of mosques and distribution of copies of the Qur'an. Tatarstan, one of the most highly developed republics in the Russian Federation, has a level of industrialization which compares favorably with industrialized parts of Russia. One of the reasons Russia has crushed the independence movement of Chechnya, another Muslim autonomous republic, is the fear that Tatarstan might follow Chechnya's example. To lose Tatarstan, in the hear of Russia only 400 miles east of Moscow, would be more serious than losing Chechnya, on the southern edge of Russia in the Caucasus. While Tatarstan has protested Russia's action in Chechnya, there is little sentiment to secede from the Federation.

The case of Kashmir is even more complex. Kashmiris are a distinctive ethnic group, largely Sunni with a long history of independence until the British sold the territory to a Hindu Dogra chieftain, Gulab Singh. Though subdivided by topography into enclaves, some Buddhist and Hindu, the area was predominantly Muslim under British rule it became a princely state, ruled by a Hindu maharajah, but usually with a Muslim prime minister. On August 15, 1947, when the Indian subcontinent was partitioned into independent India and Pakistan, Kashmir delayed in deciding to join either. Under the terms of the Radcliffe Boundary Settlement, Kashmir would have normally acceded to Pakistan since its population was 76 percent Muslim and it was contiguous to Pakistan. During a two-month period of indecision, an incursion of Pakistani freedom fighters into Kashmir led the Maharajah to ask India's help in repelling this force. India refused until the Maharajah agreed to accede to India. The Instrument of Accession was signed October 26, 1947 and the Indian army and air force entered the conflict. Pakistani forces were pushed north to roughly the 35th parallel, leaving two thirds of Kashmir, including the Vale, Ladakh and Jammu under Indian control. Hostilities continued until a cease-fire was arranged by the United Nations, whose observers are still stationed along the cease-fire line. A plebiscite, to which India and Pakistan agreed, would undoubtedly have resulted in accession to Pakistan. India refused to hold the plebiscite until Pakistan withdrew its forces from the northern one-third. Pakistan refused to do so and established a separate state of Azad Kashmir, closely linked to Islamabad. Since then, three wars between India and Pakistan have been rough; India is adamant in the view that Kashmir is an integral part of India and considers the matter closed. Some 1.5 million Kashmir refugees are in Pakistan and nearly half a million are scattered throughout the world. The flight of Muslims and the in-migration of Hindus have changed then demographic composition somewhat. The latest census lists some 65 percent Muslim as compared with the 76 percent of 1947. Tens of thousands of Kashmiris have been killed as the Indian army has tightened its grip on the area. No resolution is in sight.

Pakistan is the outstanding example of a nation-state embracing five distinct major ethnic groups and hundreds of sub-groups. These groups are Punjabi, Pathan, Sindhi, Baluchi and Muhajir (urdu-speaking refugees from India). A sixth major group, Bengali separated from Pakistan in 1971, creating the new Muslim state of Bangladesh. Each of these groups has Muslim state of Bangladesh. Each of these groups has its own language, literature, lifestyle and way of dress. The Pathans of the Northwest Frontier are ethnic Afghans whose traditions and languages are closer to Afghanistan than to their eastern neighbor, the Punjab. Never completely subdued by the British, they remain today a distinctive entity part of which is governed by the Frontier Crimes Regulations and its jirga system of justice rather than by the British legal system found in the rest of Pakistan. The Baluchi of Baluchistan are also a frontier tribal people with their won language, Brahui, and customs closer to the Baluchi of Iran and the Pathans than to the Punjabis. In the southern province of Sindh, the ethnic problem is aggravated by the presence of thousands of refugees from India who speak Urdu rather than Sindhi. The resentment of the two groups for each other has led to political upheaval, and near anarchy, from which there seems to be no escape. The most serious ethnic trauma was the long-festering resentment of the Bengalis of East Pakistan, whose culture, climate, geography and personal temperament were more closely akin to Southeast Asia rather than to West Pakistan. The language differential was especially critical. Bengali is an ancient language with a written form derivative from Sanskrit. Its literature, especially poetry, is rich and profound. The dominant language of West Pakistan is Urdu whose script is a combination of Persian and Arabic. The Punjabi, Sindhi, Brahui and Pushtu vernaculars share this same base. The case of Pakistan is especially significant because it marks the triumph of ethnicity over religion. Not even Islam and the latent force of amah could keep Pakistan united. The separation of the Bengalis may also be prelude to further fragmentation of the remaining five ethnic communities.

Another factor influencing cultural behavioral patterns is the impact of the dominant culture on minority Muslims, particularly in Europe and North America. This ahs become a matter of serious concern to first generation Muslim immigrants who see their children and grandchildren subjected to values which Islam regards as evil: teenage pregnancy, sexual promiscuity, abortion, drug dependency, immodesty of dress, rejection of religious values, pornography. Organizations like the Islamic Society of North America, the World Muslim League and the European Muslim council have taken vigorous measure to deal with this problem.
6.Internal Minorities
The perception of a monolithic Islamic community is further dimmed by the presence of non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim states. Islamic law is rich in its empathy for and protection of such minorities. Islam recognizes the special status of members of Judaism and Christianity as "People of the Book" (ahl al-kitab): those who believe in the sacred status of the Old Testament. Such persons (dhimmis or kitabis), for example, are allowed in a non-Muslim state to recite the authorized prayer at the halal slaughter of animals for food. They are guaranteed the right to worship, to vote and to hold government positions. Exceptions can be made if such activities are inimical to the Muslim nature of the society. Under this rubric, some Muslim states restrict freedom of worship and the right of non-Muslims to hold office.

Christians are a numerically significant minority in Muslim states. It is estimated that in the Middle East alone there are some 12 million or 10 percent of the population. Lebanon, before the civil war, had a Christian population of nearly 40 percent of the total. Egypt has about 8 million Copts and Syria about one million Christians. About 10 percent of the Palestinian Diaspora is Christian. Pakistan for many years had a devout Roman Catholic, A.R. Cornelius, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Its Roman Catholic minority, largely of Goan ancestry, is led by Joseph Cardinal Cordeiro. The valuable properties of both the Catholic and the Anglican churches, although in some cases unused, have never been threatened with expropriation. Jordan also has a Christian community and its Foreign Minister, Dr. Kamal Abu Jaber, is a Christian. Iraq, which is about three percent Christian (largely Chaldean, Nestorian, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) has a Chaldean Christian, Tariq Aziz, as Deputy Prime Minister. In Egypt, a Coptic Christian, Boutros Boutros Ghali, was Deputy Prime Minister prior to his appointment as United Nations Secretary General. Morocco has flourishing Jewish and Christian communities. Turkey, as an avowedly secular state with strong European leanings, is tolerant of its Christian minority. It is true that these minorities live in societies with an overwhelming Muslim ethos and are often not confident of their status as dhimmis. The traditions of Islamic law are their sole protection. To be sure, this tolerance is not practiced in all Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia does not allow separate buildings for worship by non-Muslims. The Bahai' s, a sect originating in Persia, have been banned in Muslims states as heretical. This is because they have violated a cardinal principle of Islam in their belief in a prophet after Muhammad. The radical states of Libya and the Sudan has experienced acts of violence against non-Muslims. Egypt ahs had difficulty controlling terrorist acts against Coptic Christians. Perhaps the principal advantage of the Christian minorities in Muslim states is their network of influence with Christians in the West. This makes for improved understanding of the Muslim condition and may moderate perceptions of the non-Muslim world.

Christian influence on the Middle East has been profound. The American University of Beirut established in 1866 as Protestant College and the Catholic (Jesuit) University of Saint Joseph established in Beirut in 1881 have trained much of the medical, scientific, political and intellectual leadership of the Middle East. Robert College in Istanbul has had similar though lesser influence. The leadership elites trained at these institutions have not necessarily been Christian. On the contrary, most have been Muslim. Arab churches in the Middle East have been influential bridges between Muslims and Christians. Frank Sakran a representative for the Greek Orthodox (Arab) Church to the World Council of Churches has been particularly effective. In the United States Archbishop Philip E. Saliba, Primate of the Atiochian Orthodox Christian Church of North America, heads the influential Standing Conference of Middle Eastern and Christian leaders. Libya's Muammar al-Qadafi, not usually portrayed in the American press as a conciliatory figure, has spoken and acted in behalf of Muslim-Christian understanding.
7.Differences in Polity
The 52 Islamic nations, thought bonded in the metaphysical realm by common religious belief, are widely separated by differences in state polity. Those differences have been induced or aggravated by colonial rule and by post-colonial enmeshment in a web of new imperialism now cultural and economic. Weak or embryonic political structures cannot easily sustain a polity which is truly indigenous and in harmony with its own cultural and historical circumstances when it is subjected to the transnational commercial and cultural dynamism of the United States, a radiating power of enormous energy and hubris. Nor is robust resistance possible when the web of dependency is upon with threads of gold poised to break unless externally formulated standards of political structure and behavior are met. The greater the integration of Muslim polities with the world at large, the greater the dependence on technologically advanced systems and the greater the threat to distinctive indigenous religious and cultural values. Differing political systems are also the consequences of varying perceptions of the nature on an Islamic state and often of amateurish flirtation with Western political concepts and structures. These include single party and multi-party systems, parliamentary and presidential patterns, unicameral and bicameral legislatures, judicial review, socialism communism, capitalism, and free versus controlled market economies. Even such flirtatious experiments cannot be independent for they are enmeshed in the web of political systems left by colonial rule. That web is too tightly woven to permit escape. The result is a veritable kaleidoscopic display of governmental systems. A few examples of the variations are illustrative.

Pakistan, subjected to the triple trauma of two centuries of British rule, separation from India, and the secession of East Pakistan (to become Bangladesh) is an extreme case. It had four constitutions, thus rearranging the crucial relationship of space, power and culture four times. It had two periods of martial law and massive infusion of American technical assistance. Two heroic efforts were made to escape the web of dependence on the West. The first was the decade (1958-1969) old experiment in Basic Democracies initiated during the regime of Ayub Khan. The second was the ten-year (1977-1987) political structure, Nizam-I-Mustafa (Way of the Prophet) evolved in the regime of Zia ul-Haq. Both were courageous and brilliant efforts to throw off colonial and post -colonial intervention and establish and indigenous polity. The Basic Democracies scheme attracted favorable worldwide attention and had it continued longer it might well have been a model for other developing countries. The fall of the government of Ayub Khan and his replacement first by Yayha Khan then by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the distraction of the secession of East Pakistan brought about the demise of this notable experiment. Nizam-I-Mustafa was a different scheme which sought to evolve an Islamic polity through serious efforts to revise the legal system I accordance with Shari' a. While this was popular with such groups as the Jammat-I-Islami, it was resisted by others of a more secular persuasion. In any even Nizam-I-Mustafa collapsed with the death of Zia ul-Haq in a mysterious airplane crash in 1988 in which the Unite States ambassador Arnold Raphael, was also killed. The successor governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and no interest in the creation of the their predecessor. The faltering remnant of the parliamentary system introduced under British colonial rule has proved incapable of coping effectively wit the horrendous problems of refugees and bitter regional feuds.

Saudi Arabia is at the other end of the spectrum of comparison. Its religious, linguistic and ethnic cohesion is unmatched. It did not experience colonial rule, hence did not suffer from a disarticulation created by the forced imposition of foreign norms and institutions. In the context of comfortable wealth it constructed its own polity with the Qur'an and as its constitution. It did not have to struggle to reconcile British or French law with Islamic law. It functioned under Islamic law (shari'a), selectively integrating extraneous elements to meet new needs. It built institutions before it expanded political participation and then gradually evolved an appointed representative system (majlis al-Shura) in 1993. The Saudi polity cannot be fitted into Western categories. Neither an absolute monarchy nor a constitutional monarchy of British pattern, it is as nearly indigenous as can be found.

Iran's polity has a similar indigenous quality, achieved by a different course. The first difference is its history of imperial greatness dating back to Cyrus and Darius in the 6th century BC. There followed waves of Greek, Parthian, Roman and Arab conquest. By 650 AD the Sassanid Empire fell to the Arabs and indigenous Zoroastrianism was replaced by Islam. A long period of Muslim dynasties evolved into constitutional government in the early 20 the century. There then followed a period of monarchical rule under Reza Shah and his successor, Pahlavi Shah. Throughout much of this history the idea of monarchy and intense feelings of devotion to Shia Islam were dominant. In the twentieth century, until 1979, the cultural influence of the West, especially France, Britain and the United States were important. The Khomeini revolution was a drastic effort to establish an indigenous polity. It almost totally detached that polity from the ideological premises and economic and political structures of the international state system of the West. By emphasizing its predominantly non-Arab ethnicity and its Shiite Islam, it has distanced itself somewhat from the ideology and transactions of the Islamic ummah. Its development in the twentieth century ahs been marked also by its relative wealth rather than abject poverty. Like Saudi Arabia, Iran has thus developed an Islamic system of government. Unlike the futile efforts in Pakistan, it has done so by disengaging from along, rich and complicated past of foreign influence. But its tactic was revolution rather than gradualism and thus far it ahs successfully forged a relatively indigenous political system.

The Indonesian case is characterized by the penetrating influence of Hinduism. Western constitutional government, learned from Dutch colonial rule, did not penetrate as deeply as British tutelage in India. There was no imperial pat as in Iran, or an indigenous Islamicity as in Saudi Arabia. Islam was dominant since the 14th century, but was not exclusive; Hinduism still prevailed in many parts. The post-colonial period, starting with 1948 under Sukarno and continued under Soharto, has been dominated by a unique brand of secularism tinged with Islam. The ideology of Pancasila is the national civil religion and is part of the 1945 constitution under which Indonesia is ruled. The five principles of Pancasila, nationalism, humanity (internationalism), consultation (democracy), social justice, and belief in a Supreme Beijing, effectively separate the secular and the sacerdotal, and equation difficult for Muslims to accept. By making adjustments in the applicability of Islam in family law, the pluralistic, secular structure ahs endured and Islam, while not enjoying cultural exclusivity, continues to exist as the religion of 90 percent of the population.

Other mutations in forms of government in Muslim states, while not as striking as the examples give n above, are equally revealing. Morocco and Jordan have variation s of constitutional monarchy. Libya's Muammar al-Qadafi has invented and "Islamic Arabic Socialist mass-State". Syria and Iraq live in the somewhat distorted shadows of discarded monarchy created by the British and the indigenous socialist ideology of Michel Alfaq. The Baathist legacy of Aflaq has taken a different turning each but a brutal dictatorship of a Sunni minority (Iraq) and a Shia/Alawite minority (Syria) characterizes both. Malaysia, with a slight majority Muslim population and a long history of British rule, has evolved its own form of government based on a blend of kinship and parliamentary government. Each state has its own sultan. The sultans become head (Yand di-Pertuan Agong) of Malaysia for fixed terms in order of seniority. There is a strong party system and elections to parliament. Under the prime masterships of Dr Mhathsir, the Islamic nature of society is given prominence, but under different, less intensely Muslim leadership, Islam would have a dominant role.

In the struggle to relate Islam to a polity Muslim states must cope with pre-Islamic indigenous heritage, experience of colonial rule, international influences of the economy and culture, indigenous Islamic forces and relations with the Muslim ummah. There is no common agreement among then as to what constitutes an Islamic state.
8.Religoiuos Complementarities
The relationship of three monotheistic Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is not necessarily one of mutual antagonism. Certainly the theological connections are evident and have been analyzed in an enormous volume of literature. Earlier parts of this essay described Islam's special consideration of ahl al-kitab, people of the book: Jews and Christians. All three religions share a common respect, even reverence, for Old Testament prophets. The naming of Muslims for the Prophets should not go unnoticed, though it maybe obscured by Arabization. Moses becomes Musa; Abraham: Ibrahim; Solomon: Sulyman; Mary: Maryam; David: Daoud; Jesus: Issa; John: Yayha; Joseph: Yusif, to name but a few. The complementarities with Christianity include belief in the virgin birth of Christ, though not in the resurrection, crucifixion, ascension nor in the Trinity of divinity of Christ. Muslims are attentive to if no celebratory of Christmas. Prince Bandar, the current Saudi ambassador to the United States, sends Christmas cards in Arabic with an English translation of part of Sura (chapter) 3 of the Qur'an called Al-Iran sura, which describes the angel's announcement to Mary of the coming virgin birth of Christ. Perhaps the best way to demonstrate both the adherence to this belief and to the sanctified literalism of the Qur'an is to relate the experience of the American Unitarian clergyman, Moncure D. Conway. In 1905 Conway met in Calcutta with a group of "Brahmans, Brahmos, Moslems and Parsis" to discuss religious and philosophical subjects. One of the Brahman asked his opinion about the "miraculous birth of Christ." Conway responded that he regarded it like the legend of the virgin-born deity of the Hooghly River, ".... a story of mythological and poetic interest but not to be regarded as historical." The Brahman said that was also his opinion of both events. Conway then continues to relate this revealing exchange: "The Moslems, of whom there were a dozen of high rank in the room, had said nothing and I remarked that I would like to hear their opinion. Thereupon the Moslems bent their richly turbaned heads together in private consultation. At length one of them arose and said that they all felt 'bound to accept the narrative just as it stands in the New Testament." Conway concluded that t= "the Moslems were the only orthodox Christians present". Elsewhere in his study of religions Conway had found the same views. In Colombo he had concluded that the "Moslems are not Christians, but the only ones in the East who maintain literally all of the miracles ascribed to Christ in the gospels or related to his birth. It is very rare to find among them a sceptic."

This view of the Qur'an and hence the historicity of Christ's birth is as prevalent today as it was in Conway's time. This can be illustrated by an event in England in 1993. A British television series, Spitting Image, featured a rubber puppet of Jesus styled as a hippie. The Ahmadiyya Muslim association protested, pointing out that Muslims revered Jesus and that those responsible for the television series should be severely punished. The puppet was withdrawn. The producer said that he had discussed the puppet with Church of England leaders who regarded it as "innocuous." The Muslim' committee said that the Anglican clergy "should be heartened by the leadership provided by British Muslims in protesting [Christian} blasphemy."

The only predominantly Muslim country in Europe is the newly independent, tragically beleaguered nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The brutal massacre of Muslim Bosnians by Orthodox Christian Serbs serves as a chilling backdrop for the projection of Muslim-Christian relations. Yet the Muslim Bosnian President, Alija Ali Izetbegovic, wrote prophetically that kinship between Islam and Christianity ahs been overlooked. "Their kinship, if we draw all the necessary conclusions from it, could direct the relations of these tow great world religions to an entirely new dimension in the future. ...As Islam in the past was the intermediary between the ancient cultures and the West, it must again today, in a time of dramatic dilemmas and alternatives, shoulder its role as intermediary nation in a divided world. This is the meaning of the third way, the Islamic way."

The importance of the kinship is reflected in the establishment of new academic structures. Among them is the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Selly Oak College in Birmingham, England. The Centre publishes Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations semi-annually. In the Unites States, Georgetown University established the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding in 1993.

Relations between Jews and Muslims have not always been hostile. There were times in Islamic history, especially during Muslim ascendancy in Spain (711-1212 AD) when Jews were well treated and often sought Muslim sanctuary from Christian persecution. The Jewish historian, Mark Cohen, asserts that Jews fared better in the Muslim world and challenges the "counter myth of Islamic persecution" that ahs prevailed since the Six-Day War of 1967. The sentiment of Muslim states towards Jews is a political statement about Zionism, the establishment of Israel, the displacement of Palestinians, control of Jerusalem and the third holiest site in Islam: Al Quds al-Haram (the Dome of the Rock). Inevitably this political sentiment, brewing for half a century, translates into attitudes towards Jews as people. But historically this has not been the root cause. It is conceivable that with the achievement of a just Middle East peace settlement, Jewish-Muslim relations will improve and that the constantly invoked them of "Judaeo-Christian" tradition will be expanded to "Judaeo-Christian-Islamic".

The values and ethical systems of these three Abrahamic monotheisms are quintessentially compatible despite some theological differences and varying interpretations of scripture and history. In the face of what appears to be the disintegration of Western civilization, comparable, the apocalyptics tell us, to the fall of Rome, a unified front of all otherworldly perspectives is needed. The start has been made in Jewish-Christian and Christian-Muslim relations. Now the urgent need is for a similar Jewish-Muslim reconciliation.