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When the Soviet Union collapsed, and the human race found itself with only one superpower, the bipolar world ended. Did that help or hinder globalization? Politically the Cold War was indeed a globalizing experience. Who ruled poverty-stricken Somalia became a matter of strategic significance for policymakers in Moscow and Washington. In June 1960 the whole world was brought to attention because an ill-disciplined African army in the former Belgian Congo had mutinied. In 1998 - with the Cold War ended - eight African armies were fighting each other in the same territory of the Congo and the rest of the world could not care less. The end of the Cold War had disglobalized the strategic value of the Congo in a political sense.

But while politically the Cold War itself was a globalizing experience, economically the Cold War created walls against free trade and the free movement of capital between the two sides of the Iron Curtain. Indeed, communism in the Soviet Union and among other members of the Warsaw Pact was a highly protectionist ideology which inhibited the forces of economic and technological exchange. To that extent the Cold War was economically a hindrance to globalization - in spite of being politically and strategically a stimulus to globalization. In short, the Cold War was globalization-friendly in global politics but hostile to globalization in terms of the world economy.

But while the bipolar world as we have known it has ended in the 1990s, bipolar single societies or nations are still part of the international scene. But what are those bipolar nations? Bipolar societies are those which have two external poles or magnets which command the allegiance of different segments of the internal population. Thus Northern Ireland since the 1920s has been a bipolar society - since the Protestant part of the population has been strongly pulled toward identification with the Irish Republic. Did the Cold War while it lasted contribute toward the polarization between the Irish Republican Army (often ideologically radical in its Irish nationalism) and the pro-British Protestant Unionists?

Cyprus has also been a bipolar society - with Turkish-Cypriots identifying with Turkey and Greek-Cypriots with Greece. Curiously enough, the fact that Greece and Turkey were on the same side in the Cold War (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) did not reduce polarization in Cyprus. Northern Ireland and Cyprus are not only bipolar in their external orientation. They are also dual (rather than plural) societies in their domestic composition. A dual society is one in which only two groups in the society account for over eighty percent of the population. As contrasted with plural societies, dual societies have a higher propensity toward stalemate and polarization (as in Cyprus), or total break-up (as in the dual society of the Old Czechoslovakia) or large-scale violence (as in the dual societies of Rwanda and Burundi in central Africa). A society can be dual internally and not be bipolar in its external orientation. The old Czechoslovakia was dual - but was not really bipolar in its external orientation. It broke up in the wake of the end of the Cold War into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Did it collapse because of the end of the Cold War?

Rwanda and Burundi are domestically dual societies, but are not yet bipolar in the external orientation of the Hutu and Tutsi. However, there are signs of the beginnings of bipolarization. Afghanistan is internally plural, but at the moment it is externally bipolar toward Pakistan, on one side, and Iran, on the other. The cold War had once plunged Afghanistan into the trauma of Soviet occupation, and later war against the Soviet Union. The external bipolarity which affected the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic after independence from Spain was the magnet of Morocco, on one side, and Algeria, on the other. This particular bipolarity does not seem to have been affected by the Cold War or its end.

Let us now turn to the challenge of a definition. What is after all "globalization"? It consists of processes which lead toward global interdependence and increasing rapidity of exchange across vast distances. The word "globalization" is itself quite new, but the actual processes toward global interdependence and exchange started centuries ago. Four forces have been major engines behind globalization across time. These have been religion, technology, economy and empire. These have not necessarily acted separately, but have often reinforced each other. For example, the globalization of Christianity started with the conversion of Emperor Constantine I of Rome in 313 A.D. The religious conversion of the head of an empire started the process under which Christianity became the dominant religion not only of Europe but also of many other societies thousands of miles from where the religion started.

The globalization of Islam began not with converting a ready-made empire, but with building an empire almost from scratch. The Umayyads and Abbasids put together bits of other people's empires (former Byzantine Egypt and former Zoroastrian Persia, for example) and created a whole new civilization.

Voyages of exploration were another major stage in the process of globalization. Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus in the fifteenth century opened up a whole new chapter in the history of globalization. Economy and empire were the major motives. There followed the migration of people symbolized by the Mayflower. The migration of the Pilgrim Fathers was in part a response to religious and economic imperatives. Demographic globalization reached its height in the Americas with the influx of millions of people from other hemispheres. In time the population of the United States became a microcosm of the population of the world - with immigrants from every society on earth.

The industrial revolution in Europe from the eighteenth century onwards was another major chapter in the history of globalization. A marriage between technology and economics resulted in levels of productivity previously unknown in the annals of man. Europe's prosperity whetted its appetite for new worlds to conquer. The Atlantic slave trade was accelerated, moving millions of Africans from one part of the world to another. Europe's appetite also went imperial on a global scale. The British built the largest and most far-flung empire in human experience. Most of it lasted until the end of World War II.

The two World Wars were themselves manifestations of globalization. The twentieth century is the only century which has witnessed globalized warfare - one from 1914 to 1918 and the other from 1939 to 1945. The Cold War was another manifestation of globalization (1948-1989) because it was powerrivalry on a global scale between two alliances, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact. While the two World Wars were militarily the most destructive empirically the Cold War was the most dangerous potentially. The Cold War carried the seeds of planetary annihilation in the nuclear field.

The final historical stage of globalization came when the industrial revolution was mated with the new information revolution. Interdependence and exchange became dramatically computerized. The most powerful single country by this time was the United States. Pax Americana mobilized three of the four engines of globalization - technology, economy and empire. Pax Americana in the second half of the twentieth century did not directly seek to promote a particular religion - but it did help to promote secularism and the ideology of separating church from state. On balance, the impact of Americanization has probably been harmful to religious values worldwide - whether intended or not. Americanized Hindu youth, Americanized Buddhist teenagers or Americanized Muslim youngsters are far less likely to be devout to their faiths than nonAmericanized ones.


This brings us to the twin-concepts of homogenization and hegemonization. One of the consequences of globalization is that we are getting to be more and more alike across the world every decade. Homogenization is increasing similarity. The second accompanying characteristic of globalization is hegemonization - the paradoxical concentration of power in a particular country or in a particular civilization. While "homogenization" is the process of expanding homogeneity, "hegemonization" is the emergence and consolidation of the hegemonic center.

With globalization there have been increasing similarities between and among the societies of the world. But this trend has been accompanied by disproportionate global power among a few countries. As the twentieth century comes to a close people dress more alike all over the world than they did at the end of the nineteenth century (Homogenization). But the dress code which is getting globalized is overwhelmingly the Western dress code (Hegemonization). Indeed, the man's suit (Western) has become almost universalized in all parts of the world. And the jeans' revolution has captured the youth dress culture of half the globe.

At the end of the twentieth century the human race is closer to having world languages than it was in the nineteenth century; if by a world language we mean one which has at least three-hundred million speakers, has been adopted by at least ten countries as a national language, has spread to at least two continents as a major language, and is widely used in four continents for special purposes (Homogenization). However, when we examine the languages which have been globalized, they are disproportionately European - especially English and French, and to a lesser extent, Spanish (Hegemonization). Arabic is putting forward a strong claim as a world language, but partly because of the globalization of Islam and the role of Arabic as a language of Islamic ritual.

At the end of the twentieth century we are closer to a world economy than we have ever been before in human history. A sneeze in Hong Kong, and certainly a cough in Tokyo can send shock waves around the globe (Homogenization). And yet the powers who control this world economy are disproportionately Western. They are the G-7: The United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Italy in that order of economic muscle (Hegemonization).

At the end of the twentieth century the Internet has given us instant access to both information and mutual communication across large distances (Homogenization). However, the nerve center of the global Internet system is still located in the United States and has residual links in the United States Federal Government (Hegemonization).

The educational systems at the end of the twentieth century are getting more and more similar across the world - with comparable term-units and semesters, and increasing professorial similarities, and similarity in course content (Homogenization). But the role-models behind this dramatic academic convergence have been the educational models of Europe and the United States, which have attracted both emulators and imitators (Hegemonization).

The ideological systems of the world at the end of the twentieth century are also converging as market economies seem to emerge triumphant. Liberalization in being widely embraced, either spontaneously or under duress. Anwar Sadat in Egypt opened the gates of infitah, and even the People's Republic of China has adopted a kind of market Marxism. India is in danger of traversing the distance from Mahatma Gandhi to Mahatma Keynes (Homogenization).

However, the people who are orchestrating and sometimes enforcing marketization, liberalization and privatization are Western economic gurus-reinforced by the power of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. Indeed, Europe is the mother of all modern ideologies, good and evil - liberalism, capitalism, socialism, Marxism, fascism, Nazism and others. The most triumphant by the end of the twentieth century has been Euro-liberal capitalism (Hegemonization).


Globalization has had consequences on values and on comparative moral standards. Across the world the two organizing concepts of comparative ethics and norms are cultural relativism (differences in values between societies)@ and historical relativism (differences in values between historical epochs). 2 One of our theses in this analysis is that the cultural distance between the West and Islam has been narrowing. Another of our theses is that what are regarded as medieval aspects of Islamic culture may have been shared by Western culture in relatively recent times. In other words, the historical distance between Islamic values and Western values may not be as great as many have assumed.

But let us first look at cultural and historical relativism in the wider moral universe before we focus more narrowly on civil liberties. How does this dual relativism operate in the wider world of norms and values? We shall conclude the article with the sharp distinction between humane governance (Islamic) and democracy (Western) with special reference to Turkey.

If under cultural relativism, cultures differ across space (from society to society), under historical relativism cultures differ across time - from epoch to epoch or age to age. In Western society pre-marital sex was strongly disapproved of until after World War II. In fact, there were - and still are - laws against sex outside marriage.(3) Today, sex before marriage is widely practiced with parental consent. We shall return to this theme later. This is historical relativism.

Historical relativism occurs when values differ across time from one century to another. There was a time when a Muslim man without a beard was a man without dignity. Today this is no longer true outside Afghanistan under the Talibans.


Even within the same country moral judgments across different cultures are also illustrated when American Muslims try to decide how to judge their President over the Monica Lewinsky affair. According to their values as Americans it is not the adultery which is the most serious offense. It is the lying about it - especially lying under oath. But according to their values as Muslims, surely adultery (Zina) is a much more serious offense than lying; it is even more serious than perjury. For adultery under the Shari'a can be a capital offense.

Because the punishment for adultery is so severe, judges discouraged the accused from confessing even if they wanted to. And adultery is one of the few offenses where even after a confession is made, it is permissible under Islamic law to withdraw it. Clinton could have withdrawn his televised "confession" of an "inappropriate" relationship with Lewinsky.

As for the rules of evidence for adultery, they are almost Draconian. According to some madhahib, conviction may need as many as four males who can testify to having been eye-witnesses to the sexual act itself. Clinton's secret service guards would have had to have seen the President naked and in action.

In the West a woman may choose to become a mistress of a married man but she is not allowed to marry the same man and have equal legal rights as a second wife. In Islam having a second wife is legitimate. Having a mistress is a crime. That is cultural relativism in sexual mores. Monica as Clinton's second wife would have been acceptable to Islam, but not as a mistress.


Are human rights sometimes trapped between the sacredness of art versus the sacredness of religion? As the West has got more and more secular, it has looked for new abodes of sacredness.

By the late twentieth century the freedom of the artist was more sacred to Westerners than respect for religion. Hence the clash which occurred from 1988 onwards between the Western world and the Muslim world in relation to Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses. The book makes fun of the Holy Scripture of Muslims, the Quran - suggesting that the verses were fake or inspired by the Devil. The novel also strongly suggests that the Prophet Muhammad was a fraud and not a very intelligent one at that. The book puts women bearing the names of the Prophet Muhammad's wives in a whore-house. The prostitutes were called Hafsa, Aisha, and Khadija the historic names of the Prophet's wives. The names of the Prophet's wives were supposed to be an aphrodisiac for the clients' sexual excitement.(4)

Iran had a fatwa or legal judgment accusing Rushdie of a capital religious offense and sentenced him to death in absentia. Iran was the only Muslim country - of the then 44-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to pass the death penalty on Rushdie.(5)

Rushdie has had to spend most of his time in hiding. The bad news is that a number of airlines refuse to have him as a passenger because he is a security risk. The good news, on the other hand, is that he is a millionaire several times over from the book and related products. He is more wealthy but less secure.

Westerners have argued that as a novelist Rushdie had a right to write anything he wanted. Muslims have argued that he had no right to hold up for obscenity and ridicule some of the most sacred symbols in Islam. The sacredness of the artist has been in collision with the sacredness of religion over Salman Rushdie's novel.


Our discussion has already entered the arena of civil liberties. In what sense is the cultural distance between the West and Islam narrower than often assumed? One compelling illustration concerns the issue of censorship. A book may be censored because of the moral repugnance of its contents. Most Muslim countries banned Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, because they viewed it as blasphemous and morally repugnant.(6) Alternatively, a book may be censored or banned because of the moral "repugnance" of its author. St. Martin's Press was going to publish in 1996 a book entitled Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich. Enormous international pressure was put on St. Martin's Press to withdraw the book. Most of the pressure came from people who could not possibly have read the manuscript of that particular book. The moral objection was to the author of the book, David Irving, who was viewed as an anti-Semitic revisionist historian of the Holocaust. In the case of the particular book on Goebbels, it was probably the singer (David Irving) rather than the song (Mastermind of the Third Reich) that finally made St. Martin's Press change its mind and withdraw the book.(7)

But a book may also be censored or banned out of fear of its consequences - the equivalent of "clear and present danger". When India gave this kind of explanation for banning Rushdie's Satanic Verses - that the book would inflame religious passions - the West was less than sympathetic. Certainly Rushdie's publishers paid no attention to prior warnings from India before publication that the book was inflammatory. The publication of the book even in far-away London did result in loss of life in civil disturbances in Bombay, Islamabad, and Karachi in 1989.(8)

In contrast, distinguished Western publishers have been known to care enough about the safety of their own staff to make that the reason for rejecting a manuscript. The most recent case is Cambridge University Press's rejection of the book Fields of Wheat, Rivers of Blood, by Anastasia Karakasidou. The book was about ethnicity in the Greek province of Macedonia. Cambridge's rejection was directly and frankly linked to its fear for the safety of its staff members in Greece.(9) I believe that if the publisher of The Satanic Verses had cared as much about South Asian lives as Cambridge University Press cared about its own staff in Greece, the cost in blood of The Satanic Verses would have been reduced.

Let us now turn more closely to comparative methods of censorship. Censorship in Muslim countries is often crude, and is done by governments, by mullahs and imams, and more recently by militant Islamic movements. Censorship in the West, on the other hand, is more polished and more decentralized. It is done by advertisers for commercial television, by subscribers to the Public Broadcasting System, by ethnic pressure groups and interest groups, by editors, by publishers and by other controllers of means of communication. In Europe it is sometimes also done by governments.


Let us now turn to the issue of historical relativism between the West and Islam on gender. For example, how anachronistic are Muslim attitudes to the role of women in society? Let us take a closer look at this alleged gulf between the West and Islam.

Among the areas which are bound to be affected by rapid change is the area of relations between men and women across cultures. What is technological development doing to the sexual division of labor, for example? It is true that some Muslim societies had assumed that there were two different doors of knowledge - one for men and one for women. Many Muslim societies had assumed that there were branches of knowledge which were not fit for women and children under 15. Partly for reasons of modesty women were spared from certain areas of know-how. Today the Taliban in Afghanistan have carried this theory of two tiers of gender knowledge to the extreme.

The new globalizing information technology is going to blow that distinction totally out of social existence. U.S. Muslims may be leading the global umma in the new technology. More and more information may refuse to be susceptible to gender-discrimination. What men know about sex, pornography, politics and corruption may also be accessible to women through the World Wide Web, Internet and the emerging information superhighway. In time the veil as the modesty of the face is bound to be destroyed by the new globalizing technology. Women may cover other aspects of their personality, but increasingly they will be available facially to the viewer through the Internet and the approaching image telephone system. The new technology will pass a death sentence on the tradition of the harem as we have known it since the Abbasid dynasty in many Muslim societies. Will U.S. Muslim women lead the way?

The traditional forms of seclusion of women will not long survive a globalizing technology in which women can declare their presence and in time assert their rights. Women voting will be a start. Women running for election will come a generation later. American Muslims will join forces with the new technology of information to precipitate fundamental reforms in gender relations in the Muslim world.


A woman's freedom within the umma and a woman's dignity: Is there a trade-off between them? The Muslim world has higher standards of dignity for women than the West - but most of the Muslim world has lower standards of liberty for women than the West.

Has dignity in the Muslim world been bought at too high a price of liberty for the woman? Or has liberty in the West been bought at too high a price of dignity for the woman? Can Muslims in America make a difference and evolve a new calculus of gender, a new code of balance between dignity and liberty?

Sons in the Muslim world are probably more respectful and loyal to their mothers than sons in the West are to their mothers. On the other hand, husbands in the West may be more respectful (though not necessarily more loyal) to their wives than husbands are in the Muslim world to their spouses. Perhaps in the United States Muslims can restore the balance - and produce a new model of gender relationships which is at once more dignity-friendly than that of mainstream America and more liberty-friendly than that of mainstream Muslim world. Perhaps also in America there can evolve a code of conduct where husbands respect their women more than ever, and where sons respect their mothers to new levels of loyalty.

Popular images of Islamic values in the West tend to regard those values as "medieval" and hopelessly anachronistic. In reality most Muslim societies are decades rather than centuries behind the West - and in some respects Islamic culture is more humane than Western culture. The gender question in Muslim countries is still rather troublesome. But again the historical distance between the West and Islam may be in terms of decades rather than centuries. In almost all Western countries apart from New Zealand women did not get the vote until the twentieth century. Great Britain extended the vote to women in two stages - 1918 and 1928. The United States enfranchised women with a constitutional amendment in 1920. Switzerland did not give women the vote at the national level until 1971 - long after Muslim women had been voting in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan.(11) France gave the vote to women as recently as 1944.

British wives earned the right to own independent property in 1870. Muslim wives had always done so. Indeed, Islam is probably the only major religion which was founded by a businessman who was in commercial partnership with his wife, Khadija, a rich widow.(12)


The United States, the largest and most influential Western nation, has never had a female president as head of government. On the other hand, both the second and third largest Muslim societies in population (Pakistan and Bangladesh) have had women Prime Ministers more than once each. Pakistan has had Benazir Bhutto twice as Prime Minister and Bangladesh has had Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed consecutively in power. Such Muslim countries are ahead in female empowerment though still behind in female liberation. Turkey, another Muslim country, has also had a woman Prime Minister - Tansu Ciller. Turkey is a Muslim society which inaugurated a secular state as recently as 1923, but it has already produced a woman chief executive. The United States has been a secular state for two hundred years - and has still not produced a woman president.

In the separation of church and state more generally, how long is the distance between the West and Islam? How wide is the cultural distance?


Finally, let us examine the interplay between Islam, globalization and violence. Against the background of all the debates about Islamic "fundamentalism" and Arab "terrorism" one powerful paradox of the twentieth century may be overlooked. While Islam may indeed generate more political violence than does Western culture, Western culture in turn generates more deviant street violence than does Islam. Islam does indeed produce a disproportionate number of mujahidin; Western culture produces a disproportionate number of muggers.

In terms of quality of life for the average citizen, is there a trade-off between the excesses of the Islamic state and the excesses of the liberal state? Let us look at the dilemmas more closely.

The crisis of the Western liberal state is still one where citizens are safer from their governments than ever before - but less and less safe from their fellow citizens. The quality of life is becoming increasingly violent in the West. It is less politically tense than in parts of the Muslim world, but the direction of social change is toward increasing social conflict.

One solution elsewhere in the world is a rerum to pre-modernism, to indigenous traditional disciplines and values as in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The other solution is the search for post-modernism.

Teheran, the capital of Iran, is a city of some ten million people. In 1993 I saw families picnicking with small children in public parks between about 11 p.m. and midnight. In four different cities I saw people walking late at night with their children or womenfolk, seemingly unafraid of mugging or rapes or slaying. This is a society which has known large-scale purposeful political violence in war and revolution - but a society where petty inter-personal violence in the streets is much rarer than it is in Washington or New York. Iranian citizens may be less safe from their government than U.S. citizens are from theirs. But Iranian citizens are safer from each other than U.S. citizens are. The Iranian solution is, in the moral sphere, pre-modernist.

Can the Muslim world md post-modernist solutions to its own anguish? There are indeed two ways of escaping modernity - retreat to pre-modernism or the aspiration to transcend modernity.

Can the Muslim world pursue the positive aspects of globalization without descending into the negative aspects of Westernization?

The largest Westernized city in Africa is Johannesburg. The largest Muslim city is Cairo. Cairo is much larger than Johannesburg - but has only a fraction of the rate of street violence of the South African city. Does Islam help to pacify the streets of Cairo?

How wide is the cultural distance between Islam and the West? How long is the historical distance? The measurements may be more complex than we thought.


Francis Fukuyama has assumed that the end of history arrives when we have discovered what is best. He forgets that we also need to understand how to protect ourselves from what is worst.(13) We know that Western liberal democracy has enabled us to find openness, governmental accountability, popular participation, and high economic productivity. But we also know that Western pluralism has been a breeding ground for racism, fascism, Nazism, exploitation and genocide.

If history is to come to an end as a quest for the ultimate political order, it can never be satisfied with merely the message of the West on how to maximize the best in human nature. History must also consult other cultures about how to check the worst in human nature - from alcoholism to racism, from materialism to Nazism, from drug addiction to Marxism as the opium of the intellectuals. Of all the systems of values in the world, Islam has been the most resistant to the ultimate destructive forces of the 20th century - perhaps, for the time being, including AIDS. Are those societies closer to the Shari'a also more distant from H.I.V.?(14)

In cultural relativism, on the other hand, one must distinguish between democratic principles and humane principles. In some humane principles the Muslim world may be ahead of the West - including the protection of the family, the lower levels of street violence in most Muslim cities, and the relatively nonracial nature of the culture of the mosque.

How can a bridge be built between democratic principles and humane principles? Turkey is a pre-eminent example of the dilemma. In times of peace the Ottoman Empire was more humane in its treatment of minorities than the Turkish Republic became after 1923. The Ottoman millet system extended considerable tolerance to religious minorities. The Turkish Republic, on the other hand, gradually moved toward a policy of cultural assimilation. While the Ottoman Empire had tolerated the Kurdish language, the Turkish Republic outlawed it for a long time. The Ottoman Empire was, in peace times, more tolerant of religious minorities than the Turkish Republic was of linguistic minorities. And yet the Turkish Republic (however imperfect) was a closer approximation of democracy and its values than the Ottoman Empire had been. This illustrates the proposition that when the country was not at war, the Ottoman Empire was more humane than the Turkish Republic, but less democratic. In the final analysis democracy is a system of how rulers are chosen; humane governance is a system of how citizens are treated. Ottoman rule at its best was humane governance; the Turkish Republic at its best has been a quest for democracy.

Is what is going on in Turkey in the last years of the twentieth century a search for a reconciliation between the greater humaneness of the Ottoman Empire and the greater democracy of the Turkish Republic?

The partial Islamic revivalism may be the beginnings of a fundamental Turkish review of the Kemalist revolution, which inaugurated the era of Turkish secularism. In the case of England since Henry VIII, we raised the scenario of a theocracy being democratized. In the case of Turkey in the last years of the twentieth century, is there a possibility of a democracy being theocratized? The increasing electoral support for Islamic revivalism in Turkey has increased speculation about pushing back the secular revolution of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. But the Turkish military is prepared to use brutal force to defend secularism.

Was Necmettin Erbakan's relationship to the Kemalist revolution in 1997 the equivalent of Gorbachev's role in rolling back the Leninist revolution? Or was Erbakan as leader of the Islamist Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) a forerunner of Turkish equivalents of both Gorbachev and Yeltsin - jointly rolling back the Kemalist revolution in the years ahead? Or was Turkish democracy in the process of being slowly pluralized? It is too early to be sure.(15) The struggle continues in the shadow of globalization. The humane legacy of the Ottoman empire may find a modern synthesis with the democratic heritage of the Turkish Republic - and help to influence the direction of globalization in the 21st century.


1. The scholar with whom the term "cultural relativism" is perhaps most identified is Melville J. Herskovits; see his "Cultural Relativism and Cultural Values," and "Further Comments on Cultural Relativism," in Frances Herskovits (ed.) Cultural Relativism: Perspectives in Cultural Pluralism (New York: Random House, 1972), pp. 11-34 and 49-61, respectively.

2. This is of course different from the methodological pronouncement of what the term means: "that we find historical relativism to be the view that how historical work grasps the nature of the past (or present) immediately, that whatever "truth" a historical work contains, is relative to the conditioning processes under which it arose and can only be understood in reference to those processes," as enunciated by Maurice Mandelbaum, The Problem of Historical Knowledge: An Answer To Relativism (New York: Liveright Pub., 1938), p. 19.

3. Mostly however, these laws are rarely enforced; see Ashley Montagu, Sex, Man, and Society (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1966) p. 47.

4. On some of the complex issues raised by The Satanic Verses, see Ali A. Mazrui, "Is The Satanic Verses A Satanic Novel: Moral Dilemmas of the Rushdie Affair," Michigan Quarterly Review Vol. 28, No. 3 (Summer 1989), pp. 347-71.

5. See Daniel Pipes, "The Ayatollah, The Novelist, and the West," Commentary 87, 6 (June 1989): 13.

6. Ibid.

7. For reports on this affair, see for example, The New York Times (5 April 1996), and The Washington Post (8 April 1996).

8. See Pipes, "The Ayatollah, The Novelist, and the West," pp. 12-13.

9. See "Fearing Reprisal, Publisher Drops Book on Greece", New York Times, 17 February 1996.

10. American writers themselves, such as Carl Bernstein, Howard Fast, Erica Jong, and Peter Maas, have spoken of both overt and covert censorship; see Midge Decter, "The Rushdiad," Commentary 87, 6 (June 1989): 20-21.

11. A chronological list of women's suffrage dates may be found in Caroline Daley and Melanie Nolan (eds.) Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives (New York: NYU Press, 1994), pp. 349-352.

12. See M. Rodinson, Mohammed (trans. by Anne Carter) (New York: Pantheon Books, 1971), pp. 49-50.

13. See Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York and Toronto: Free Press and Maxwell Macmillan Canada, 1992).

14. Consult Catherine Tastemain and Peter Coles, "Can a Culture Stop AIDS in its Tracks?" New Scientist (11 September 1993), p. 13.

15. Consult also Leonard Binder, Islamic Liberalism: A Critique of Development Ideologies (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), especially Chapter 6 on "Islam and Capitalism" (pp. 206-242) and Chapter 9 "Conclusion: The Prospects for Liberal Government in the Middle East" (pp. 336-360).

Ali A. Mazrui is Director, Institute of Global Cultural Studies and Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, Binghamton University; Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large, University of Jos, Nigeria; Ibn Khaldun Professor-at-Large Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Africana Studies, Cornell University; Walter Rodney Professor, University of Guyana.
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Author:Mazrui, Ali Al'Amin
Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
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Date:Jun 22, 1999

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