During the 1990s, Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington's Foreign Affairs article, "The Clash of Civilizations," echoed all over the world. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, many people thought we were in the middle of the clash that Huntington warned about. Five years later, it is quite clear we are not. Instead, as the world's leading civilization, the United States faces assaults from forces that wish to bring an end to global civilization.

We are facing assaults by a worldwide ideological phenomenon that President Bush has termed "Islamic fascism," also referred to as Islamofascism. One example of Islamofascism is the theocratic Shi'a regime that rules Iran and the political group allied to it in Lebanon—Hezbollah. Other examples include al Qaeda–backed terrorist groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere that are targeting Americans and other Western nations.

It's a complicated picture.

Al Qaeda and other extremist Muslims despise even Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, a country where theocratic followers of Wahhabism (named after the fanatical Islamic revivalist Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, 1702–1793) have dominated the country's religious life through a Faustian pact with the Saudi royal family. Wherever ultra-radical Islam has come to power, it has created a totalitarian Islamic state fanatically hostile to Jews, women's freedoms, Christians, democracy, and—yes—music.

A few Americans believe we are in an all-out war with all of Islam. That is not the case. To advocate such a conflict plays into the hands of violent extremists. The overwhelming majority within the Muslim world does not wish to see a restored fundamentalist caliphate. It does not hate Jews or want to see the U.S. vanish.

However, Islamic ...

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Global Prognosis
David Aikman is professor of history and writer-in-residence at Patrick Henry College and wrote for Time magazine from 1971 to 1994. Among his books are Jesus in Beijing and A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush. His column, "Global Prognosis," ran from 2006 to 2007.
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