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The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago

Submitted by Matthew Nicholas (United States), Mar 6, 2012 at 09:33

I agree that this take on the Arab world in 1962 was typically patronizing and written more like a travelogue than a serious assessment of the Arab world. What doesn't surprise me is how little has changed there.

The following passage "Stewart even claims that "Arab civilization is part of western, not eastern, culture," whatever that might mean" is attributable to the fact that the Caliph's in Spain, Sicily and other parts of Europe lasted hundreds of years and were inculcated into Western culture. Much of our mathematics was developed by Arabic culture and disseminated from Royal Courts such as Palermo, Sicily, the intellectual capital of Europe pre-Renaissance.

It is indeed a shame that Stewart vastly underestimated the virus of Islamicism, Wahabism really, and failed to realize that the US has been dealing with it going back to the administration of George Washington, whose Navy had to combat Arab pirates on the high seas engaging in Jihad.

When will the citizens of Arab world shake of their post-colonial dictatorships and theocracies and take ownership of their destiny to improve their civil rights? Maybe the Arab spring is the beginning of this process. Time will tell if that is true, or if it is nothing more than our State Department and CIA fomenting rebellion.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

My guess is that he means Islam is part of the Western Asian cultural complex, not the Eastern Asian one. It shares more with Judaism and Christianity than Hinduism and Taoism.

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