Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Wednesday Wonders

Well, now. A former Archbishop of Canterbury has come out foursquare on the side of the Pope’s remarks abot Islam. Actually, he’s even more blunt than the Pope, quoting a contemporary rather than a 13th century emperor. Sample:

Lord Carey, who as Archbishop of Canterbury became a pioneer in Christian-Muslim dialogue, himself quoted a contemporary political scientist, Samuel Huntington, who has said the world is witnessing a “clash of civilisations”.

Arguing that Huntington’s thesis has some “validity”, Lord Carey quoted him as saying: “Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”

Too bad he’s the former Archbishop. You’d expect riots over this, except that no one cares about the Anglical Church much any more.

Discussions - 8 Comments

The last sentence quoted is, of course, a perfect statement of the practical problem. Thanks, Steve.

It’s about damn time!

I agree with Lord Carey’s conclusion and am relieved to finally see it publicly articulated.
But someone help me out here: Is there a clerical hierarchy, an organizational structure, in Islam, analogous to that of the various forms of Christianity? There is no Islamic Pope, Archbishop, or Bishop that I can see, just "clerics" and "senior clerics". What is the administrative glue that binds Muslims together?

Nothing, really, functions as an official clerical hierarchy - which is, to my mind, part of the problem. If there were an Islamic "pope", you could perhaps exert some, er, pressure (presumably no waterboarding, though) to get things under control.

There was an administrative glue at one time, namely, the Caliphate. Osama refers to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire as "the great calamity," and of course wants to re-institute the Caliphate under terms congenial to himself.

Even under the Caliphate wasn’t there still the Shia/Sunni split?

Yes, indeed. Even as there were schisms in Christianity. I was guessing that Tom Noell and Michael Simpson were thinking in (rough, analogous) terms of the Catholic Church, which was the dominant but not exclusive form of Christianity for some time. Similarly, the Caliphate was the dominant but not unchallenged "administrative glue" among Muslims for a long time.

The speech is available at Lord Carey’s website:

The link for the speech is:

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