TeachMideast.org A website for K-12 educators featuring innovative
resource on the culture, geography, history and religions of the Middle East, including
essays, classroom activities, downloadable multimedia content and interactive Google
In the third part of this interview, Esposito discusses the â€œclashâ€? in Afghanistan, specifically. He discusses the role of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Ousama Ben Laden in that country. The Taliban was initially welcomed by Afghanis, the Americans and many other countries because they were restoring order to the country after ten years of civil war. But as they began to show their true colors, Muslims and non-Muslims alike became opposed to them. He argues that their interpretation of Islam was actually a legitimization of their own tribal system of religious practice. He argues that the clash, in this case, is between extremists who manipulate religion to their specific political ends and mainstream Muslims on the one hand and the West on the other. But the main clash is politically driven. The principal issues are political: US influence on Muslim countries, US policy in Kashmir, US policy in the Arab-Israeli conflict, or whatever. Religion is then used to legitimate the actions and to garner support. The full dimensions of this conflict are not understood, and it is from this misunderstanding that the theory of clash becomes accepted.