1Sahil B = ""ALMOST IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., pundits, politicians,
and preachers throughout the United States and Europe declared that September 11, 2001, triggered a
once-dormant “clash of civilizations,” to use Samuel Huntington’s now ubiquitous term, between the
modern, enlightened, democratic societies of the West and the archaic, barbarous, autocratic societies of
the Middle East. A few well-respected academics carried this argument further by suggesting that the
failure of democracy to emerge in the Muslim world was due in large part to Muslim culture, which they
claimed was intrinsically incompatible with Enlightenment values such as liberalism, pluralism,
individualism, and human rights. It was therefore simply a matter of time before these two great
civilizations, which have such conflicting ideologies, clashed with each other in some catastrophic way. And
what better example do we need of this inevitability than September 11?
But just beneath the surface of this misguided and divisive rhetoric is a more subtle, though far more
detrimental, sentiment: that this is not so much a cultural conflict as a religious one; that we are not in the
midst of a “clash of civilizations,” but rather a “clash of monotheisms.”"-No god but God, Reza Aslan"