Defusing the Clash of Civilizations

October 7, 2006

Author: John Colson

Source: Aspen Times Weekly

As tensions rise between the Islamic and non-Islamic countries of the world, fed largely by an ever-growing fear and hatred of the United States among some international Muslims, a past mayor of Aspen continues to do what he can to defuse the situation.

Former Mayor John Bennett admitted this week that a recent high-level meeting, called to prompt meaningful and peaceable dialogue between Islamic and Western leaders, did not yield the kind of benefits that he had hoped for.

But despite that setback, Bennett remains optimistic.

"Somehow the world has got to find a way to extinguish the radical fire that is growing" in many places, Bennett said during an interview last week. And he said that, while no action plan emerged from the meeting, "very valuable connections were made" among representatives of the Islamic world and the West.

These cross-cultural connections are the aim of The Cordoba Initiative, a small organization that Bennett co-founded in 2002.