Lord Carey Warns of "Clash of Civilizations" Between "Islam and the West"

May 13, 2004

Source: The Telegraph


On May 13, 2004 The Telegraph reported, "Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, warned yesterday that the violence in Iraq could spiral into a full-scale 'clash of civilisations' if religious leaders failed to act. Lord Carey said that the idea of a 'state of war' between the Islamic world and the West might appear alarmist and absurd, but he urged people not to dismiss the possibility. 'The disturbing sequel of terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001, has resulted in a climate of paranoia that could, if not addressed, be a worrying precursor of conflict,' he said. Lord Carey, who made news March 26 when he criticised Islamic culture, argued that much hostility between Muslims and the West was based on misunderstandings and resentments dating from the Crusades. In a lecture in Leicester, he said that the world was now 'in great peril' from the 'sharp ideological tension' between the Islamic world and the West. While a clash of civilisations was not inevitable, as some commentators had predicted, it could become a self-fulfilling prophesy if enough people believed it. Such prophesies were fuelled by the distorted perceptions each side had of the other, which religious leaders must counter, he argued."