Abstract Prof. Dr. Mazhar Ahmad Al-Zoby (Qatar): US-American Wars in the Islamic World - Crusades?

The discourse of “good vs. evil” has fundamentally shaped the recent American role in the Muslim Middle East and especially its “war against terrorism”. Yet, conceptualizing U.S. interventions in the region has remained elusive within the confines of political economy and geopolitics. But has America’s quest “to emancipate all Muslims into freedom”,  as G.W. Bush has once stated, or its wars for “national security” in the Muslim world become the “Tenth Crusade”? For many analysts and experts recent U.S.-American wars in the Muslim World are secular battles, fought in defense of freedom, democracy and of justice. In their view these U.S.-American wars are by no means comparable to the Mediaeval Christian Crusades against Islam and Muslims. Others, however, hold the view that U.S.-American  terminology of religious salvation and civilizational missions especially after 9/11 have been combined with indistinguishable moral ideology that is not unlike that of Medieval Christian Crusades.

The purpose of this presentation is to examine the similarities and dissimilarities between America’s “secular messianic Crusade” and Medieval Christian Crusades against Arab Muslim countries respectively. One of the main assertions of the presentation is that what seems like a predominately political discourse in the U.S. after September 11 2001 is in fact a religious discourse mobilized by doctrines such as “Manifest Destiny", American exceptionalism and just-war dogma. Similarly, what seemed like a purely religious holy war doctrine during the Medieval Christian Crusades was in fact a political ideology that merged with religious discourse.