Editor's Note: The following article was published by Providence News (Rhode Island) on 31 March 1922. The piece quotes Lothrop Stoddard as he provides his analysis of Europe's relationship with the Islamic world and its future prospects in the contest for power. Stoddard's timing was wrong, but his basic prophecy has proven correct. His suggestion of how to deal with Islam is nuanced. He was right in that Western influence would exacerbate fanaticism—this has proven correct in as much as we understand Western influence in the Muslim world as mediated and determined by Zionism, which is how the Muslims see it in terms of power politics. His policy recommendations were perhaps a bit naive. On the other hand, there is no question that Zionism has hardened Muslim attitudes, and that in 1922 there was no Israel to contend with, though things were already moving in that direction.
“Events in the Mohammedan world are moving with incredible swiftness towards a crisis which within 10 years either will bring war between Christian Europe and Moslem nations or will compel a gradual withdrawal of French and English conrol from their Mohammedan subjects.”
“If the Moslem millions hurl themselves against Europe,” said Stoddard today, “Bolshevism will support the banner of Islam. I am unwilling to prophesy the outcome. But the American people should realize now that a cataclysm would have tremendous effect upon themselves.
Riots in India and Egypt, guerrilla warfare in Northern Africa, outbreaks in Syria, Turkey’s insistence on keeping European territorial rights while the Sultan remains at the head of the Mohammedan religion—these are signs whose significance cannot be mistaken.
The future of western civilization depends upon the tact of Europe’s statesmen. They must set the example for the adoption of a liberal, open-minded policy by Mohammedan leaders. The two sides must get together on a fair and square, give-and-take basis.
The present unrest throughout the world of Islam must not be interpreted as religious fanaticism. I think a Holy War is not at all likely. What we are facing is a renaissance of Islam; a condition complex, difficult to understand thoroughly, and influenced by divergent forces.
Religion and patriotism have been combined in this movement. Mohammedan fanaticism and the new national consciousness have formed a new combination.
I predict increasing ferment and unrest throughout all Islam; a continued awakening to self-consciousness; an increasing dislike for western domination.
The result must inevitably be the diminution of white control in Asia and Africa.
The vital question is whether shaking off white control will come with or without a cataclysm. The cataclysm may come. It will come if England and France pursue a short-sighted policy and by repressive measures drive liberal Mohammedans into the ranks of extremists.
I hope to see the cataclysm avoided by the adoption of a policy of gradual diminution of white control.
By no means do I advocate a policy of scuttle. India would be in anarchy and Egypt in a terrible condition if England should get out tomorrow.
Islam must realize that Europe has vested interests in Mohammed in countries; their former impotent and decadent condition accounts for the presence of Europeans.
The English have shown a sense of reality and are conducting themselves in a very statesmanlike manner. The most dangerous element is France, which at present is precipitating trouble in Syria.