Islam and the West
"In the West they underestimate how deep Muhammad is in the heart of every Muslim," al-Suweidan said. "We demand respect, like you have given the Jews respect. ... Be fair, that is all we're asking."
This was the essence of the statements brought forward at a recent conference hosted in Denmark aimed at improving ties with the Muslim world, after the uproar over cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad. The importance of reconciliation between the West and the Muslim world was stressed, to build bridges and stop the "clash and conflict".
The double standards must cease, and not just regarding 'freedom of speech' but also in the many areas of policy in which Western nations hold themselves to one standard and Muslim countries to another. For example, the EU threatens to cut Palestinian aid because Hamas refuses to recognise Israel, while it ignores that Israeli building in occupied Palestinian territories violated international law as far back as 1967. Regardless of this, the British government helped Israel build the atom bomb! USA can use nuclear warfare in destroying Hiroshima, invading Vietnam and devastating Iraq, while Iran cannot have nuclear energy. We were told of the 'need' to enact regime change in the 'land of oil' (Iraq), while Sudan was left to the slaughter.
Furthermore, reports of Islamic extremism and oppression must be correlated with reports on positive issues to inform both Muslims and non-Muslims that Islam is a religion of peace, and that any transgression of this is evidently un-Islamic.
Some say a dialogue between East and West is counter-productive due to a lack of common-ground, while others call for deconstruction of the opposition between the West and Islam. The reality is that there is NO clear boundary between the West and Islam, but there IS the common-ground of humanity. The pace of change in the last 50 years has put constant pressure on traditional beliefs, habits and cultures to adapt as the central structural systems of society are diluted by the increasing number of sub-systems and the decreasing number of boundaries. Production, trade finance and even religion can now be organised and affected at a global level, which has subsequently widened ecological damage, political repression, overpopulation, civil unrest and nuclear and biochemical disaster.
In response to the advocates of fundamentalism, Islam should not be used or considered as a response to globalisation, but as a stabilising force to combat the negative effects. But this can only be successfully achieved if we strive to represent Islam as in its true light, enjoining the good and condemning the bad. The solution is with deconstruction of the negative opposition held by/between BOTH East and West by/between Muslims and non-Muslims, so that through discourse we can ALL become objective champions of freedom and justice and seek to build a more peaceful and culturally/racially/religiously interactive world. Until this can be achieved we must be impervious to the actions of those
In both the western and the Islamic worlds, who, for their own nefarious reasons, want the tension to escalate; we should not allow ourselves to play into their hands.
This also means for people to stop listening to the likes of Wafa Sultan that make their fame and fortune through slandering Islam. While she is correct that Muslims can learn from others both individually and collectively, this is nothing we have not heard before, even from Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi. Many of the remaining points from Wafa Sultan are incorrect and achieved by stating lines of the Qur'an in isolation and out of context, a strategy used by terrorists also. Let us ignore those that seek to feather their nests by slandering Islam and encouraging apostasy. While the "West" should truly strive to promote multiculturalism, the Muslims therein must promote the logic of Dr Farish A. Noor:
"Struggling for the Victory of Islam would entail an outright, unapologetic challenge to this global hegemon, though this struggle cannot and will not be secured unless and until Muslims learn to work with other communities. Here lies the truth that many of us have failed to realise or have not been able to admit: The Victory of Islam's universal values untimately depends on humanity as a whole, and not Muslims alone. WE are, all of us, the bearers and custodians of this terrible yet noble responsibility."
Islam and the West
- » Published on March 19, 2006
- » Type: Opinion
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