Examining Clashes Between Muslims and West
By- Muhammad Farooq Rehmani
The political differences between the Western rulers and the Muslim world have reached a new climax, characterized by the Islamophobia of the West. Thus Muslims all over the world are subjected to severe trauma and punishments meant to break their strong nerves of determination. Unfortunately many Muslim rulers play in the hands of West’s rulers to impose the imperialistic road-map on the Islamic world. All individual or group-attempts of desecration and brutalities against the Islam and its followers can’t be read in isolation, and the covert support of the West or anti-Islam rulers can’t be ruled out or ignored.
A couple of years back, the cold-blooded murder of a veil-wearing Muslim woman and her husband in Germany, ban on face veils in France first of its nature in Europe(April 2011), desecration of Quran by burning in Florida America in April 2011 by a US fundamentalist Pastor; a Dutch MP Geert Wilder’s offensive comparison of the Quran to Kampf through his defamatory documentary intended to demonize Muslims and distort the message of the holy Quran, republishing of a caricature by a Danish newspaper to desecrate the holy Prophet (PBUH) in April 2008 , carnage of 93 innocents in Oslo Norway in a shooting spree and car bombing by a Christian fanatic Anders Behring Brievik in July 2011, to “defeat liberal immigration policies, spread of Islam and Islam’s invasion on Europe”, publishing of “Satanic Verses” by infamous Rushdi in the past and its advocacy by the West in the name of freedom of speech; time and again Islam is mocked at by the west and the situation has reached the point of no return.
The new leaders and rulers of the west continue to back the anti-Quran tirade and don’t initiate or support any sincere and tangible effort to bridge the gap between the West and Islam. In this enormous gulf, the latest desecration of Quran by American soldiers in Bagram Afghanistan is alarming. Media has reported that protesters hurling petrol bombs and firing slingshots besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, 21Feb 2012, furious over reports that Nato troops improperly disposed of the Holy Quran. President Barrack Obama was on Thursday forced to apologize over the burning of copies of holy Quran at the Nato military base here, where till the last reports came in, 23 people had been killed including two US soldiers. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, apologized and ordered an investigation into the incident that “troops improperly disposed of a large number of Islamic religious materials.” However this is not the first example in any American base, prisoners of Guantanamo saw with their own eyes, and faced this mental torture several times, during the past ten years. American President’s apology can do little “to assuage the anger of the people; similar behavior -specifically desecration of religious texts- has been reported from Iraq and the American military detention facility at Guantanamo, while the video of US Marines urinating on the corpses of what were believed to be Taliban insurgents caused global outrage.” Dawn, 24/2/12
Obviously, there are some vested interests with a medieval savage mind-set in the west and the United States, propagating under on pretext or the other hate, and animosity between Muslims and Christians. Such elements paint Islam as a religion of sword. One such fanatic was an American Baptist Minister Rew Jerry Falwel, who made slanderous attacks on the personality of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in October 2002. Owing to his devil’s incarnation, the Baptist had called the Prophet (PBUH), “a terrorist, a violent man, a man of war.” It is the verbal terrorism of worst kind by any American evangelical Christian that must be rejected and condemned by the peoples of every faith. This Slanderous venom against the Koran and the Prophet (PBUH) intensified in the West and America after 9/11, causing unimaginable loss to inter-faith and cultural relations between the Muslims and Christians. They cannot understand that the bedrock of world peace rests on religious harmony, and respect for each other’s faith, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
During the 1st decade of the current century anti-Islam tirade has spread like wild fire; mainly desecrating Koran and the Prophet (PBUH), passing stinging satires, printing satirical cartoons, or caricatures; provoking Muslims with the sole aim to paint them as terrorists. Nevertheless, Muslims show restraint and don’t blame the followers of Christianity or Judaism for the ongoing anti-Islam savage and abusive campaign in Europe and America. They honestly believe in inter-religious peace and harmony, and that every nation’s beliefs, cultural heritage and value-system should be respected.
A significant contradiction has been marked in the West’s attitude towards Muslim culture, while as despite ban on Muslim woman’s veil or scarf, Nuns are not questioned or ridiculed for their head-scarves and full body dresses. Is this their broad mindedness? It is not all West or all America that is biased towards Islam or Muslims, but certainly it is the design of the anti-faith elements: liberal fascists and their billionaire supporters to ridicule Islam and defame Muslim-uprisings against foreign occupation and undermine their struggle for freedom and exploitation-free system in the Muslim world. The West must realize that if they ignored the causes behind the on-going upheaval and economic-turmoil in the world, they will definitely be digging their own grave. Islam is always a clarion call of peace and fraternity that they should have listened long before. Instead the foreigners have for long been plundering the resources of the Muslim world. Their policy of invasion and occupation in the Muslim regions will neither guarantee them security nor will they collect dead cows for milking. The time of milk and honey has gone for them, as the days of their trusty henchmen are numbered. They will have to change their colonial and imperialistic mind-set and policies towards Islam and Muslims; respect Islam and the messenger of Allah (PBUH), give up all forms of aggression in the Muslim world, and refrain from looting its natural wealth, to lay-down a solid basis for friendly relations, besides withdrawing support to corrupt rulers and leaders in the Islamic world. For a sound and durable Muslim-West relationship—demilitarization, decolonization; right of self-determination to Kashmir and Palestine, pulling out foreign troops and demolishing military basis, is of dire importance for peace and friendship with the peoples of the Muslim world.
In fact, The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), showed the path of love, peace and justice to humanity, and preached belief in all the Prophets and the scriptures of Allah, sent by Allah from time to time for the guidance of humanity. The Prophet (PBUH) was opposed by Arab tribal chiefs in the beginning, because he emphasized on the oneness of God and universality of God’s revelation. Earlier Arabs had acknowledged His honesty and integrity in day-to-day life, and He had won fame as Sadiq and Ameen. One must not ignore this fact that when the Prophet (PBUH) entered Mecca as the victor, He unlike many Generals of the history did not unleash revenge and terror on his vanquished worst foes, who had earlier forced Him to migrate from Mecca to Madeenah. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) forgave his enemies in Mecca. His proclamation of amnesty applied even to His worst enemies. He declared “La tasreeb alaikumul youm.”
A renowned writer Clinton Bennett writes in his book, “Victorian images of Islam”, “the relations between Christians and Muslims were very cordial in the first four centuries after Hijra.” While describing the western Christianity, he says, it was ignorant about Islam and did not bother to distinguish Islam from a large number of the enemies of Christianity. The author further notes that the western Christianity in the middle ages represented a political and theological approach to Islam. He pointed out that the medieval crusades were not primarily religious but they had worldly and material purposes—cupidity and greed. He recalls that the crusades accepted far- fetched myths as facts about The Prophet (PBUH) and His mission. The author refers to Carlyle, (1795-1891) who in 1840 made the first strong affirmation in the European literature-medieval or modern of belief in the sincerity of Muhammad (PBUH) in his treatise -“Muhammad: Hero as Prophet.” Similarly, Charles Forster in his “Mohmetantism unveiled” called Muhammad descent from Ismael, and Islam a spiritual religion– propagated not by sword, but by peace and peace-leading missions. Carlyle says that Muhammad (PBUH) positively contributed to human knowledge. The Muslim universities of Baghdad, Alexandra, Cairo, Fez, Toledo, says Forster “provided model for the establishment of Bologna, Padua, Paris whose whole course of study, bore the marks and traces of their saracinic origin, especially in chemistry, Arabs assumed the undisputed rank of inventors. To further acknowledge the contribution of Islam, Forster connected “Paradise Lost” with the mental images and influences of Islam and tacitly endorsed sincerity of Muhammad (PBUH).
Besides, I quote article “Our debt to Islam” by Martin Wainwright in the “Guardian” London. The theme of the article is that by teaching children how Muslim sages saved European Philosophy could bridge a modern culture- gap. Wainwright says, “Without the work of 500 years succession of Islamic sages, we would have lost the essence of Aristotle, much of Plato and scores of other ancients.”
“It Happened simply enough. While the barbarians smashed and burned in Western Europe, the Arabs and Persians used the libraries of Alexandria and Asia Minor, translated the scrolls and took them to Baghdad and far beyond. In distant Bukhara on the Silk Road to china, teenager called Abu Ali Ibn-e-Sina was engrossed in Aristotle’s Meta-Physics at the age of 17. The year was AD997 and text—central to subsequent development of philosophy—had long been lost and known in Western Europe.
The story of this priceless heritage’s return home, slung in the saddlebags of camels on the long caravans to Cairo, Fez and the cities of Moorish Spain, is well known to scholars. Hundreds of learned books are available and if you key in Ibn-e-Sina or his westernized name Avicenna on an internet search engine you will come with about 28,800 references. But the story, so relevant to the world today, has never been admitted to everyday British culture.
There are simple reasons for this too-medieval Christian bigotry, the post-Renaissance belief in the glory of Europe – but a lack of excitement in the story is not one of them. Umberto Eco proved that in the global bestseller, “The Name of the Rose.” His demented monk Jorge smears poison on a lost work of Aristotle and contemptuously spits out the name of “the Arab Averroes”—the scholar Ibn- Rushd of Cordoba, the last link in the journey of Greek learning back to the west.
The national curriculum reformers, to their credit, have seen the gap and tried to fill it, but their good intentions easily get lost. How many pupils in Britain take key stage 3’s option on Islamic civilization AD600-1600 or the shorter, 15-hour “scheme of work” project on the cultural achievements of Islamic civilization?
The Department for Education does not know; neither, more disturbingly, do the education authorities in a place like Bradford where Muslims and others desperately need common ground. In his report on the Yorkshire city’s divided communities last year, Lord Ouseley inveighed against the national curriculum’s shortcomings and demanded “effective learning environments in which racial differences are seen positively by pupils, underpinned by knowledge and understanding.
He had good ideas, including a local Bradford citizenship section to be added to the national curriculum’s citizenship module, which becomes compulsory from September. But the simpler option of highlighting those KS3 options, which offer just that “knowledge and understanding”, didn’t figure. Did Ouseley and his researchers know they were there?
The need for them, and for simple, reasonable textbooks on both courses, is not just a matter for the white community: the story has been marginalized in Islamic culture as well. A straw poll of British Asian students in Bradford produces the occasional cautious nod at the name Ibn-e-Sina but none for Ibn-e-Maimoun (Maimonides, Saladin’s doctor and the greatest Jewish scholar of the Arabic world); and none for Ibn-e-Rushd.
Like Jorge, traditionalist-Muslims have long found the sage of Cordoba disturbing and hard to explain to students in the madrassa.
What can they make of a man who complained that curbs on women wasted the potential of half the population of the Islamic world – and this way back in the 12th century? A man whose books, for a time, were proscribed by Christian and Muslim authorities alike?
And so we fumble on, with both communities stuck in the world memorably summarized by Dr. Johnson’s explanation of why Richard knolls’ book, A Generation all Historie of the Turkes (1603), sank without trace. The author said, “Johnson employed his genius upon a foreign and uninteresting subject and recounted enterprises and revolutions of which none desire to be informed”.
Next to Lumb Lane’s yunani- tibb- shop is the Asian Sweet Centre, which, significantly, has opened a subsidiary Sweet Centre fish and chip shop. Commerce and the laws of the market can force such bridges between communities; maybe the KS3 history options, in places like Bradford, need a bit of compulsion too.” (Curtsy: The Guardian London/The Nation Islamabad Dated 27-7-02 )
It is sad that the steps by the West in the 20th century to balkanize and westernize the Muslim world have approached the 21ist century. Consequently the gap has widened and the path of rapprochement is becoming hazy time after time. But it is a fact that the future of humanity for scientific knowledge and progress will not be safe without a real peace and rapprochement between the two civilizations. Hopefully there are, as is evident from the above extracts, Muslim and non-Muslim or Christian scholars who have faith in the message of all the Prophets of Allah, and God’s Books; they must prevail upon the new rulers of the modern world, on their greed for land and treasures of land and sea wealth; fight military aggressions and occupations against other nations and unite humanity for the sake of humanity on peace and peaceful co-existence. Islam is the message of peace and safety for all. The western intellectual movements should come forward to reciprocate by calling upon their rulers-both secular and religious to recognizing the freedom and independence of Muslim lands with their right to control their affairs and resources.
Note: The author is the Chairman Jammu and Kashmir People’s Freedom League