Dilemma of the Islamic world: perspective of democratic countries


“The basis of belief and any reflection on its origin is excluded as sin. What is needed is blindness and drunkenness and an eternal song on the waves where reason has drowned.

~Friedrich Nietzsche (Dawn: Reflections on Moral Prejudice)

As far as I know, we only have ONE world. However, nowadays it has become very common to suffix the world after the Abrahamic religion – such as the Islamic world, the Christian world, etc. To some degree funny while literally considering, at the same time horribly dangerous a trend we are heading towards. Whole Arab nations jumped into chorus, as part of the so-called ‘Islamic world’, against India over a provocative statement by the (currently suspended) BJP spokesperson in a televised debate live. A perfect example of how to make a mountain out of a mole. Every day, thousands of these abusive statements against all religions are posted or uploaded on social media or electronic media platforms around the world. However, this one received an exceptional response from the “Islamic World”. Even though the entire Uyghur Muslim population was exterminated from China’s Xinjiang province, Chinese products were never taken out of Qatar’s supermarket.

Throughout human history, religions have influenced civilizations more profoundly than any other factor. Religion has been both a dominant cause and effect of the rise and fall of civilizations, influencing the conduct of war and peace, social relations, political and economic life, cultural pattern and culture. individual and collective ethics. Like all other religions, Islam also promotes all the nobility of human society – compassion, love, justice, etc. Arab society. From the beginning, Muslim society was very reluctant to reform. Efforts in this direction were equated with apostasy, punishable by death. The majority of the Islamic world is not flexible with ideas such as equality rights, the democratic system, gender equality and, last but not least, freedom of expression.

Equality rights have been won by human society after centuries of long struggles during which the concept of democracy has continued to evolve. The Magna Carta, the Reformation, the Renaissance and elected governments were milestones on this journey. However, the true spirit of democracy is far from the democracies that are practiced today. Yet the situation is much better than in the Islamic world which does not allow freedom of thought or independent conscience at all. Anyone who dares to exercise such freedom, like Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasrin, is immediately targeted.

The Islamic world also rejects gender equality. Previously, the status of women was equated with property. Even today, they are victims of discrimination in matters of inheritance, marriage, education, dress, etc. On the social, cultural and political front of the Islamic world, women as a class are still very far from liberation and equality.

The Islamic world imposes strict censorship on the free expression of ideas. In this matter, there is no meeting point between modern thought and Islamic thought. Democracies grant their citizens full freedom of expression and thought, except in matters relating to public safety and morality. Responsible media in these countries practice self-censorship so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities, but Muslim intolerance remains unchecked even when the law of the land takes its course on these issues. This has recently been seen in the reactions of Muslims around the world. Similar outrage from the Islamic world occurred over the depiction of the Prophet in Danish newspaper cartoons in 2005. The Danish action was an exercise in testing the principle of free speech against intolerance Muslim. The point he was trying to make was that immigrants should live according to the cultural values ​​of the country to which they immigrate. The nature of the reactions showed that this was unacceptable to Muslims.

There is much in every religion that can be cited against cruelty, killing or harming innocent people, wanton destruction, etc. The problem arises when drawing from the same or equally authentic and impeccable sources, the opposite can also be justified. Candidates take subjective positions, deliberately or not, that are in accordance with their personal interests, predispositions or psychological fixations, and then find religious justifications to rationalize their actions. This calls for an objective examination of the space that different religions provide, if any, to support violence that is inhumanely cruel, can be directed against the innocent, and targets people for having a faith and belief system different from their own. .

The clash of civilizations, a prediction of Samuel Huntington, seems to be looming in a reality. The chasm between the Islamic world and democratic countries is widening. European nations are now thinking seriously about how to protect their culture of origin, block new immigration and reduce the scope of immigrants’ rights. There is little evidence to suggest that Muslims in Islamic countries in the subcontinent think differently from the Islamic world, depending on where they live. The near total elimination of Hindus in Pakistan and the similar process taking place in Bangladesh reveal a similar Arab mindset.

Democratic governments around the world must promote reformist, modern and courageous Muslims and Islamic scholars, who must be encouraged to speak out, through radio, television, seminars and debates, inviting the majority silent in a movement of reforms. The role of democratic governments must remain that of catalysts and facilitators without encroaching on the sensitive area of ​​religion. This could be highly counterproductive and raise genuine concerns of interference with citizens’ personal religious beliefs and practices. Only a mass movement and campaign, initiated within the Muslim community in democratic countries, can avert the calamity towards which the world seems to be heading. In this context, it should be mentioned that some Danes believe that the intense debate within the Danish Muslim community over the cartoon controversy has advanced Islamic society in Denmark by at least 300 years.

(Disclaimer: The views of the author do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. WION or ZMCL also does not endorse the views of the author)

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