Muslims and the West

Honorable West; we Muslims know most of you and we do not subscribe to what the fanatics in both sides adhere to.

muslimsWe Muslims understand most of you will get aback at what we practice inside our social fabrics. We do know both sides are prone to prejudice built on stereotyping. We can understand your majority won’t be hostage to the few as we often fall in the traps of the very few among us.

We Muslims do not hesitate to admit that in today’s world your contribution is greater than ours. We can easily admit our faults, challenges and malaise. But O, West don’t you have any flaws!

Sensible among you will testify well that your world, your wealth and your civilization have the contribution from this side as well. The Muslims worked as a bridge to pass on to you the thinking legacy of the great ancient Greeks. This was a time when your part of world was in dark ages; you were under the thumb of the clergy; and the clergy were your sole messiah. Isn’t it a historical fact what you call renaissance in the thirteenth century had the driving force of people like Averroes, Avicenna, and Ibn Khaldun?

True, we Muslims lag far behind you in the sanctity of human rights, social development, knowledge and technology. But do you think your rulers have no hand in all the mess we are in?

Who forced the world to align in two blocs during the Cold War? Who are the twenty percent which are consuming eighty percent of the world’s resources? Who on the earth expounded a clash of civilization and denounced the end of history? Don’t you realize who brought the Cold War to South Asia by arming states here?

The few fanatics among you incite the entire Muslim community by abusing the personalities the Muslims regard the dearest.

Why is it so often repeated? Why is it all done in the name of “free speech?”

O, dear West, why don’t you see the stark contradictions? Your rulers are apparently the great champions of freedom, human rights and human happiness but let us know who first made the deadly weapons on earth; and who used it on human beings. Who used political Darwinism and who relied on the diabolism of machine?

O, the people of West, go revisit your sages and saints and think again and again. You as citizens have become confined to a very smaller world around you despite the world becoming a global village. You tend to believe what the few powerful fanatics tell you. We are equally blamed of that narrower outlook. We honestly think it is not so. We are also at war with ourselves.

READ  Aiding Syrian Opposition Could Be Harmful

Why don’t you come out in circumstances where the few succeed to bring the inhabitants of earth to war? The majority here is now made to see you stereotyped in Terry Jones, Sam Bacile and George W. Bush. It is the same as we are stereotyped in Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein. We do not hear you, the majority of civilized the West, as you do not hear the majority of us here.

Our religions have all the common things and they are from the same sources. It is not religions that bring us human beings to war. It is politics backed by corporations and the vested interest of the few who rule our world. While, the fanatics on this side want to capture power but are resisted forcefully; the fanatics on your side have already got power either directly at the helm of affairs or indirectly in the shape of powerful lobbies.

The world is a beautiful bunch of different flowers with multiple cultures adhering to different values, norms and traditions. We understand what we hold dear must not necessarily be as dear to you.

We Muslims understand what you hold dear must not be necessarily the same for us. To share the bounty of mother earth planet we all need to understand that we should respect each other. And the great common golden rule in all faiths is: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them.”

Zubair Torwali is a researcher, linguist and human rights activist. Born and raised in Bahrain Swat, Pakistan, he heads the Institute for Education and Development, a civil society organization working for the conservation of cultural, lingual and natural heritage among the linguistic communities in north Pakistan. Zubair was recently awarded the Prof. Anita Ghulam Ali Award of Teachers and Education in Emergencies. Read other articles by Zubair.