Current images of Islam and Muslims in Western states vary significantly. The West portrays Islam as the core enemy and Muslim humanity as the host of terrorism that menaces Western society and its democratic values. The destructive wars, the inhuman action of the captive population of Iraq and Afghanistan and, and the unbridled abuse of prisoners from Islamic countries by British and American forces have proved the indifference between Islam and western values.
Democracy and the Humane Life
Western democracy tends to contradict Islamic democracy; the westerners view Islamic doctrines as oppressive and inhuman (Khan, pg 11). The difference between Islamic democracy and western democracy is very narrow, but westerns are not familiar with these facts. Islam is a type of civilization and way of living that varies from one Muslim state to another state, but not a political or religious movement. Muslims are animated by one spirit. On the contrary, western society has failed to put more emphasis on its liberal mythology.
Western open-minded democracy allows societies to benefit from openness, popular participation, government accountability, and high economic performance. Nevertheless, Western pluralism gives room for racism, exploitation, fascism, and genocide. But the Islamic culture is against these western cultural values and inhumane practices.
Concepts of the Sacred
Censorship is a major issue in which Islamic values differ from the western cultural values.censorship has much spread in the west than in Muslim countries. Modern civilization in the west has lead to new sacred abodes. restriction in the Islamic states is barbaric, which involves the forcing of individuals by Imams, governments, and at present by extremist Islamic militant groups. Censorship in the Western countries is more decentralized and polished; its practitioners are pecuniary backers of civilizing activity and amusement, advertisers who purchase time on business television, and prominent interest teams comprising ethnic force groups, and publishers, and editors and means of communication controllers (Khan, pg 45).
The predicament portrayed by the Danish cartoons illustrated Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist and has brought more conflict between the Western and the Islam world. It also depicted a clash among two rivals’ conceptions of the holy being. The holy being, of course, doesn’t inevitably imply an exterior deity. The holy being symbolizes one that is inviolable, invariable, and so vital to our uniqueness that, when it is offended in any way, it appears to vitiate the cordial self. The figure of the prophet Muhammad is so sacred to Muslims, and free speech has a sacred significance.
The Culture and Moral Values
Moral and cultural values have to change swiftly in the Western countries in the most recent several decades in the industrial revolutions and in the advancement of modern technology and as the world progressed. Islamic countries are not left out but experiencing the same changes. Sex before marriage was strongly prohibited in the western cultures. There were regulations against sex before marriage, which are still on books. Today prematurely sex, with parental authority, is very common.
The practice of Homosexual between males was an offense in Great Britain until the early twentieth century. Currently, such acts are very common, especially between adult males and males, female and female, and are legal practice in some western countries, but in other western countries, the action has not been legalized yet. Currently the gay and lesbian marriage have they own human right regulation that protect their rights against any exploitation. On the other hand Islamic culture and moral values prohibit such western values in the communities; they have laws that govern these practices in their territory.
In Muslim countries the issue of gender is trouble some, the status of women in the Muslim community is not recognized ,women are segregated in public meeting hence the women are not allowed to chair meetings in presence of men (Wadud, pg 26). Hence Westerners consider Muslim communities as unenlightened when dealing with issues related to women and gender. The western society with more emphasis to the Britons allowed the females to have sufficient rights to own and have a remarkable say in there marriage life, while Islamic culture which dominated most parts of the east usually have tried to put some balance on this fact. The females have always been given the allowance to own and inherit things incase their husbands passed away.In the west the daughters are allowed to inherit their parents properties even when the sons are present in the family. In the Islamic way of life, the system allows equal allocation of inheritance for both daughters and sons.
Islamic Perception of the Western World
The Muslims perceive western countries as oppressor and foreign neocolonial occupying powers. Westerns on the other hand, perceive themselves as liberators of the public in the Islamic region. The conflict between the westerns and Islamic community has been brought about by this understanding between the two groups. The destructive wars, the inhuman action of captive population of Afghanistan and Iraq, and unbridled abuse of prisoners from Islamic countries by British and American forces have proved this fact.
Freedom of expression and speech
Freedom of speech and expression is both a produce and a precondition of modernity. In the pre-modern world, public order was considered as more significant than freedom of thinking. It was not viable to persuade people to have innovative ideas or to disapprove of recognized institutions in the optimism of civilizing them, because agrarian-based civilization lacked the assets to execute many latest notions. But free thinking became important to the current economy; people could only develop into fully fruitful if inventors were able to tail their ideas exclusive of the management of a controlling hierarchy. Our freedom speech and thought has been firm won, and Western culture could not work without it. It has turn out to be a sacred value, portraying the inviolable independence of the individual.
Current Western move toward resolving conflict prioritizes troubles to be abstracted and resolved; peculiarly Islamic approach resemble the non-Western approach insofar as they structure conflicts as matter of communal based activity and not just personal concern, and underline the significance of repairing and preserving social relationships (Abu, pg 14). Muslim approach towards conflict solving draw on religious morals, social network, rituals of reunion and historical performance of mutual and inter mutual coexistence. Much stress is located on association between an individual and the team characteristics, between private and communal responsibility for wrongdoings, and amongst consideration to ‘face’-attached and related uprisings (reputation of generosity, community status and shame,) and the achievement of invigorating justice within a framework of continuing relationship(Abdul, pg26).
Conflict solving efforts are intended toward the preservation of mutual or intercultural harmony. They favor acknowledgment of mutual rights and compulsion, and uphold communal values by calling for communal apology, reimbursement for losses and amnesty. Conflict resolving solution systems are legitimized and assured by communal leaders and community elders who make easy process of reconciliation. History is considered as a source of stability and supervision that provides instruction for shaping a universal future potential for the society. Efforts aspired to protect and give power to families and the general community to participate in conflict resolution process (Falk, pg 66).
Western and Islamic Approaches to Peace
Western world approaches to peace mirror traditions inside Christian religious movement, the majority are underpinned by mainly secular logical constructs. In the ground of international relations, the existing Western approach is obvious in surfacing synthesis of neorealist political powers and neo liberal institutionalism. Considered independently from freedom of justice, peace is equivalent with nonexistence of wars; justice, on the other hand is comprehended as an absence of foul violations of the human rights (David, pg 54).
As non-existence of wars or planned violence, peace is sustained by the risk of coercion and by commercialized cooperation between great political powers. Peace is compared with stability guaranteed by hegemonic pressure. Where organizational zed order can’t be assured, as in politics between core and side-line nation states predominance of coercive power is observed as an essential, albeit arbitrary, negotiator of intractable disputes.
Surprisingly, the perception of peace that dominates between Western elites varies manifestly from the Islamic perception. In history, Islamic philosophers benefited from and constant extended the thinking of the Greeks, but tentative thought never separated itself as of religious principles and values. Furthermore, most Muslim philosophers were reluctant to emulate the Greek partiality to sanctify rationale while denigrating passion. Rationale was seldom viewed as sacred in its personal right, or was obsession viewed solely as a supply of distraction and injustice (David, 62). The general penchant was to analyze rationale and obsession as complementary aspects of the being that can be included in the course of the faith and application of Islam, active obedience to the divine.
In other words, deviating worlds of conception – the West and Islam, the North and- the South, must move together towards bring peace and unity. To achieve these objectives, reflection must be stimulated, mutual tragedies meaning found and sharing of nearly all sacred values and comprising perceptions of peace. Such actions permit exploration for meaning and commonality. The invention of commonality, consecutively, makes reconciliation probable, through the reaffirmation and re-identification of the core sacred precepts at which religious narratives, values and images have been build In the coming up with common consensus which involved the ultimate ability of sharing the suffering of each individual by the other members of the community.
Achieving a unifying universal consensus as the foundation for a humane, economically viable, new universal system is possible (Falk, pg 28). The quintessence of this vision has to be felt in addition logically argued, because it entails both the heart and the head. From this perception, a new universal system necessitates new social and political arrangements, a new visualization of human beings existential realism and rationale, and an unrelenting exertion to make the former beyond doubt reflect the latter. This is a plan for conflict resolution process that is valuable of the best in man kind nature and understanding.
Abu, L. Islamic way of conflict resolution. New York: Bantam Associates, 2006.
Abdul, K. Islam: Culture and conflict resolution. New York: Lexington press, 2001.
Falk, R. 1997. Geopolitics of exclusion and false universalism. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
David, Luban. The value of enhancing justice. USA: Macmillan Press, 1988.
Wadud, A. Qur’an and women’s affairs. USA: Penguin Books 1998.
Khan, N. Islam: Culture and the Western Mirror. Halsted Press, 1998.