The inevitable clash

Sana Aijazi June 15, 2010
Would you like an atheist as Chairman of WAPDA? A white City Nazim for Karachi or for that matter a British Director General of FIA in Punjab? Would you encourage wine shops and dance bars across Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad? How would you react to roving half-naked girls at Constitutional Avenue in Islamabad and at Millennium Mall in Karachi? Just as you don’t want significant titles in your country given to westerners and your way of life swayed by secular thoughts, same is the case in United States, Europe and India. They don’t want their culture altered under the shadow of Islamic civilisation.

There is nothing wrong with the reaction that the West has, as it is exactly similar to how Muslims’ respond to when their societies are threatened by liberal and secular thoughts. However, over the past few years, this reaction has been institutionalised to a dangerous level, resulting in segregation of Islam and the West. It has become possible due to controlled American media, campaigning strategically against Muslims since many decades. 9/11, 7/7 and Mumbai attacks have catalysed the process and have given more strength and a tangible result to these stakeholders.

Europe and the United States have been key players in this. The laws addressing detention, ban on scarf and minarets are not only ceilings on symbols of Islamic faith, but in a broader perspective, they are more about funneling Islam towards a rejected religion.

The Swiss ban on minarets is not a matter of beautiful terrains; it is a symbolic reaction to what is perceived as an Islamic threat. During the campaigning for ban on minarets, the organisers discussed little on the construction and architecture of minarets and campaigned more about the influence of Islam, its Shariah and the Burqa. They portrayed Islam as a civilisation contrary to their beliefs, in order to gain voters for their drive. The posters reflected images of Switzerland as if it was taken over by Islam. The Swiss people termed minarets as Muslim power symbols.

Despite the ongoing campaign, thousands of Muslims have migrated to United States and other western countries over the past decades. Better economic conditions and improved standard of life is what immigrants might have achieved, but at what cost? Total loss of identity is what trickles through generations, or one observes people returning to their homelands after being offended. It further strengthens the argument that Muslims have never been welcomed in the West and will never be.

In order to stop the influx of Muslims, methods are being adopted to institutionalise suppression of self-esteem. The full body scan introduced at American and UK airports for majority Muslim countries reflect the same. Similarly, the ‘terror threats and suspects’ mechanism ensures that Muslims do not create stronger bonds with Masjids, the Muslim community and their faith.

Those who still believe that there is a place for composite dialogue and understanding between Islam and the West, are mistaken. There are no options left. Clash of civilisations is the only thing that can happen between the two camps. Both are extremists, assertive and insist on their ideology, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, logic and philosophy of mind. Its time to decide, which side are you on?
Sana Aijazi A commentator on defense and security issues. She is associated with The Eastern Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Talha | 14 years ago | Reply I think the writer has hit the nail right at its head and everybody is hiding behind the bush by criticizing the starting paragraph of the article. Our beliefs about “the moderate Islam” are much distorted and that if we revisit our basic beliefs we will find that they are in stark contrast with the current western culture and way of life. Never the less, as true Muslims, we should respect each other’s values but on the other hand we should not waste our energy in finding out a middle way.
Atiq Rehman | 14 years ago | Reply And how I wish we had an honest Chairman Wapda and an honest FIA. It seems the author prefers these organisations to be in the hands of the incompetent, ineffecient and downright corrupt, yet so called 'muslim' hands which have destroyed them in the first place.
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