Call for mutual understanding between Islam, West

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Speakers at a seminar here on Wednesday emphasized the need to improve mutual understanding between Islam and West saying it is high time we highlighted commonalities of Islam,Christianity and Judaism rather than focusing on differences.
Muslim Institute had organized the seminar titled ‘Westren Preceptions About Islam & Muslims: A Case of Hungry.’ Ambassador of Hungry Istvan Szabo, President international Center for Democratic Transition Hungary Dr.Istvan Gyarmati, former ambassador Masood Khan, former ambassador Fauzia Nasreen and Chairman Muslim Institute Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali addressed the seminar. Istvan Szabo was of the view that Hungry has a long history of interaction with Islam and Muslims which dates back to more than a millennium ago. Sufi tomb of Gull Baba and other historical places built in medieval time by Muslims represent the roots of Hungary’s link with Islam and Muslims.
The celebrations in Hungary for century of Islam’s legally recognized existence in Hungary would play an effective role in highlighting the communities. Unfortunately nowadays media representations do not highlight the commonalities of Islam with Western Christian beliefs. Hence, there is a need to improve mutual understanding. In this regards some academics, institutions and politicians are playing their role, but more has to be done.
Perhaps one of the main reasons of this misconception about Islam in the West is occurrence of certain incidences and unfortunate events of terrorism and violence. Muslims living in the West now have a greater responsibility to abide by the laws, their culture and language to develop a better image in the host countries.
Prof Ramazan from University of Oxford described 3 main principles to be fulfilled in order to become integrated in Europe: law, language, and loyalty. He argues that majority Muslims fulfill all three as they abide by the law, learn their language, and be loyal to their host state. Particular actions of a few individuals should not be related to whole community whether it is the West or Muslims. We should understand that the slogans raised for sake of some political and vested interests should be kept separate from reality and be analyzedin terms of factual narratives.
Speakers emphasized that if some Muslims act contrary to teachings of Islam, it should be clearly distinguished from Islam – which is the religion of peace – in order to inform people about the true spirit of world’s second largest religion and the culture that it carries. Moreover, Muslim countries should not be defensive all the time for giving justification for such misperceptions; rather they should invest and create new opportunities for their masses for achieving economic growth. China has done the same and now every country wants to promote bilateral relations and trade with it without regard to their political and religious beliefs. We should promote bilateral relations with Hungry and create awareness about respective cultures in both countries so as to promote mutual understanding for strategic outcomes and long-lasting relations.

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