Islam misunderstood in West

PARTICIPANTS at a seminar organized by Muslim Institute in the capital on Wednesday rightly pointed towards the misunderstandings existing in western countries about Islam. The influential and articulate stratum of Western society is guilty of a whole range of negative attitudes towards Islam and the Muslims. At one end of the continuum is ignorance compounded by prejudice while at the other end is aversion alloyed with antagonism.
This problem actually began with Samuel Huntington’s ‘The Clash of Civilizations’ theory which was a diabolic and evil attempt to malign Muslims. In his article, he argued that, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Islam would become the biggest obstacle to Western domination of the world. The West’s next big war therefore, he said, would inevitably be with Islam. Today, the mainstream Western media is also portraying Islam or what it describes as ‘militant Islam’ or ‘fundamentalist Islam’ as a threat to the West. All these negative tendencies which are not based on solid facts have proved to be fundamental and root causes for present day challenges including extremism and terrorism. Given the rising sense of insecurity and timidity in different parts of the world, it is high time to put a lid on the negative campaign against Muslims as like every other religion, Islam also preaches peace, harmony and peaceful coexistence. These are actually the preachers of the religions who twist the messages for their vested interests. Their selective and biased analysis only adds to our ignorance rather than our knowledge, narrows our perspective rather than broadening our understanding, reinforces the problem rather than opening the way to new solutions. Therefore, it is high time that the followers of different religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism enhance their mutual interaction in order to better understand each other. This will greatly help offset the negative impression and apprehensions existing amongst people of different faiths against each other. The symposium organized in Islamabad was a step in the right direction to develop convergences amongst them and this process should continue to achieve the goal of peace and stability in the world at large.

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