Member Rara Avis
To add to AnonymousFemale's post - I'm incredibly concerned about the amount of Muslim-hating, and ignorance that comes with this, in light of the terrorist attacks. In the last few months I've had the opportunity to know quite a few muslims - young adults like myself whose families have fled Iraq and Saddam Hussein's cruel reign - relatively well, and they are all lovely people. That's the key word - they're people.
Which is something many other non-muslim people around the globe seem to be forgetting. Over here - a mosque has received threats of a bomb-attack - then had paint bombs of all things thrown at it. Indian and Arabic people have been slandered...as far as I know there has even been a murder here. It's disgusting.
What I am interested in is why. Where does this terrible propensity to blame an entire culture/ethnic group or affiliation/religion come from?
Due to my curiosity I decided to do an essay on why the West fears Islam..and thought I'd share a little bit out of a book I'm reading for research..I find these excerpts quite enlightening. I hope you will too.
From 'The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?' by John L. Esposito. (1995 edition).
' Identification in terms of religion and ethnicity can contribute to an 'us' and 'them' outlook. The tendency to view the world in bipolar terms is a human propensity which has always utilized any difference in identity in the process of self-definition, social relations, and international affairs - I belong to this family or village versus that family or village; I am secular versus religious...First World versus Third World. It is fed by a past tendency in our educational systems to ignore other religious traditions and cultures or to treat them as mysterious, strange, foreign, inferior. As a result, both illiterate and highly educated people for different reasons are often ignorant of other traditions. more prone to view them in an 'us' and 'them' context, more likely to compare the ideals of their country, religion or civilisation with the negative realities of anothe. Moreover, a world of clashing civilisations is a world of double standards: people apply one standard to their kin-countries and a different standard to others.'
'Negative images of Islam...correspond not with what Islam 'is'...but to what prominent sectors of a particular society take it to be.Those sectors have the power and the will to propogate that particular image of Islam and this image therefore becomes more prevalent, more present, than all others. The tendency of governments and the media to equate Islam...with radicalism, terrorism, and anti-Westernism seriously hampers our understanding and conditions our responses.'
As far as popular culture goes, here is a quote I think is very astute:
'Muslims are attired in 'traditional' dress, bearded and turbaned despite the fact that most Muslims do not dress or look like this [my friends surely don't]. The result reinforces the image of Islamic activists as medieval in life-style and mentality.'
On the nature of terrorism:
'But what of the domestic threat of violence and terrorism by Islamic fundamentalism? The demonstrations, violence and death threats that accompanied the Salman Rushdie affair, charges that Muslim citizens in Britain, France and America have formed radical networks with international connections...have raised questions about national security and immigration policies. Concerns are reflected in headline stories: 'Holy War Comes To America' [please remember this is written in a revised edition of this text 6 years ago], 'Islam Under Seige,' 'The New Dawn For Islam: The Global Campaign.' For some the question 'Can they accommodate' is often joined to another: 'Can they be loyal and trusted citizens?' While these are legitimate questions, this approach risks painting all Muslims, and indeed Islam itself, as violent, rather than carefully distinguishing between a radical fringe, and the mainstream, those who manipulate and distort religion to justify their actions and the Islamic tradition itself.'
I'll finish this with something I find sadly profound:
Fear often issues in the demonisation of an enemy or threat.
It does doesn't it?
Hugs to all, K
[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 09-24-2001).]