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Deep-Rooted Differences Between Islam & the West

Reader comment on item: Distinguishing between Islam and Islamism

Submitted by Ahmed Kamal El-Din M H Izzeddin (Bahrain), Oct 22, 2006 at 06:29

Sir,

I think one main cause of differences between Islam and the West is that most people in the West are bent on "what is", and care very little about what "should be". Most Muslims are on the reverse position. This also includes the category depicted as "Islamists" by your article. What are the implications of this departure?

First, Muslims, including Islamists, remain connected to the "should be"s of Islam no matter where the happen to reside, including in western countries. "What is", or the realities and factual situations of life make no difference to their maintenance of their ideals. Westerners, on the other hand, look to such "should be"s as fundamentalist ethos which should not be relevant to man's behaviour in a liberal world.

Secondly, the westerners keep looking for Islam (when they do) in the realities of Muslim communities, which are by far, in many cases, divorced from the real teachings of Islam. To the westerners, seeing is believing. To most Muslims, living is believing. The realities of Muslims do not help westerners, while the prejudiced thinking of the westerners fail Muslims in any genuine endeavour to communicate and co-exist.

Thirdly, Islam thus becomes victim of both Muslims and non-Muslims. The former by their unconforming deeds, the latter by seeking knowledge of Islam from the wrong source. Islam is a message, meant to change reality of man. If a Muslim community remains un-Muslim, it is not the Islam's fault. Nor is it the fault of a westerner who mistakes the ailments of Muslims for shortcomings in Islam itself.

These points of difference could be ironed out through quite and peaceful dialogue, provided there is good intention on both sides of the dialogue table. One reasonable incentive into such dialogue could be the love for peace and prosperity for mankind as a whole.

Please note that i have been taling about "Islam", not "Islamism", unless explicitly otherwise indicated in my comment. Misunderstanding Islam would make it even more difficult to comprehend Islamism. The latter is, admittedly, a modern phenomenon of by no means any necessary bearing on the essence of Islam.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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