Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ignore the Elephant In the Room

But not this one.

There are ten words and terms that Muslims do not want to hear: The Clash of Civilizations, Secular, Assimilation, Reformation, Jihadi, Moderate, Interfaith, Freedom, Religious Freedom and Tolerance.

This is a bit rich coming from a largely secularised culture which demands the Catholic Church change but I digress. Islam has presented itself largely as a culture resistant to change, rigid in its interpretations and violent in its actions and words. This is not to suggest all Muslims are violent. However, considering the demands of Muslims within Western countries and places like Pakistan, the failure or unwillingness to discuss these terms point to one thing: that Islamic fundamentalism is an impediment- a very negative one- to a culture many of us know and enjoy.

The Clash of Civilizations: how could one better phrase this? When women are wearing burqas while other women have a more "liberal" form of dress, that is a clash. These women have set themselves apart from the predominant culture to appease a misogynist rule.

Secular: In countries where heterogeneous populations have cultural, linguistic and religious differences, the "live and let live" attitude of no state religion has by and large worked, even if some bristle at it. After all, Christians have had to adapt to things they find unamenable. Should they be alone in this adaptation?

Assimilation: not of the Borg kind but of the "blending into your surroundings" kind. People who deliberately set themselves apart will always be an outsider. They will never have a linguistic, cultural or communal union because they don't want to. Inevitably, children of immigrants will pull apart from the cultural leanings of their parents or grandparents. Why stop what is going to happen anyway?

Reformation: if kernels of goodness exist in Islam, then let a reforming of its more rigid standards must happen. This can only occur within the Islamic world.

Jihadi: a Jihadi is "a holy warrior". Despite the efforts of the Islamic PR groups, the West has yet to see how a Jihadi struggles internally, not externally through violence. It is in the Koran to lash against its enemies and not in a spiritual way.

Moderate: again, reformation must come from within the Islamic world. A moderate, less violent and less rigid approach to matters eases tensions in the community at large. One can disapprove without lobbing a fire bomb.

Interfaith: I, too, have problems with interfaith dialogues but only on a theological level. If nothing else, we can be civil, using whatever common ground other religions and groups may have for the betterment of the community at large. If the Muslim community wants benefits only for them, that is selfish. Why should other "interfaith" groups appease them but the Muslims do nothing in return?

Freedom: free will determines what we do and who we are. If Islam is based on the absence of free will then it points to fearing God rather than loving Him with one's whole heart. If one stays on the straight and narrow path because they fear physical violence where is the altruism?

Religious Freedom: this allows Muslims and everyone else to live in Western countries unhindered. Is Mass celebrated in Saudi Arabia? Christmas? Is there violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Vancouver? Perhaps I've been away too long but I've never heard of suicide bombings in Canada.

Tolerance: again, tolerance exists because we allow differences not because we halt one for another. Not everyone observes Ramadan just as not everyone observes Lent. I wouldn't remind non-Catholics to fast from red meat but I have observe Ramadan because of one person? I don't think so.

The failure to accept these terms as a part of ongoing dialogue (as if we need that because adults should know the proper way to treat people in the first place) means that some people want something for nothing. This is unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

Monogamy is another word they don't want to hear. Actually some of those I don't even want to hear.

Osumashi Kinyobe said...

The Taliban also doesn't want to hear: "Please stop flogging me!"
A terrible joke, I realise, but what is going on (what has been ongoing) in Pakistan is just repulsive.