Is­lam mis­un­der­stood in West

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Ptal ARTICIPANTS at a sem­i­nar or­ga­nized by Mus­lim In­sti­tute in the capi

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.

THE case of Panama doc­u­ments be­ing re­leased to the world has raised a furor in Pak­istan as well as the coun­tries where the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship was im­pli­cated in the fi­nan­cial scan­dal. The masses in some of the na­tions af­fected have forced their lead­er­ship to ren­der their res­ig­na­tions but not so in Pak­istan. Here the op­po­si­tion is bent upon drag­ging the rul­ing dis­pen­sa­tion into the dock while the rulers are adamant they have com­mit­ted no wrong.

The case be­comes murkier with the dis­clo­sure that some mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion bench too are also guilty of the same crime. The onus of re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­solve the is­sue over­whelm­ingly lies on the PM and time is the key fac­tor to the out­come of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal im­broglio - the longer it per­sists and more in­tense it be­comes. It would be best for the PML-N gov­ern­ment to cur­tail its tempo and find a way out soon.

Though the PM is not di­rectly men­tioned in the Panama doc­u­ments, his ad­dresses to the na­tion ex­plain­ing his own po­si­tion fol­lowed by PML-N top lead­ers jump­ing into the fray, has fur­ther com­pli­cated the con­tro­versy. A golden op­por­tu­nity was avail­able to Nawaz Sharif to take the is­sue by its horns and rec­om­mend mea­sures to in­ves­ti­gate the ac­cu­sa­tions as well as ask the par­lia­ment to frame fresh leg­is­la­tion to re­solve the mat­ter. It may be re­mem­bered that the Chief Justice of Pak­istan (CJP) was sent a note to form a com­mis­sion to


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