Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Liberalism is the solution - an arab voice

disclaimer:
This article represents the views and thoughts of its original author, and is published here in an attempt to give space to various voices to speak about the current issues. Original text in Arabic can be found here .
This is an effort to create an as-close-as-possible translation to the original text. I am not a professional translator, I am simply a multi-lingual person who wants to show different points of view to others, especially the views and thoughts of the arab left wing about current issues..
Omar

Liberalism is the solution
by Taleb
Maw
la - Taken from The Middle
East Transparent web portal


The story goes on.. Another episode of killings, destruction and damage spread across the Arab and Islamic worlds for the most simple and non-crucial things. The Arab and Muslim people went out in angry bloody demonstrations, leaving destruction and fires behind it, chanting the most extremist slogans while demonstrating, thinking that they are a driving force of this world, forgetting that they are still live off the charity of the “Pagan” west.!!!!!!

This story repeats itself in the wounded Iraq after the explosions of Samerra, which started a secular propaganda that spread all across Iraq, leaving the poor and the wretched Iraqis victims of these slogans.
Again, Iraq is destructed by the hands of terrorists and the hands of its
own people in a secular war that was always sought and planned by extreme right-wing Muslim clans.. Planned and manifested by destroying the two holly tombs in Samerra.

I can’t understand how people can rage for a mosque or a cartoon, and not move a finger for those who get killed everyday by suicide bombers in Iraq. Nor could I understand why they wouldn’t demonstrate for the
thousands killed in Iraq and Algeria, or the millions dying of hunger in Africa.

This is the charade of the Arab mind.

This way, Muslims -in all Islamic counties and news channels- find their opportunity to exploit hot issues like these (and there’s always an issue for the Arab world) to demonstrate our conspiracy theories, our theories about the American/Zionist plan to steal the fortunes of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and the legend of Israel nation from the
Euphrates to the Nile.
The funny thing about this sad story that some people marketed this explosion in Samerra to be a distraction for Muslim to set their minds off the story of the cartoons that offended the Prophet Muhammad.

I don’t know if our Arab world needs all these efforts from western nations.. A world that cannot even manufacture matches without resorting to the west.. a world where people are oppressed by their own ruling system… a nation that lives off mythologies, dreams, and the desire to reinstate the Islamic caliphate system by a miracle like Noah’s flood, or by the return of the “Mehdi” or by a heavenly thunder bolt that will hit and destroy the atheist world…

It is this nation that actually needs a thunderbolt.. maybe they will
resort back to reason.
Why didn’t Arabs learn from the experience of the Japanese and the Germans after they were completely destructed in world war I and II.. How they (the Germans and the Japs’) could rise from their downfall
they were put through by the coalition forces, and how they decided to reject violence and ethnic massacres, and replaced these thoughts with reconstruction and hard work until they became two major players in culture, technology and science ?

Why didn’t we learn from these modern historic stories?

Or maybe it is that the Arab mind has panic attack and agoraphobia, or
maybe it is the inherited Arab / Muslim genes that refuse to make use of others’ experiences as Dr. Ahmad Baghdadi says.

Dr. Terki Al Hamad answers these questions in his book “Politics between what’s religiously allowed, and what’s religiously forbidden” .. he resorts this backwardness to the concept of movement/stillness, in reference to Ernest Renan’s quote: “The greatest advance by modern thought is replacing the concept of the “being” by the concept of “the image”, and the concept of “the absolute” by the concept of “the relative”, and replacing stillness with movement.”
This concept is the best summary of the modern age and the philosophy that lives off change, movement and the opening to other civilizations, which is the exact opposite of that in the Arab mentality that was brought upon doubting and fearing the others.

So, how can the Arab and Islamic world get out of its current backward
reality?

Firstly: by re-phrasing the Arabic and Islamic concepts by performing a new critical reading of the Islamic history, and by studying the history and evolution of western school of thought. This school of thought could exist through wars led by philosophers and thinkers against the philosophy of the central church that forced the individual to obey the church’s authority. This caused the church to lose its spiritual and religious authority (which was the reason for its existence) and it went towards the amalgamation of the spiritual and materialistic religion. It even became a cheap tool in the hands of kings to generate rewards and income for the political power that controls the people through the church’s religious authority.

The need thus becomes evident for a protestant Islam, as put by the Iranian thinker Hashem Aghajari, who invited people to understand religion without reverting to the religious authoritarians and their endless explanations and rule that keeps people under the control of the Islamic Religious doctrine.
This doctrine can be confronted only by criticizing the backward
religious ideology, renewing it and trying to understand reality by employing the human mind in the process -this mind that could tame nature- and deserting the concept of the surviving groups and eliminating the other, which has always brought disasters upon us.

Secondly: the importance of adopting liberal thinking that’s based on the individual’s right to adapt and follow any school of thought or belief, while respecting his freedom and rights, away from any national and religious ideologies that usually led to eliminating “the other” and depriving him from his right in choosing his beliefs, and practicing his freedom in the legal boundaries of a civil society.

Liberal thinking is the only system that ensures ethnic and religious
minorities’ rights. It is the system that ensures freedom of belief for the
citizens of one nation, without having to enforce any ideology on the others. It has proven to be capable of evolving itself based on the requirements and needs to meet changing realities, unlike the religious ideology that shies from evolving and merging into the new global system in the name of protecting the authenticity of the Arabic and Islamic Identity: the fear of losing our “ethical and religious values”.
This intentional continuous mutation is caused by political Islamic parties, as well as the slogan-making nationalists, who believe that they have the right to gain custody of everyone in the name of maintaining the ethics and values of society.. Their continuous association between liberalism and atheism, which –in their mind- leads to the diminishing
of ethical values of society, made liberals and liberal thinkers be looked upon as atheists and pagans..

The real reason behind this propaganda is their continuous fear (of the
nationalists and political islamists) of the rapid growth of liberal thinking, which would eventually find a system that allows people to co-exist in the same nation regardless of their ethnic and religious background.
This established socio-political liberal system will clash with their inability to find a system or a political-economical-religious vision, which forces them to continuously call to return to the origin of Islam (and the slogan: “Islam is the solution”) without clearly defining the representatives of this socio-political religion..

Many overlook the fact that the tide of change is coming anyway, regardless how hard they try to blind the eyes from seeing that many in the world are trying very hard to find ways to coexist in peace, safety and freedom.. and that those who stood in the faces of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton; and called them atheists and pagans for confronting the religious manuscripts by applying common sense to them… those didn’t know that they are standing against the tide of change, and against the authority of the mind that gave the logical explanations to natural phenomena, that were once considered mystical.

Finally, the painful events and daily bloodbaths’ the Arab and Islamic
worlds are going through, require us to stop weeping and whaling for a while, and stand together to stop the tide of this rightwing extremist religious doctrine that is led by a group of sick psychos who kill and destroy in the name of religion.

Real belief is based on believing in the importance of co-existing with
the others, respecting them and their religions and sects, and understanding that diversity is a global phenomenon that implies that we should co-work with people from all over the world to ensure mutual benefits and prosperous living.

96 Comments:

Blogger Omar said...

great article Omar.. thanks for taking the time to translate

28 February, 2006 18:42  
Blogger Helena said...

Thank you Omar, great article!

28 February, 2006 22:57  
Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Great article. The one question I keep on asking is that while it is obvious this is what needs to be done, is there any serious evidence that it IS being done?

Sure, in the blogosphere there are plenty of voices speaking in favor of a Reformed Islam, of an acceptance of democracy, of an end to the medievalism that so marks Islam in practice. They are talking to each other, and to non-Muslims like myself, and they are welcomed.

But they are 'just' bloggers. Are there any people in power, or even attempting to gain power who support these ideas? And do they have a chance, if they start being influential, of avoiding attacks from the representatives of Unreformed Islam? Can they somehow convince the 'average intelligent Muslim' that they aren't heretics, infidels, unbelievers?

Those aren't rhetorical questions. I want someone to tell me these ideas have a chance, not just to say it but to demonstrate it. Because I am scared at what might happen if they don't.

On my own blog I've been writing a VERY long series on Islam and the problems I see in it. I hope someone who agrees with ideas like the ones expressed here -- and who can put up with my extreme long-windedness -- will stop by and comment and show me why I am worrying too much.

01 March, 2006 02:10  
Blogger Nabeel said...

hello mates ..

I have a question .. can you guys tell me what year/century did God create Prophet Adam? Was there TIME when he was created? (TIME as in the 4th dimension) .. if not a specific year (I'm not sure if TIME was created at that point) .. is there a hint to when was he created?

thanks

01 March, 2006 02:30  
Blogger (N = 1) said...

Wow Omar, great article! And what a gargantuan task of translating it. Thank you so much!

01 March, 2006 16:18  
Blogger (N = 1) said...

@Nabeel: My guess is that the creation of Adam, by means of the divinely selected tool of Evolution, took place about 60.000 to 80.000 grandfathers ago. this is my best estimate, and I do not know if I can spoeak for all bridge-builders...

01 March, 2006 16:23  
Blogger Omar said...

Prup,

a few decades ago, people like Mawla (the author) were the decision makers in many countries in the middle east.. and if you read about the recent history of the area.. it was only in the past 15-20 years that liberal voices were muted in favor of tighter control from the dictatorships that took over in these countries..

How effective are these voices on the short term? I Don’t know.. Will articles like these make sudden and fast changes in the area? I don't think so.. Does that mean that the hope for a different scenario is lost? I don't think so as well..
If you look back at the period where this extreme right-wing Islamic movement started, and if you compare the dates, it would go hand in hand with the time when the war governments came to power in the US, and since George Bush the father started war against Iraq.
in the first Gulf War (when Saddam invaded Kuwait) many Arab leaders supported the coalition against Saddam, but when the war kept going, and many Iraqis were killed.. And when the US kept supporting the Israeli government in their offences against Palestine.. This is when this new power started rising (secretly.. we didn't feel it until it was too late) to create the balance..
So, to stop extremism on our side.. Extremism should be stopped on the other side too.. cos this concept of superiority that assumes that the west has the right to criticize (and make fun of) whatever they don’t like in the middle east (cos they less civilized), but when Muslims protest.. they market them as savage animals who don’t know about freedom of speech.. well.. I don't see things getting any better.. not even with thousands of liberal Arab thinkers like Mr. Mawla an his likes.

01 March, 2006 19:31  
Blogger Omar said...

Nabeel, my guess is Adam was created roughly the same time earth was, so about 5000 years ago. This is from a religious opint of view.

But if you're like me, a supporter of evolutinary theory, then you would be looking at the time frame that Nico mentioned.

02 March, 2006 06:17  
Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Omar:
Your comments about the rise in Islamic extremism coinciding with the Gulf War means YOU are the one who needs a little History Lesson:

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928

Qutb wrote in the 1950s

Alman al-Zawahiri was arrested in 1979

The Afghanistan-USSR conflict (where the Muslim rebels were backed by the US) took place in the 1980s, before Bush (I) was President. This is thought to have started Bin Laden on his career.

Khomeini took power in the seventies and the Hostage crisis ran until 1981.

More later.

Jim

07 March, 2006 02:37  
Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Sorry for the break, my wife wanted the computer. Okay, along with the list above, I could have included the Grand Mufti of Egypt during WWII and the immediately preceding time, who was a supporter of and ally of Hitler.

The Munich Olympics took place long before Bush -- and whatever justification you may give, moderates do not kill innocents to make a point.

But I, absolutely seriously, would like a list of some of the moderates you mention as having been "the decision makers in many countries in the middle east.." I would be curious to read about them. Certainly, they did not exist in Saudi Arabia -- where the Selafis and the royal family made decisions, or in Egypt -- a dictatorship after the fall of the monarchy, or Libya, or Iran (unless you count Mossadegh) which had the Shah followed by Khomeini. But there are countries whose history I don't know. I would like some names and dates.

07 March, 2006 03:02  
Blogger Omar said...

Jim,
I don't need a history lesson from someone who knows about those things by reading about them.. I lived those historical facts you refer to, they are part of a cultural progression that I endured through immediate and consequential effects...

What you are talking about is political Islam, organized parties with Islam as an ideology, having strategic and long term goals.. and if you don't mind me adding, combining Al-Zahrawi with the brotherhood and the Khomeini in one historical progression is not even close to being accurate..

The brotherhood is a political party, democratically (yes, democratically, not with a US flavor) elected in Jordan and in Egypt. it is not an extreme right wing party in all its branches.. most of its orientation is middle right wing, except for some of its local branches in the area...
on the other hand, the Khomeini (who led the Islamic revolution in Iran) was driving Iran towards a political system that adapted Islam as a main methodology, but aimed at eliminating the Shah's power in Iran, thus fighting against the American influence in the area.. and a communist Soviet union wouldn't have any relations with Iran if it was an extreme doctrine as you said... Islamics consider them as atheists as you might know.

for you information.. Al Khomeini’s revolution is Shiite, the brotherhood is Sunni, and AL Qaida are sunni-salafi's.. and there is an ideological difference and a bloody history among these sects that cannot justify combining them in a simple general classification labeled as "extreme Islam"..

The growing influence of extremist Islam (the one I was talking about) is something that started as a natural, non-politicized return towards religion as an identity.. this return is exercised on the level of a common street man that does not need secret organizations to tell them what to do..
Those secret organizations (Al Qaida for example), however, took advantage of this growing nationalistic feelings and started feeding them to turn them into extremism, making good use of the bitterness in people's hearts after these wars..
And yes.. These feelings started after the gulf war (starting from the first one).. And it kept growing stronger with all the later variations of it: second gulf war, the bombing of Sudan's Aspirin factory, etc....

The Munich Olympics incident, on the other hand, has nothing to do at all with any Islamic orientation.. This was a pure act of resistance, planned by the PLO which is by no means close to being an Islamic organization.. they were strongly affiliated with the Soviet Union at that time..

so I guess you have to understand (before you go look for the moderates in the Arab world) that the Arab world is mostly Muslim, and Muslim does not mean islamist, and not all anti-american / Anti-Israeli actions are islamist actions.. They are simply acts of resistance..
The Arab world supported Hitler during world war II because this was the end of colonial times, and people who were bitter from the British and French occupation were ready to support anyone who stood against France and England at that time.. again.. not a religious tendency… another act of resistance…


Peace..

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