Friday, April 06, 2007

As per bizarro: A three part essay presented by O-Media explaining how the West tends to view the Arab world through the lenses of Western culture, which leads to distorted perceptions and mistakes in dealing with the Middle East.

Arab Culture Through Western Eyes

Tunisian author and researcher, Ikbal Algharbi, paints
an even worse picture, showing that as a people, Muslims still adhere to the
principles of the Bedouin tribes before the Islamic era, which received
religious reinforcement with the rise of Islam.

We still insist that we are always the victims and
always innocent. Our history is monarchical, our imperialism is welcome
occupation, our invaders are liberators, our violence is holy jihad (war), our
murderers are shahids (martyrs) and our misunderstanding of the Koran and the
daily violations of the rights of women, children and minorities are forgiving
religious law (“shariya”)
… Violence, conquest, savage acts of destruction are
engraved on human history. But what distinguishes us (Muslims) today is our
level of historical awareness… and the extent to which we justify the values of
the past in the name of Islam” [3].

Because of this clash of civilizations, those in
“liberal” professions, such as journalists and lawyers have to undergo a “Middle
East adaptation” so that their opinions fit in with the rules of society [4].
Scientists for their part struggle with constant denunciation from the religious
scholars who consider science “an opinion”, a human invention aimed at
questioning the actual existence of God [5]. It is worthwhile mentioning that
ambivalence toward scientific development causes many to give science a wide
berth [6] even if they have studied it and to strengthen the fundamentalist view
which sees science simply as a military tool


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