Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya: Muslim-non-Muslim, East-West Relations –
دقيقتان مع الدكتور يحيى : الشرق شرق والغرب غرب
الأستاذ الدكتور حسن يحيى : أستاذ علم الاجتماع المقارن سابقا
Hasan Yahya, Former Professor of Comparative Sociology
Some approaches to close the gap between East and West in terms of religious ethics were provided in recent history. May be the most influential and pragmatic solution is the call of King Abdullah of Sa’udi Arabia. His Royal Highness (خادم الحرمين الشريفين) has the means and the vision to realize congruity and peace among peoples and nations of the globe. And his noble initiative should be considered as guidance for those who seek peace on earth. But factors of discouragement show itself in some ideological declarations of supremacy of some thoughts and beliefs over others, plus the rise of radical groups or persons irresponsibly to enlarge the gap. These discouragement are sometimes announced by political and religious figures (The Pope, U.S. Secretary of State, and Pat Robertson*, to name a few) against other religions and practices of small fractions. Which I believe, does not necessarily represent the majority of people in any nation, in the East or the West.
To begin with, most contemporary radical movements are characterized by nostalgia for the ideal type, which is impossible to achieve, taking into consideration the historical development and change, or what I call: “The Spirit of Age.” However, this nostalgia is compound to be anti-Westernism, or anti-Easternism which is not necessarily echoed with Christianity or Islam. Because from Eastern view, Westernism imposed city values, such as secularization, dependence, and a division of life into separate secular and religious spheres on places recognized as village values, even though they were living in cities. The problem of the East people is that people live in cities with the same characteristics of village values. The situation in the Middle East, and may be the main problem as I see it, is that tribal rules of the Bedouin rule the city institutions and organizations. The conclusion will be that the so-called cities, Damascus, Cairo, Tripoli, Beirut, Baghdad, etc,. are mostly ruled by tribal rules (in some cases party rules, families rules). Changing these rules (or regimes) into liberal systems is taking the identity built for centuries of dynasties and tribes governed the area through history on traditional grounds.
Understanding the spirit of age, may help understanding the circumstances of people environment, politically, socially and spiritually. While self-selfishness, on both micro and macro (Eastern or Western) levels stands as a factor to prevent the ideal type achievement of governing people, it should not prevent negotiations for the end goal of humanity, peace on earth.
I think the search for regaining the lost dignity is the main factor to help creation of radical (religious or social) movements. It is the lack of identity, accompanied with lack of justice, which in some individual cases leads to suicide by burning-self. Almost all Muslim and Arab nations lack this identity, and lack justice, which is only describe imperfect national identity or independence, we may conclude, that the basic ingredients of a modern state is lacking. I mean the limitations of institutions and the goals of modern state, represented in both the social and political spheres. Where these states cannot survive without foreign assistance which leads to losing control and open the gate for foreign domination.
I believe that what is needed is to answer the following questions in order to solve the East-West problem. Who’s the Muslim? Who’s the Arab? Who’s the Kuwaiti? Who’s the rich? Who’s the poor? Who’s right? And Who’s wrong? And finally, WHY these identities are in conflict with common sense unity of Arab and Muslim states? These questions should be included in the discussion of the Middle East problems, especially the shape of thinking straight of modern life society represented by the West.
The argument of village-town, Rural-Urban, or Badawa-Hadhara (Ibn Khaldun) will never come to rest. Characteristics of persons, communities, or leadership are quite described by almost all sociologists and anthropologists as different characteristics. While one part gain on the expense of other temporarily, other part may react peacefully or radically to reverse gain to its side. None will come to negotiate its characteristics and compromise them even in modern times. Dogmatic liberalism is not less stubborn than illiberal dogmatism when it comes to achievements. Communities in modern world politics are minorities, but they benefit from modern laws of society supported by liberal grounds of understanding justice for all. The mainstream Islamic movements, for example, have become major actors within the system, the violent radicals continue to confront the state. The moderates, however, demand participation as equals in the democratic process, while the extremists threaten violence and revolution. I think, civilization begins with strong state, with uncorrupt institutions and strong leadership personality, to understand the governed different styles and characteristics of people.
It will be difficult-if not suicidal-to apply liberal laws on the village, or rural and tribal communities. On the same argument, it is difficult to apply the reverse to the city. The problem is much wider, when we apply the same statement on East and West. Or on Islam and Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Mormonism. But conflicts have to be recognized and solved peacefully, we all UNITED differently. Respecting each other’s culture and belief, exchanging knowledge of the best of what we have, appreciating others achievements, and compromise to have the ultimate goal of living in peace.
Finally we have to look at what makes unity between East and West, especially between Islam and Judeo-Christian unity is to recognize each other on equal stand. To disseminate true knowledge of other faiths in schools and university textbook, To dismantle the hate building institutions (Media and churches) which publicize only Christianity and Judaism, and neglect Islam as an equal faith, by applying fairness and common sense. While discrimination may be observed as decreasing in this matter, prejudice, however, may take longer time to be observed. And to understand the common good things in each side, and to appreciate the values of each other (without ridiculing each others beliefs and practices), and to compromise over the different issues . These are the steps as I see it, in my Crescentology Theory for conflict Management (1994,2008,2009)www.hasanyahya.com
* Pat Robertson has many times called for the destruction of Islam and all its followers, not for their conversion to Christianity. he calls Islam “satanic.”
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طيبون ، ولكن أكثرهم لا يقرأون ، وقليل منهم يعلمون، فهل ندعهم في غيهم وجهلهم يعمهون؟ فيا عرب ، اجعلوا القراءة من هواياتكم المفضلة، وإذا أعجبكم ما تقرأ ون فساهموا مع جهود الدكتور حسن يحيى ، في إحياء التراث العربي في المهجر، أرسلوا مساهماتكم وما يجود به كرمكم عبر حساب البي بال PayPal Account email@example.com وشكرا لكم، وقد تقول قارئه : هذا توسل أو تسول على الإنترنت، أقول لها : أنت مصيبة في كليهما فقد توسل ابن خلدون لصاحب نعمته حين كتب مقدمته الشهيرة.