Muslims and the West by Maulana Waris Mazhari
Melting pot cracks as Muslims reject Christian names in
By Charles Bremner and Marie Tourres in
Mosque vote in
Islam in the West to become Islam of the West:
Zahoor Qureshi spoke alongside five other British Muslim representatives at
"We want people like ourselves who live in Britain and people like yourselves who are no doubt European, to play a role in what the EU decides about its future and what Britain decides about its future," said Aftab Ahmad Malik, a visiting fellow at Birmingham University.
Regarding the criticism that the Muslim faith has received since the Sept. 11 attacks on the
"The British government and the Muslim community in
Shaista Gohir, director of the Muslim Women’s
Muslims and the West
By Maulana Waris Mazhari
(Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand)
The issue of strained relations between Muslims and the West is a long-standing one, and it has taken a new turn following the attacks of 9/11. In recent years, much has been written on the subject by both Muslim as well as Western scholars. Following the publication of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilisations in the late 1990s, a large number of Western scholars have concluded that reconciliation between Muslims and the West is impossible and that a clash between them is inevitable. Influential Western think-tanks have aggressively pursued this line of thinking, as have extremist religious and political forces, particularly Christian evangelicals and Zionist organisations, all across Europe and
Despite the massive anti-Western movements and sentiments that have characterised much of the Muslim world since the last one hundred and fifty years, the fact remains that Muslim intellectuals, particularly the ulema, have only a very superficial understanding and knowledge of the West. In actual fact, there has been no serious attempt on the part of Muslim scholars to properly study and evaluate Western thought, civilization and history. Today, our religious scholars’ views about the West are about the same as the West had about Muslims and Islam several centuries ago in the wake of the Crusades. Many Muslim scholars have the same sort of stereotypical understandings of the West as the West had about Muslims at the time of the Crusades. Our religious scholars believe, and this is what they tell their followers, that the West simply stands for drunkenness, sexual license, immorality and all other sorts of wanton desires and pleasures. Because of this approach we have not been able to learn from the good things that the West has to offer, not even about aspects of the Muslim scientific heritage that the West had taken from us and had then built on. Instead, in many Muslim circles hatred of the West is considered to be the biggest sign of religiousness. This mentality was formed in the colonial period, and it should have been done away with the end of the European colonial empires. However, instead of that happening, it has been greatly reinforced and strengthened, and has now become so deep-rooted that Muslim reformers find it virtually impossible to combat.
Scores of institutions for the study of Islam and Muslim culture and history have been established in the West, and several Western universities have special departments concerned with these fields. They have produced a massive amount of literature. In contrast, there are probably not even two or three scholarly institutions in the Muslim world devoted to the study of the West using modern scholarly methods. Universities in Muslim countries should have set up departments of Western studies, and there should have been private- and government-funded institutions for the study of the West, but, unfortunately, these do not exist. We desperately need such institutions, to study Western history and culture in a critical yet dispassionate way, so that Muslims can understand what the limitations or drawbacks of contemporary Western civilisation are and also its virtues, which they could adopt.
Today, most Muslims have a double-standard approach to the West. On the one hand, many of them are vociferously opposed to the West and insist that Muslims should stay away from Western culture as far as possible. At the same time, many of them fervently desire to migrate to the West! I have been twice to
I believe that there are numerous aspects of Western culture and society that reflect the virtues that characterised the early history of Islam. In contrast, look at many Muslim countries, where groups that want to serve the cause of Islam are under severe restrictions. It is unfortunate that almost the whole focus of Muslim groups in the West is on seeking to get recognition for Muslim cultural identity, often to the point of excess. Take, for instance, the case of women’s dress. Hijab or modest dress is adequate, but some Muslims in the West make a big hue and cry demanding that the face-veil (naqab) be allowed, and some even go beyond that, unmindful of the fact that this might lead to further escalation of anti-Muslim sentiments in society. Some extremist self-styled Islamic groups in the West, such as the Hizb ut-Tahrir, even raise the simplistic slogan of establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the West, completely forgetting that the liberty to do all this is not available even in the so-called dar ul-Islam.
The real conflict between Muslims and the West today is in the realm of ideas. Militarily, Muslims were defeated by the West two centuries ago, and, far from seriously hoping to militarily overwhelming the West, Muslim countries are thoroughly dependent on them for military aid. To effectively defend themselves, Muslims must first intellectually understand the West, and for this we need a group of Occidentalists, counterparts of the West’s Orientalists. But, unlike the classical Orientalists’ approach to the Orient, these scholars should not be blindly critical of the West, but should, in an objective fashion, examine both the drawbacks and the virtues of the West. Most Orientalists, as Edward Said so brilliantly brought out in his magnum opus Orientalism, did not adopt such a balanced approach, and actually served as tools of Western imperialism, but the sort of Occidentalists that we require must seek to objectively evaluate the West.
Islamophobia in the West
Some time ago, I met a Muslim professor who teaches in an American university, and I asked him about the future of Muslims in
Maulana Waris Mazhari, a graduate of the Dar ul-Ulum Deoband, is the editor of the New Delhi-based Tarjuman Dar ul-Ulum, the official organ of the Old Boys’ Association of the Deoband madrasa. He can be contacted on email@example.com Source: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims_and_the_west/0016927
Melting pot cracks as Muslims reject Christian names in
By Charles Bremner and Marie Tourres in
They are born in France and called Louis, Laurent or Marie but they want to become Abdel, Said or Rachida. Such requests from immigrants’ children for name changes are mounting in the French courts and worrying a state that lays store on melding a single national culture.
In a sign of a new assertiveness, children with families from
Driven by a feeling that they do not belong to their Gallic Christian names, the applicants are meeting resistance from judges who are reluctant to endorse what they see as a rejection of
“The way I look is out of sync with my name,” said Jacques, 25, who wants to adopt a name from his parents’ native
“There is a double-take when I send a job application and then turn up for the interview. They hesitate, as if the person they have summoned could not be me,” he said.
There is abundant evidence that, despite antidiscrimination laws, French employers discriminate against job-seekers with foreign names. Nadine, who is in her forties, failed to convince a
“My name change makes me feel guilt towards my family.” The judge replied: “Madame, I can understand that you want to identify with your community but the law does not have to bend to people’s moods.”
Frédéric Grilli, a Melun lawyer who acts for applicants, said that there was a connection between the desire to claim Maghebrin (North African) identity and
Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racism, a campaign group, said that
“There is an enormous gap between political speeches on integration and the reality. But who can believe that changing a name can change something? It is sad to have got to that point.”
— A young Vietnamese man in
— Sikhs called Singh or Kaur have to change their names before migrating to
— Last year a couple were forbidden from naming their baby “4real” in
Mosque vote angers Muslims
Supervisors cite technical issues in rejecting plan, but group alleges bias
By MELODIE N. MARTIN, Nov 14, 2008
After learning that the Muslim community's pleas for a mosque in
A Henrico resident and a Muslim, he goes to a makeshift mosque in a hotel conference room each Friday to pray rather than make the half-hour drive to the Islamic Center of Virginia in Chesterfield County.
"This is tremendously disturbing to me. It's a place of worship," Malik said. "When the next election comes, I'll make sure what resources I have will defeat those who voted against it."
Like Malik, other members of Henrico's Muslim community say they are disappointed by the Board of Supervisors' 3-2 vote Wednesday against allowing a one-story, domed, 10,500-square-foot mosque and community center to be built on 3.6 acres on
"I don't believe the county is saying no to a mosque in the county," said Imad Damaj, president of the Virginia Muslim Coalition for Public Affairs. "But I think they missed an opportunity of saying, 'Yes, we can be inclusive. Yes, we can work with you,' and go beyond splitting hairs of issues of zoning."
Mike Surani, a representative of the group of 11 investors from the Muslim community that owns the site, took a more critical view.
"We think the decision was blatantly racist and discriminatory," Surani said.
Surani said the group plans to file a complaint against the zoning decision in Henrico Circuit Court and pursue a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on the grounds of discrimination on violation of their First Amendment rights.
Just after voting with supervisors Richard W. Glover and James B. Donati Jr. to deny the rezoning, Board of Supervisors Chairman David A. Kaechele told the audience that the decision was based on technical issues. County planners had said that rezoning the site from office to residential use, and the existence of a stream and wetlands there, conflicted with the county's land-use plan for the area.
"Mr. Glover and all of us agree we would like you to find a home in
Supervisors Patricia S. O'Bannon and Frank J. Thornton voted in favor of the rezoning.
The group purchased the site at an auction in January and was under the impression it could be easily rezoned for a mosque, Surani said.
John Mizell Jr., an attorney representing the group, cited examples from recent years when the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors made exceptions to the county land-use plan for Mennonite and Episcopal churches. He added that the site has remained vacant since 1984, when a previous owner rezoned it from residential to office use.
"I think this is a relatively modest deviation from the land-use plan and I ask for consistency," Mizell said yesterday.
Of an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 Muslims in the greater
Contact Melodie N. Martin at (804) 649-6290 or firstname.lastname@example.org.