This is the second in a short series intended to promote understanding of the Muslim point of view, in hopes of defusing tensions caused by stupid things like cartoons of Muhammad. (I’m a Christian.) Expats in predominantly Muslim areas, and those in areas with a Muslim presence, should know that these are sensitive times, and that the peace and stability of their community is at stake. Sadly, we see attacks by some Muslims as attacks by Islam, and it just isn’t so. But we are left to wonder, what do they have against us? Here’s what, in brief:
- Islamic law is incompatible with the excesses and trends of Western society. (But then, so is Christianity.) The spread of a culture that puts aside modesty, respect for parents, and respect for God and submission to His will, among other things, is upsetting to the Muslim way of life. It threatens the fabric of their society. They see it as something that needs to be stopped. But how do you stop the media? How do you stop blue jeans? Well, you denounce them. And if that’s not enough, and if you are feeling particularly threatened, you strike out at the heart of Western society, which is its pocketbook, and otherwise attempt to upset the “enemy” in his home camp. That’s where Osama bin Ladin is coming from.
- There are things which the Muslims hold sacred and which the West likes to trifle with, to “get their goat”, in the name of freedom of expression. It works. They get riled.
- Their culture is not like ours, so we (speaking of some few, who are sadly taken as representatives) ridicule it. It’s a time-honored nasty habit of people everywhere.
There are more reasons, including sad experiences in intercultural encounters across the centuries, but that should do for now.