Published On:18 July 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Divide between west and Muslim world due to failure to communicate

Kuala Lumpur: The divide between the West and Muslim world is largely a consequence of the failure to communicate and engage in dialogues effectively, Raja Nazrin Shah said today.
The Raja Muda of Perak said dialogues that engaged countries and communities of the West and Muslim world were especially useful given the extensive ignorance, misperception, misrepresentation and prejudice that often prevailed between the two sides.

"The misunderstanding is prevalent on both sides, which is odd given the vast treasury of knowledge available to all in this Internet and connected age. The fundamental similarities are overlooked, instead it is the presumed differences and alleged failings of the other that are magnified.

"Among the distortions in the West are the identification of Islam and Muslims with violence and terrorism, the presumption that Islam is incompatible with democracy, and the confusion of the influence of traditions and culture in religion," he said when launching the book by Bank Muamalat chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid titled "9/11 and the attack on Muslims", here, today.

Raja Nazrin said groups within the Muslim world shared the responsibility for this state of affairs by giving Islamic appellations to their militant movements and identifying their cause with religion, committing terrorist acts in the name of Islam against unarmed civilians, more often of their own kind, that had all contributed to the negative imaging and understanding of Islam in the West.

Raja Nazrin said bridging the gulf between the West and Muslim world entailed addressing the primary factors that divided the two sides.

"These problems are essentially political in nature, and not religious or cultural, although all these condition the political problem," he added.

He commended President Obama's policy in United States relations with the Muslim world that explores engagement and accommodation for mutual peace, a policy which the Muslim world has welcomed and is eager to reciprocate.

"Unfortunately, the president faces strong criticism of the policy at home and opposition and resistance from Israel. He is criticised, among others, for weakness and appeasement.
"Relations between the West and Muslim world will depend very much on whether the policy initiated by President Obama is able to overcome the challenges and stay the course, whoever wins the next US presidential election.

"It will be tragic both for the West and Muslim world if the 'new beginning' that President Obama courageously embarked upon comes to grief," Raja Nazrin said.

Touching on the book which consists of 73 articles written by Munir, 64, between 2001 and 2005, Raja Nazrin said "it is an impressive book which constitutes a chronicle of the goings-on during that tumultuous and unfortunate period".

(Courtesy: The Sun Daily, Malaysia)

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