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Is modern world in grip of clash of civilization

22 June, 2007

By Amjad Malik


Britain  is in the grip of latest stir caused by the knighthood status granted to  ‘Satanic Verses’ fame writer Salman Rushdie which has created an uproar in the  Islamic world though the stalwarts of Ummah are quietly observing these  developments. Several organizations have expressed dismay at the blatant disregard shown to the 2 million Muslims sensitivities in the  UK and over a billion around the world  whilst granting a Knighthood to a writer and questioned the wisdom of Tony Blair  for such recommendations on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s irthday and have  called for withdrawal as this  honour is given at a time when Muslims are on the edge to bridge the gap between  two communities after the events of September 11th and 7 July.  Muslims of Britain as well as the Western World are already subject to  victimization via various heavy handed laws and at this junction honouring those  will contribute to widen the gulf between two cultures and will alienate the  main stream Muslim community.

Pakistan  Penal Code (PPC) of 1860 dates from the British colonial period: Sections 295 to  298 of the PPC dealing with religious offences ates back to that period and  were intended to prevent and curb religious violence. The offences listed are:  defiling a place of worship (s.295), acts insulting religion or religious  beliefs (s.295 A), disturbing a religious assembly (s.296), trespassing on  burial grounds (s.297), and utterances wounding religious feelings (s.298).  These sections have a lot in common including the intention of the offender to  hurt the religious susceptibilities of others which is considered integral to  the offence; they also share a universal application, whereby hurting the  religious feelings or any group is made an offence. In particular S. 295-C of the  Pakistan Penal Code says, “ whoever by words either spoken or written or by  visible   representations or in  any manner whatsoever, or by any imputation, innuendo or institution, directly  or indirectly defiles the sacred name of the holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shall  be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to  fine.”. Islamic Shariat Bench later declared that imprisonment can not be  granted in Blasphemy proven cases and only death sentence is the right sentence  for the convicted. However  these offences have little value to the West who take freedom of expression as a  superior force to all other political and religious compulsions. Their Blasphemy  law though covers Christianity but does not cover Islam. Article 10 of European  Convention of Human Rights 1950 which is a bit similar to Article 19 of the  Constitution of Pakistan 1973 says as following: 

“1. Every one has the  right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinion  and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public  authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States  from requiring the Licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.” During  the Salman Rushdie affair in 80’s after writing a book ‘Satanic Verses’ Britain  never prosecuted Salma Rushdie under Blasphemy Laws of Britain for defiling the  Prophet of Islam as British laws only covers Christianity. Under Ex Parte  Choudhary, private prosecution was not allowed either by British Courts due to  lack of legal provisions. Britain since has introduced the Racial  and Religious Hatred Act 2006 which intends to curb preaching religious  violence, however it still does not address the core and causes of igniting religious hatred albeit blasphemy . However  in the west denial of holocaust as to whether or not Jews were oppressed by  Hitler’s Nazi regime is a criminal offence in most part of Europe. Holocaust  denial is illegal in a number of European countries: In _Austria_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria)   (article 3h Verbotsgesetz 1947) punishable from 6 months to 20 years, _Belgium_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgium) (_Belgian  Holocaust denial law_(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Holocaust_denial_law) ) punishable from Fine to 1 year, the _Czech  Republic_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Republic)  under section 261 punishable from 6 months to 3 years, _France_ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France)   (_Loi  Gayssot_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loi_Gayssot) ) punishable from Fine or 1 month to 2 years, _Germany_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany)   (_§_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/§)   130 (3) of the penal code) also the Auschwitzlüge law section 185 punishable  from Fine or 1 month to 5 years, _Lithuania_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuania) ,  _The  Netherlands _ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Netherlands) under articles 137c and 137e punishable from Fine or 2  years to 10 years, _Poland_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poland) , _Romania_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romania) , _Slovakia_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovakia) ,and  _Switzerland_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland)   (article 261bis of the Penal Code) punishable from 6 months to 3-5 years. In  addition, under Law 5710-1950 it is also illegal in _Israel_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel) and punishable from 1 year to 5 years. Italy enacted a law against racial and  sexual discrimination on January 25, 2007 punishable from 3 years to 4 years.  

Now  we see no Islamic countries in this list which outlaw holocaust denial as if you  wish to enact the law in those countries you are called to scratch their back  too and amend your home blasphemy laws to include the respect for Islam and its  Prophet. Now  looking at this tendency the way the West is showing insensitivity to the Muslim  World’s feelings, It will be quite illogical if Islamic countries in a fit start  awarding Saddam Hussain a highest bravery award for saying ‘God is one’ on the  Gallow or Mullah Omer ‘the sword of Ali award’ for combating the foreign  oppressor. These sentiments though exist which call for serious consideration by  OIC and West to sit together and find a solution to this hugely charged issue as  common man of each society calls for peace and harmony between ancient  civilizations.  he  awarded writer’s contribution is disputed too and it is not only conflicting but  has caused hurt to scores of human souls around the world. British Government  must have gauged the fall outs as a result of such an honour announcement and  the assessment seems faulty over this knighthood and gives rise to the  contention whether it is intentional to stir worldwide outcry to secure public  support for aggression or an unintended lapse. Queen’s regiment has already been  insensitive to the public pulse at the death of Lady Diana, the princess of  Wales and here too showing little regret over this episode where thousands of  Muslim protestors are on the streets. There  is further fuel on the fire by careless statements of politicians, one of which  is of Mr. Ejaz Ul Haq a Minister of Religion of Pakistan trying to justify  suicidal attacks on the writer  which has no basis in Islamic teachings  and in law here and abroad. In particular his call is not wise when 1 million  Pakistanis reside in Britain and contribute heavily in national economy  including his own clan. Whilst urging communities to remain calm and use their  right to protest in a maximum peaceful manner, I feel the time has come for two  ancient civilization to sit together and try to form a group of countries to  have a joint ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ to identify and not to allow harbouring each other’s common criminals who defile each others religious faith.  Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) did something similar 1400 years ago and made a  pact with his opponents known as  ‘Hudabiya Pact’ and here too the Western world must have a dialogue to secure  interfaith harmony in order to bring two extremes to the middle to avoid future  conflict.

There  is no point that blasphemy law in Pakistan, Iran and Saudi is punishable to  death and writers of such books walked free in British run India for writing  ‘Colourful Prophet’ around 100 years ago, and now for writing ‘Satanic Verses’  and publishing ‘Danish Cartoons’ ridiculing the Prophet. Similarly denying  holocaust, that Nazis did or did not oppress the Jews, is a criminal offence in  the West but in the Islamic world if not penalized then it does not carry  international validity and criminals of one society will keep seeking refuge in  other’s protection indefinitely and may cause a mayhem one day. If a joint attempt to ‘give and take’  policy is not adopted, I am afraid a chain of uncalled events may emerge from  within this episode which will be regrettable but will be disastrous to the  efforts of bringing the unity in this global village.  When law does not address public anxiety  and no forum on which a complaint can be lodged is available hen those who  mutilate public feelings on the name of freedom will deepen the gulf further and  clash of civilization begins as was quoted by the US president wrongly or  rightly at the time of 9/11 referring to crusades. 

We  must all discourage any attempt to use or stir violence on religious basis,  however realizing the nature of situation OIC and Western World including European Union, US, Russia, China, and India must consider setting up a forum to  adjudicate such matters and give serious thought to the calls of Muslim  countries & West for interfaith harmony.  Islamic countries jointly must come up  with a unanimous unstinted resolution as to where no negotiation is possible and  where there is a compromise possible on the name of freedom of thought and  expression and or to include protection to Western belief. Little late and there  was no dearth of individuals like Ghazi ilam Din then in India, or Amir Cheema  now in Germany in this day an age who were and are willing to take law into  their own hands on the name of love for their religion and their Prophet when no  law or legal forum is available to address their concerns instead countries show  blatant disregard to their sentiments. The decision is simple,  its one man’s freedom against 1.5 billion  Muslims sensitivities. Muslim world unanimously banned the film ‘Passion of  Christ’ which fantasized Jesus Christ in a fiction, same reciprocal concession  must be offered from the West which does not cost them a penny.   Why both societies do not act together to  fill the lacuna so that any frenzy writer may not stir religious sentiments and  defile each others sacred belief as current law does not address those common  grouses of each community. This way we can save the clash of civilization and  nip the evil in the bud in order to save the humanity as one man’s unnatural  death is the death of the whole of humanity.

Reader Comments:

The Heritage of Civilization

he crucial, most fundamental, difference between Islamic and secular Western science is that Islam and Muslim Civilisation both reached their apogee in the same centuries.

At no other time in their history, and under no other circumstances, have Muslims achieved anything of similar proportion than in that so called golden era (800-1200). Then, once Islam's power retreated in both its eastern part (the taking and sacking of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258), and its western part (the taking of Cordoba: 1236; Valencia: 1238; and Seville 1248 by the Christian armies in Spain), its civilisation retreated too. From the mid 13th onwards, Islamic civilisation only lived in faint outbursts. Its centres of learning, its scholars, its books and libraries having become prey to destruction, it was now unable to mount the coherent, sustained scientific effort achieved in times when the Muslim land was somehow secure and powerful. Another element of difference was that if Western science developed outside a religious frame, Islam, as expressed in numerous Quranic verses and Prophet's sayings, acted as the source of inspiration for such a thrust.(endnote 1)

In contrast to Islam, religion and modern Western science seem to meet in the theatre of conflict only. This has origins that are centuries old, during the apogee of Christianity, when burning of dissenting individuals, scores of them scholars (Bruno, Huss, Servetus...), was widespread. The Church banned science but not because of the religious text itself, as Bucaille explains, science instead being hampered by those who claimed to be the Church's servants, and who acted on their own initiatives.(endnote 2)

Until the so called `modern times,' to avoid burning at the stake, scientists in Christian Europe had to forsake scientific truth, or recant their views, Galileo being the best example of that. Gradually, though, science and religion were dissociated. In historical terms, the so-called European scientific revolution only took place once the authority of religion had loosened, from the seventeenth century onwards. And by the nineteenth century, `scientists' could venture with any idea, however antagonistic, including Darwin's evolution theory, which completely denies any Divine role in creation.

Today, the separation is total; and to assert that one is a believer in God in learned Western circles is tantamount to heresy. The whole matter had gone full circle.

Shokat Saleem, Georgia - 23 June, 2007

Wrong title

Civilsed people do not clash. Neither civilisation clashes. Asia's earliest civilisations Indian and Chineese never clashed with each other, rather they have learnt from each other. Complimented each other.

Nikus, Hungary - 23 June, 2007

After the demise of Communism,west has found its enemy in Islam.(islam was even before but now openly).TO fight war on Islam needed a cover and that is "War on terrorism".THis is little more than the cold war which was limited to verbal ,diplomatic and propaganda levels.THe war on Islam is both,cold and hot as is obvious.Hot aspect offers the opportunity to test weapons on live humans to improve their quality.This war on terror will continue for few decades some say even upto 100 years with the help of incompetent mental retard leaders of muslim countries,no matter how much they will do they will be asked to do more.


Javaid Sultan., Pakistan - 23 June, 2007

It is not a civilization until you are “civil” in your manners

It is not a civilization until you are “civil” in your manners
=======================================
It is sadly comical how the "clash of civilizations" has become a daily mantra for the so-called Islamic-intellectuals. I am not sure how these “intellectuals” will understand that it is impossible to conduct a "civilization-al" clash based on puny OIC members against the mighty forces of the West.

It is time to quit being pompous about the pathetic status of Muslim countries by calling their orthodox and primitive ways as "civilization". Remember it is not a civilization until you are “civil” in your manners. In the Muslim world you will find worst possible offenses when it comes to civil behavior.

How civil is the OIC’s behavior? Just look around! Treatment of Pakistanis as “Rafiques” and “Miskeens” pales in comparison to the Middle Eastern atrocities in the name of Sunni, Shia, or the other 1000 parties doing Jihads. See how so many innocents got killed because some criminals calling themselves “Fatah al Islam” wanted to rob the banks and fatah (conquer) a refugee camp in Lebanon. Live in any Muslim country and then move to the West. The difference is night and day when it comes to the civil behavior.

And why to blame others in this colorful OIC bunch of “kahin ki eeant kahin ka rora bhan mati nay kunba jora”? (Translation- A beggar woman pretends to make a prominent family by corralling few street urchins). Just read papers from Pakistan! How civil are we to burn and loot in the name of religion? How civil are we to kill 42 innocents just to protect someone’s dadagiri in a city? How civil are we to drag our Supreme Court judge in the streets? And how civil are we to loot the country in the name of people’s party or Muslim league? Just read up the text and fatwas of Shias against Sunni Khalifas, or open up a Sunni text describing the founder of Ahmadia group. They all violate even the basic decency towards the others. And yet Mr. Malik ignores all that to hammer on his selected target.

Coming back to the Muslim world of today, not only that the OIC members in general have no civilization, there is no chance of its “clash” with the West either. The clash is a term to be applied in a reasonable sense, only if the two sides are in a comparable league of intellectual and physical strengths. Can this be said about the pathetic lot of the “Oh-I-see” members? Heck no! This is no clash! This instead is pure drubbing and whooping of famished yet angry Muslim men at the hands of heavy weights of the West.

Here is the jolt of reality for Mr. Malik! Individuals aside, in case of Muslim world, there is no physical strength because of their negligible intellectual capability. Why do OIC members lack intellectual strengths? Simply because they do not allow their citizens to be “free thinkers”. The result of this intellectual poverty is horrible. OIC citizens get their nerves shattered due to minor cartoons, or some badly written book. For the fanatics these little things suddenly become so big, that they burn their own buildings down, and issue fatwas to kill innocent people.

Mr. Malik in this ill-advised essay, is not helping in this matter at all. In his limited intellect he is trying to compare real atrocities against humanity (such as holocaust) with some perceived blasphemous remarks. Readers have to decide if Mr. Malik is one of those holocaust deniers.

Sadly this author is clamoring to the calls of “ban this” or “ban that”. And if it is not banned, Mr. Malik will champion the cause of “suicide minister” or some pathetic Mullah. This is precisely why Muslims are losing the intellectual competition in the last 500 years. And they will continue losing unless they wake up and free themselves from this dimwit jihadi, violent, and totally “uncivil” approach towards life. Yes Mr. Malik you have to be civil if you want to claim “civilization”. Muslims from Lal Masjid to Gaza are known for their “barbarism, and primitiveness”. If you just look up the dictionary, these terms Mr. Malik make the Muslims an antithesis of civilization (if you care to understand).

Peace


Dr. Qazi (DrShaheenIqbalQazi@yahoo.com), Pakistan - 24 June, 2007

No clash of civilizations

It is silly to think that Salman Rushdi or his book Satanic verses can be catalytic to clash of civilizations.

Even when the book came out first time in 1988 or 1989, there was more storm in news back home.I remember I was working in Shell Turbo refinery those days and I was also in contact with hundreds of people in other engineering companies as well in Canada. Out of hundreds of people I asked, not even one had read this book. Only a few or I would say 5 percent of Canadian or Americans knew that there was a bad book that hurt the feelings of muslims. Then some people just compared IT with a book that insulted Christ right here in the Christian world's hub.And then there was an anti Chrisian singing group that set copies of the Holy Bible on fire as ritual part of their singing show.

You are dealing with two different set of thinking in two civilizations. One takes insult of their prophet as question of life and death. Then you have the western civilization which allows the insult of their own religion as expression of freedom.When the anti Christ singing group burned the sets of Holy Bible and made insulting remarks on the Christian religion of the west, many jeered and danced with happiness to show their anti religion joy. But, no body complained or felt bad or sad. Instead,it was shown as an exciting news with burning pictures on the front page of their news papers.

Britain is only a small country now and both Britain and Israel will be just like some unimportant nations on the world's map if America did'nt have its shadow on them.If or when the world's power structure shifts to the easten world,people will talk of Britain or Israel like unimportant countries named Argentina or Uraguay. We are not wishing America go down, but the true fact is these countries are being cared or talked so only because of America being their friend or ally.So,let us think of how this whole Rushdi or Sir(shit in real)or his book Satanic verses have been brought into lime light only because of our Islamic reaction. Americans or Canadians only care about money and power.I am honestly telling you that I am hearing about this evil only from my people here.Even an American small boy cares about a five dollar bill more than this shit flying around from a crazy man,supported by few Brits,who are only playing the whole thing as a piece of show biz. You think they care about Rushdi or his book-certainly not.They don't even have time to find out how much or how really is some one hurt.

These perople live for money and good time and not for religion.They are as much naive or ignorant about their own religion,let alone some body else's religion.

And who pays any attention or importance in America or Canada to British title of Sir.As a matter of fact, I showed my anger over the issue to some Americans and Canadians in 1989. They told me why did I worry,when these people themselves don't even know what the issue was all about.

And there was an article in Russia's Pravda last week that Britain could become a muslim country as Muhammad had become the second most named sir name in that country.

Yes, in America or Canada, there may arise some problem because of the name Muhammad or Mahmood.But, this is because of some heredity from past or from fear of some body else rising against America.But this kind of policy or feeling comes into place at important levels if these names are trying to assume fame in certain areas of knowledge,which is considered vital for the country like the energy sector.Muhammad and Mahmood names may survive in schools, colleges, universities, health care or other profiles except in Energy sector of oil and gas.

So, we should not worry that this shit in real(Sir)will cause the clash of civilizations.In the western world, money and power is the ideology and not the religion.For us muslims, it may be the other ways around.But, you think that people in America or Canada or Europe care much about it.We may be beating our chests in sorrow and anger.

AND THESE PEOPLE MAY THINK THAT IT IS ALL FUNNY AND NOT IMPORTANT AT ALL.I TELL YOU THAT, DESPITE THE NEWS FLASHING IN PAPERS, NO BODY PAID ANY ATTENTION.THEY WERE TALKING MORE ABOUT OSAMA BEN LADEN SCARES OR AFGHANISTAN AND ITS PRIZED HASH.I BET, PEOPLE IN AMERICA AND CANADA KNOW ABOUT MUSHARRAF MORE THAN THEY KNOW ABOUT RUSHDI SHIT.I HAVE HEARD PEOPLE SAY HERE THAT MUSHARRAF IS TRYING TO HELP THESE PEOPLE.RUSHDI DOES'NT HELP THEM NOR GIVES THEM MONEY. SO, RUSHDI SHIT MAY BE JUST A JOKE LADEN TALK, WHICH VAST MAJORITY HERE DOES'NT EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT.

SO,THE AUTHOR SHOULD NOT START AN OTHER FANTASSY THAT THIS TRIFLE MAN RUSHDI IS GOING TO CAUSE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS.IT IS VERY SILLY TO THINK THAT WAY AND SUGGEST YOUR OWN HYPOTHETIC THOUGHTS TO SOME ONE WHO HAS NO INTEREST TO KNOW ANY THING ABOUT SOME THING THAT WE MAY HAVE RIGHTFULLY TAKEN IT SO SERIOUS AND HURTING.

YOU CANNOT EXPECT EVERY BODY IN THE WORLD TO THINK LIKE US.



Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 24 June, 2007

Ignore rushdie

The biggest problem with muslim community is that they react to each and everything violantly.Muslims must think that God will give punishments to the people who is against islam not by man.Now adays muslims are considered as totally intolerent people who practice violance as a part of their religion.80%muslims in the world lives in utter poverty and bad living conditions.But instead of fighting poverty we like to kill cartoonists, novelist etc etc.See in pakistan blehesphemy laws are misused to punish the minorities.We should show to world that Islam means "LOVE" not violance and Jihad.

Rahim, Malaysia - 26 June, 2007

The path to fear.

One percent of "Muslim" now
control the mind of nintynine
percent Muslims.We have gained power of fear over the
power of reasoning.We have become our own GOD.Inflicting
punishment as and when we see
it suits are whims.Find fault
with other religions and we
never think that why Allah is
not destroying them.But has
placed us in a precarious situation.Our own behavoir is
the fuel, that gives the West
the opportunity to kindle the
fire to our soul.

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 27 June, 2007

No clash

There is no clash of non-Muslims with the majority of Muslims and almost all Muslims countries. Malaysia, Indonesia and Middle East lean on India and now even Thailand and China, etc. So do central Asian Muslim states including Afghanistan who have good historical realtions with India and China. Almost all deal with the West fine.
In a 3 year BBC survey of 27 nations about the positive influence of world powers, the best vote for India came from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation and then Canada, UK and Russia. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/06_03_07_perceptions.pdf

You say “Now we see no Islamic countries in this list which outlaw holocaust denial”.
--But we Indians are no hypocrites. Our parliament passed resolutions against Iraq war and Lebanon war, has supported Muslim or non-Muslim nations alike, is a major donor and influence in Afghanistan, helped prevent US from going for war with our old friend Iran and deals with all countries on positive issues.
I think our clash is with the few extremists and we need to be together against them, but not in a violent clash, but idelologically.

Dayal, Hungary - 27 June, 2007

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