Pi Attitude Zone: Conformity & Stability

Anti-Islam? You’re Joking…

Islam…  Islamic…  Islamist…  The words appear almost interchangeable to the easily-confused minds of many Westerners. The mere mention of them increasingly brings out the snarling xenophobe buried in otherwise balanced-minded people.

The words are not interchangeable.  The vast majority of those who adhere to the Muslim faith are as horrified as anyone at murderous Islamist outrages in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa or most recently the North African Maghreb and Sahel regions. Muslim-dominated societies like Turkey and Indonesia are largely free of religious extremism, and have secular institutions and tolerant attitudes, attitudes shared by most people across the Islamic world.  They treat ‘religion-inspired’ atrocities as a denial of Islam itself.

Yet mutual misunderstanding and outright bigotry continue, on both sides of the Christian-Muslim divide. Is a Koran-burning Floridian pastor any less of a moral troglodyte than an Arab demonstrator burning an American flag?

Encouragingly, resistance to theocratic monomania is growing from within Islam itself.  Across the Islamic world people (many of them young) are challenging religious intolerance and the absolutist diktats of hard-line regimes.  A growing number want change, equitable treatment, freedom of thought… and jobs.  “They are teaching us religion”, says a Saudi student, “when what we need is IT”.

The feelings of Muslim youth are increasingly expressed through social media like Twitter, often to hilarious effect.  A flurry of humorous tweets followed the bizarre closing of a dinosaur exhibition by Saudi Arabia’s ‘thought police’, (or more properly the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice).  Within minutes, sardonic messages were flying.  “I confess. I saw a naked dinosaur thigh”, said one, “and I felt aroused”.  “It’s probably only a temporary closure”, said another, “while they separate male and female dinosaurs into separate rooms”.  A third wondered if the religious police were worried that the dinosaurs might appear more evolved than the agents themselves.  This in turn prompted a tweet addressed to the Stone Age: “We have some of your people here – could you please come and collect them?”

Pi says:  Attitudes like that deserve the West’s admiration and support, not unthinking xenophobia. 

Zone: Conformity & Stability Country: Middle East / Africa Product – Other