Is Islam At Clash With The West?

Dr Manta Drammeh (founder Timbuktu International Research Centre)
Dr. Drammeh (Founder/Managing Director of Timbuktu International Research Centre)

By Dr Alhagi Manta Drammeh

Following the tragic attack on the satirical Magazine of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, there have been different reactions from a show of solidarity with the victims, “Islamic terrorism” to Far Rights assertion that Islam is not compatible with Western values. In as much as we stand in solidarity with the victims of this terrorist attack on France, we similarly condemn the attack on mosques and Islamic centres in different parts of France.

Islam is not a new phenomenon in the West; it is indeed part and parcel of the Western social fabric. Muslims fought and died in both the first and second world wars to defend liberty, equality and fraternity, the very essence of the French Republic. What we are witnessing in France, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere is not a religious war.  It is a political, sociological and economic issue par excellence. Muslims have existed in Europe for centuries and thequestionsmportant component of the European society.  In fact, Muslims constitute second largest religious community in many European countries.  Early Muslims played a crucial role in translating the Greek philosophy and civilisation into Arabic that was in turn translated into other European languages.

Proponents of clash of civilisations would like us to believe that there is an inevitable clash of civilisations or a kind of religious war. However, I refute the claim of clash of civilisations.  I think that kind of assumption is based on the lack of the knowledge of history and intellectual superficiality.  Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all part of the Abrahamic tradition.  Thus, they share common ethical values. Contrary to the clash of civilisations theory that is based on the hegemonic vision of global politics, countries should revisit and reconsider their social policies vis a vis the so-called ethnic/religious minorities and foreign policies. In many European countries, ethnic minority communities feel despondent and hopeless. The sense of marginalisation and ghettoization has to be seriously addressed.

It is difficult to absorb, but it is a difficult reality that the Foreign policies in Iraq and Syria for example have to be reconsidered.  Some ordinary Muslims question why the West is not intervening in Syria?  But they are in Iraq when the alarm of ISIL was rung. Moreover, there seems to be a calculation not to openly intervene in Syria when it is clear that there are serious violations of human rights  and alleged crimes against humanity. Other questions whether this is duplicity of standards or promotion of national geo-strategic interests of individual countries?

Muslims organisations have to be further empowered to play more positive roles in the efforts of integration and multiculturalism. The governments should take more steps in terms of providing good education and employment opportunities for the minorities in order to promote social inclusion.  Terrorism cannot and should not be reduced to merely security.  It is a combination of ideological, cultural, political, social, educational and economic factors.  Therefore, deeper and more profound responses from legal to social policies should be considered. The victims were from different religious and cultural backgrounds.  Similarly, terrorism has no religion, race or culture. In as much as we promote freedom, we should caution against inflammatory statements that might lead to hatred and flare up sentiments.  Freedom has to be exercised with responsibility. More important, people have to engage each other in intellectual and legal  discussion to respond to the challenges of society in their different manifestations.  Finally, let us reflect together on the following Qur’anic passage:

“O people, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (Al-Hujurat 49:13)

Timbuktu international Research Centre website

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  1. I would like to associate myself with these “sensible points” you have highlighted. Firstly- Islam has nothing to do with terror or terrorism; the main principles of Islam is peace and love and to fight against terror and terrorism. There for, whenever terror and terrorism associate with Islam – is our moral responsibility to say “Not on my name” it’s very funny to realise- when intelligent peoples wants gain power, and materials they use the name of democracy. And when illiterate peoples want achieve similar coals they use the name of Islam.

  2. musu Jammeh

    A wonderful response my brother. God bless you. Thanks to kairo news for bringing relevant articles to serious readers not gossip.

  3. abarika

  4. Thank you again, Dr Drammeh, for sharing another invaluable piece that will help towards a better understanding of Islam and the Message of the Holy Quran…The verse you quoted, in my humble opinion, defines the true spirit of the message of Islam and it’s recognition of human brotherhood.

    I also agree that the understanding of “terrorism” cannot and should not be confined to the security dimensions alone, but the multitude of factors influencing this phenomenon must also be understood and tackled effectively, if it must be defeated…

    The Paris attackers are said to have claimed that they attacked the newspaper because it insulted the Prophet Muhammad ( SAW ), but this justification demonstrates their ignorance of Islam and its history… No doubt, Muslims love and honour the Prophet ( SAW ), but the sanctity of human life, according to the Qur’an, is greater than the honour of any man/woman, including the prophets (RA).Therefore, such senseless violence has no place in Islam…

    Infact, there unique verses in the Qur’an, where Allah (SWT) has replied to early critics of Islam, who ridicule and mock the Prophet (SAW) and call him names or insinuate that he was possessed…The Qur’an refutes these insinuations and reaffirm that the Prophet was receiving Divine guidance and that he was not possessed…Nowhere was he (Rasoul) commanded to attack and kill his critics…

    This is the spirit of Islam…Muslims must be able to intellectually challenge the critics (genuine or not) of Islam and its most honourable Prophet (SAW) and establish the truth of Islam and the honour of its Holy Prophet (SAW).

    Those whose hearts have been turned against Islam will continue to use every senseless acts of violence perpetrated by those who associate themselves with the Islamic Faith, to promote the view that Islam is inherently violent and that terrorism is unique to Islam.. Nothing could be further from the truth..History has ample proof that covert/overt “terrorism” and the use of terror/violence to pursue socio – political goals is widespread, both within religious and/or non religious actors, for as long as modern civilisation exists…These are historical facts that cannot be denied or falsified..

    Once again, thank you very much sir..

  5. Dr Manta makes some valuable references to history and the enormous contribution made through Islam to the furthernce of peace, love and respect…of humanity.

    These values will not be lost on the moderate and educated masses, particularly in the West.

    It is therefore unfortunate to see the public demonstrations against those who promote terrorism as offering any compassionate solution to “confilct resolution”…in Germany and France.

    The far right have been defeated consistantly throughout history.

    The islamic foundation based upon peace and mutual respect must play its full part on morderating all forms of extremism.

    The quiet and reassuring words from Dr Manta…are greatfully appreciated.

  6. Alhagi Manta Drammeh

    Thanks to you all for sharing those beautiful comments om my previous article. I believe that through dialogue and critical engagement knowledge can be advanced and ignorance can be defeated. May Allah bless you

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