SHAFAQNA – There has been along debate in the West over the characteristic of Islam as a culture and an identity, with many voices postulating that Islam is in fact foreign, and by definition a negation of Western culture and Westerners’ sense of identity.
Of course such statements come from deep-seated xenophobia and I would argue the result of post-colonialism. Islam today rings of foreign lands because media and officials have build their narrative of exclusion around it. History however tells us that Islam has long been part of Western society … as far back as medieval times. Islam has been around for over 1500 years.
But what do officials, intellectuals, and other would-be reformers imply when they use the adjective “foreign” when relating to Islam?
By foreign they are offering that Islam is both a new religion to be looked on with suspicious, and an antithesis to their own Judeo-Christian sense of morality. Islam though is neither since it does not deny which came before: the Ancient and New Testament, but instead came to reaffirm, and correct.
Just like Issa (Jesus) came to his people to distinguish truth from falsehood, and re-proclaim the Word of God, the Prophet Muhammad came to complete Men’s religion, by offering unity and justice. Within the line of all prophets were reunited, and from his progeny the Mahdi would come forth.
Islam is not foreign – its message is universal.
Islam does not stand in negation of morality, it is a reaffirmation of Morality. Islam offers protection, and defines both men and women’s rights, and responsibilities – it is men rather who have failed to abide by Islam’s rules.
Islam does not deny others’ beliefs and faiths,but instead stands for pluralism, and unity in the one God, the God of Abraham, the only God there ever was.
If conflicts there have been in between communities and faiths, it is not over the religious, but rather over power and control. Politicians, and officials have weaved prejudices to sow discord and generate disunity among communities. So while people will fight and argue, THEY would be able to rule and control.
Such deception is as old as time itself.
There are many ways to God, the trick though is to find Him.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna