Stands >2005 Stands >The Stand of Rajab 04 1426H /August 09, 2005 A.D.


Peace is the Islamic basis for establishing relations with others

Sayyed Fadlullah: We call for a humanistic and civilised world that accepts others and pluralism, a world where everyone deal with others on the basis of an objective and scientific study and not on subjective and ideological slogans.

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question :How do you view Islamic-Western relations in the aftermath of the London Bombings and the western campaign on Islam that followed?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:

Relations between Muslims and the West have always been complicated. They pass through difficult circumstances of war and invasions that were sometimes called conquests and at other times crusades, although they also witnessed certain periods of calmness and cultural or ideological exchange.

Recently these relations have taken a turn for the worst due to the Western support of Israel and dealing with Islam as a cultural foe, which led to the emergence of violent and lethal movements in the Arab and Islamic world.

However, we believe that both sides should find a certain way of conducting affairs that could be friendly and non-violent despite our cultural differences. We are not saying so because we are weak but because our message calls on us to open up to those who differ from us even more than those who we agree with. Itís an international message of universal goals and content and it calls on us to be the friends of the world.

Islam wants us to establish our international relations on the basis of peace. It believes that peace is the foundation of such international relations while war might be the solution imposed only in certain extenuating circumstances. These relations should be organised by the international treaties and charters that protects human rights and establish justice. As long as the other parties respect these treaties and charters, Islam commands Muslims to respect them and deal with them in a friendly manner and Islam prohibits any aggression in such cases, even if these treaties were made with non-Islamic parties.

The ideological doctrine and principles of Islam prevent Muslims from either isolating themselves or being evil to others regardless of nationality. Therefore from a purely Islamic point of view, we are supposed to open up to the West even if there were no Muslims there. However this is all the more important because there are many Muslims in the West and we want the Muslims there to serve as a link between the countries that their families originate from and those where they now live so that they will become messengers of Islamic peace and present a good image. This could clear the clouds that have overshadowed the relationship and presented the Muslim as an aggressive person who only understands violence.

We want the Muslims living in the West to carry the objective spirit of dialogue that would draw him nearer to others. He should to take what is socially and humanly good from Western culture and reject what is morally wrong. We also want him to respect the laws of the countries in which they have taken refuge so that they can become the messengers of Islam in these countries.

Muslims there have to acquire elements of cultural strength to be able to serve themselves as well as their nation, which means that they have to enrol in political and social organisations. Thus becoming a part of decision-making circles that could support the wronged regardless of their political racial or religious identity.

The problem of the West in dealing with Islam is two-fold. Firstly, considering Islam as a dead body and thus treating it arrogantly as being backward and reactionary. Secondly, considering Islam as a big and frightening neighbour. Such a view, as the Swiss writer Arnold Hottinger said, has wronged Islam and Muslims and caused a lot of tragedies for the Arab world.

We as Muslims face two kinds of superficiality. The first is represented by the Western view that derides Islam. While the second one is that of some Muslims who choose to concentrate on certain parts of Islam and who thus lose the overall meaning of its teachings. The latter have hurt Islam despite their good intentions. They have imposed their deviated understanding of Islam on others, making it very easy to accuse others of non-belief and even to issue fatwas ruling that those accused of non-belief could be killed.

We call upon the Westerners and especially the Europeans to rid themselves of all historical complexes regarding Islam and deal with it as a civilized neighbour who has contributed to their own civilisation just as they have received a lot of those who have embraced Islam since what is happening nowadays is a kind of anti-Semitism against Arabs and Muslims. The laws that claim to fight anti-Semitism aim at protecting Israel and preventing others from criticising it objectively. On the other hand, many Westerners consider any law that prevents defamation of Islam as a law that violates freedom of speech.

We are extremely concerned about the new laws that are currently being introduced in the West and especially those being introduced in Britain since they contain hidden racial attitudes towards Muslims as well as violations of the most basic human rights. They also represent the basis for legalising aggressions against Muslims and deporting them. Thus making the vast majority responsible for what the minority have done and further complicating relations between the West and Muslims.

We would like tackle the root causes of the problems between the West and Muslims. Obviously we must deal with the historical and cultural aspects but we must also deal with the political causes because we believe that the West in general knows that the problem started with the Palestinian issue. If the West continues to turn a blind eye to this fact on maintain its support for Israel at the expense of our people we could be on the verge of a new major catastrophe.

We call for a humanistic and civilised world that accepts others and pluralism, a world where everyone deal with others on the basis of an objective and scientific study and not on subjective and ideological slogans.