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
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
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.