Sunday, 10 April 2011

Origins of poisoning of the Western mind against Islam


Why DAP cannot accept Islam ? I don't blame them actually. If we look at the type of Islam practiced by PAS followers, it would seems that Islam ala PAS is more interested in flogging adulterers , chopping of hands and stoning people to death. This gives an impression that Islam is cruel. That is a misunderstanding caused by PAS. Nevertheless if we talk about cruelty, just take a look at Christianity. The whole religion is about putting the Son of God on a crucifix. The CRUCICIFIXON of Jesus Christ is the basis for this religion. Then the irony is , when we talk to Christians, they talk about love, turning the other cheek and they explained that if we can look at the crucifixion of Christ as mercy and love from God for He so love the world that he gave his only begotten son to be crucified. That is a Christian explanation about the so called cruelty to the  Son of God. Justification provided by Christians and almost across the Globe, without any hesitation, Christianity is known as the religion of love and mercy despite the crucifixion.

When it comes to Islam, no one is interested to listen to clarifications offered by Muslim scholars about some misconceptions of Islam due to Muslims wrongly practising Islam or it is just a pure misunderstanding of non-Muslim. Why is this bias towards Islam but not to other religions ? Read this article below addressing  the subject matter.

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When it comes to Islam - Western equanimity is almost invariably disturbed by an emotional bias. Is it perhaps, I sometimes wonder, because the values of Islam are close enough to those of the West to constitute a potential challenge to many Western concepts of spiritual and social life?'

And I went on to tell him [a non-Muslim friend ] of a theory which I had conceived some years ago - a theory that might perhaps help one to understand better the deep-seated prejudice against Islam so often to be found in Western literature and contemporary thought. 'To find a truly convincing explanation of this prejudice I said, 'one has to look far backward into history and try to comprehend the psychological background of the earliest relations between the Western and the Muslim worlds. What Occidentals think and feel about Islam today is rooted in impressions that were born during the Crusades.'

'The Crusades!' exclaimed my friend. 'You don't mean to say that what happened nearly a thousand years ago could still have an effect on people in this century?'

'But it does! I know it sounds incredible; but don't you remember the incredulity which greeted the early discoveries of the psychoanalysts when they tried to show that much of the emotional life of a mature person and most of those seemingly unaccountable leanings, tastes and prejudices comprised in the term "idiosyncrasies"- can be traced back to the experiences of his most formative age, his early childhood? Well, are nations and civilizations anything but collective individuals?

Their development also is bound up with the experiences of their early childhood. As with children, those experiences may have been pleasant or unpleasant; they may have been perfectly rational or, alternatively, due to the child's naive misinterpretation of an event: the moulding effect of every such experience depends primarily on its original intensity. The century immediately preceding the Crusades, that is, the end of the first millennium of the Christian era, might well be described as the early childhood of Western civilization . . .' 

I proceeded to remind my friend - himself an historian - that this had been the age when, for the first time since the dark centuries that followed the breakup of Imperial Rome, Europe was beginning to see its own cultural way. Independently of the almost forgotten Roman heritage, new literatures were just then coming into existence in the European vernaculars; inspired by the religious experience of Western Christianity, fine arts were slowly awakening from the lethargy caused by the warlike migrations of the Goths, Huns and Avars; out of the crude conditions of the early Middle Ages, a new cultural world was emerging. It was at that critical, extremely sensitive stage of its development that Europe received its most formidable shock - in modern parlance, a 'trauma' - in the shape of the Crusades. 


The Crusades were the strongest collective impression on a civilization that had just begun to be conscious of itself. Historically speaking, they represented Europe's earliest - and entirely successful - attempt to view itself under the aspect of cultural unity. Nothing that Europe has experienced before or after could compare with the enthusiasm which the First Crusade brought into being. A wave of intoxication swept over the Continent, an elation which for the first time overstepped the barriers between states and tribes and classes. Before then, there had been Franks and Saxons and Germans, Burgundians and Sicilians, Normans and Lombards - a medley of tribes and races with scarcely anything in common but the fact that most of their feudal kingdoms and principalities were remnants of the Roman Empire and that all of them professed the Christian faith: but in the Crusades, and through them, the religious bond was elevated to a new plane, a cause common to all Europeans alike - the politico-religious concept of 'Christendom', which in its turn gave birth to the cultural concept of 'Europe'. When, in his famous speech at Clermont, in November, 1095, Pope Urban II exhorted the Christians to make war or Christian JIHAD  upon the 'wicked race' that held the Holy Land, he enunciated - probably without knowing it himself - the charter of Western civilization. 

The traumatic experience of the Crusades gave Europe its cultural awareness and its unity; but this same experience was destined henceforth also to provide the false colour in which Islam was to appear to Western eyes. Not simply because the Crusades meant war and bloodshed. So many wars have been waged between nations and subsequently forgotten, and so many animosities which in their time seemed ineradicable have later turned into friendships. The damage caused by the Crusades was not restricted to a clash of weapons: it was, first and foremost, an intellectual damage - the poisoning of the Western mind against the Muslim world through a deliberate misrepresentation of the teachings and ideals of Islam.

For, if the call for a crusade was to maintain its validity, the Prophet of the Muslims had, of necessity, to be stamped as the Anti-Christ and his religion depicted in the most lurid terms as a fount of immorality and Perversion. It was at the time of the Crusades that the ludicrous notion that Islam was a religion of crude sensualism and brutal violence, of an observance of ritual instead of a purification of the heart entered the Western mind and remained there; and it was then that the name of the Prophet Muhammad - the same Muhammad who had insisted that his own followers respect the prophets of other religions-was contemptuously transformed by Europeans into 'Mahound'. The age when the spirit of independent inquiry could raise its head was as yet far distant in Europe; it was easy for the powers-that-were to sow the dark seeds of hatred for a religion and civilization that was so different from the religion and civilization of the West.

Thus it was no accident that the fiery Chanson da Roland, which describes the legendary victory of Christendom over the Muslim 'heathen' in southern France, was composed not at the time of those battles but three centuries later-to wit, shortly before the First Crusade - immediately to become a kind of 'national anthem' of Europe, and it is no accident, either, that this warlike epic marks the beginning of a European literature, as distinct from the earlier, localized literatures: for hostility toward Islam stood over the cradle of European civilization. 

It would seem an irony of history that the age-old Western resentment against Islam, which was religious in origin, should still persist subconsciously at a time when religion has lost most of its hold on the imagination of Western man. This, however is not really surprising. We know that a person may completely lose the religious beliefs imparted to him in his childhood while, nevertheless, some particular emotion connected with those beliefs remains, irrationally, in force throughout his later life '-and this,' I concluded, 'is precisely what happened to that collective personality, Western civilization. The shadow of the Crusades hovers over the West to this day; and all its reaction toward Islam and the Muslim world bear distinct traces of that die-hard ghost ...' 

My friend remained silent for a long time. I can still see his tall, lanky figure pacing up and down the room, his hands in his coat pockets, shaking his head as if puzzled, and finally saying: 'There may be something in what you say . .. indeed, there may be, although I am not in a position to judge your "theory" offhand ...

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