Voltage hotspots peaked. Hostage crisis in France – twelve people were shot dead and 11 were injured in the attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine which freely mocks religion. Opinions differ – freedom of speech or lack of respect? However, violence and death are never justifiable. Nine people were killed and more than 35 were injured in two terrorist suicide bombings which targeted a café in Jabal Mohsen area in Tripoli, Lebanon. Barbaric acts committed by radical terrorists‘ groups in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere are an affront to Islam and pose a threat to Islam itself as a religion and a mission on an international scale.
Ignorance of human rights, fundamental disrespect for personality and lynch massacres triggered a massive use of states’ resources which could be really used to promote educational achievements and health programs, to ensure international dialog, lasting and positive economic progress on all over the world, etc.
The unprecedented attacks continue to shock the world and there has been an outpouring of sympathy and solidarity worldwide. The Western obsession with a perceived threat of Islamic fundamentalism and the undertaking to combat it at any cost has led many to forget that secular liberalism is one world view but not the only one. Western stereotyping of Islamists as fundamentalists, terrorists, and inherently anti-Western is very inaccurate. Transgression of stereotypes led to continue negotiation between Iran and a six-nation negotiating group until the end of June, 2015 because parties were close to a deal that would make the entire world safer and more secure. During the talks in Vienna many gaps were narrowed and positions of both sides got closer.
Everyone who has Muslim friends worldwide, has worked with Middle East, has travelled there or has had commercial-business relations would agree, although the Islamic doctrine, like any other, has its share of radicals, most Islamists seek peaceful and democratic change.
We all should take responsibility for future relations between Muslim and Western societies and avoid stereotypical approach to see Islam and the West as locked on an unalterable collision course with the cardinal irreconcilable worldviews and political theologies. More viable and far-sighted posture could be refuse current tensions as useless and based on radical interpretation of theology. Many scholars, intellectuals, practitioners and community activists in both Muslim and Western worlds argue for critical engagement and eventual reconciliation between the worlds of Islam and the West.
From international politics and religion to media and education, there is a vibrant process under way to renegotiate the legacy of Western modernity and chart a new way for future relations. A dialogue must be opened with the Islamist leaders toward establishing a relationship of cooperation and coexistence. The attitude of distrust and lack of respect between the two sides cannot persist. On the other hand, there were statements form Islamic world that dialogue with the West is a mandatory obligation for them in order to understand what they want for themselves and their people and were they to convince Western leaders and decision-makers of their right to live according to their faith—ideologically, legislatively, and ethnically—without imposing their views or inflicting harm upon others, then they would have traversed an immense barrier.
Unless peaceful steps are taken, the distrust between the West and the Islamic world will only lead to international instability. Radicals who call for confrontation and a new cold war will replace leaders who claim, that the Western world has developed many positive values of Islam—free, consultative government, dignity to the individual, free enterprise, and who call for coexistence and emulation in some respects.
It‘s worth to seek to bridge the religious, cultural and political gap between Muslim and Western communities. Such critical engagement and a possible move toward historical reconciliation will involve revisiting the current self-perceptions of the Islamic and Western worlds and their views of one another. This is a daunting task but one that is essential for global peace.
We are all children on the Same Earth – there is enough space for everybody when we respect each other, hear each other, negotiate and work towards common fundamental goals and values.