Islam is greater [Archives:2004/700/Letters to the Editor]

January 5 2004

Mohammed Ahmed Talib
[email protected]

I am a Yemeni residing overseas. I would appreciate if through the columns of your newspaper or editorial you will take the initiative to explain to the whole world that Islam is not incompatible with the West as portrayed by some self-proclaimed pundits like Samuel Huntington in his book, 'Clash of Civilizations' and many other writers who follow his trend of thoughts like parrots. Both can co-exist for mutual benefits.
Only bigotry and fear separate different cultures and drive them apart. This wrong perception should be nipped in the bud and corrected by responsible media such as Yemen Times.
If its not done and left unchecked – and allow us to bury our heads in the sand – this distorted views or conclusions would eventually be catastrophic for the whole world.
Your newspaper should highlight more articles or books written to contradict such naive and simplistic views or thinking whether it be in the West or the East.
There are many writers who have criticized such jaundiced views of Islam and its cultures in refuting the simplicity of Huntington's conclusion.
In this context, we Yemenis living overseas and our native land Yemen has been unfairly labeled and targeted as terrorists and the nest of terrorists etc etc. Terrorists exist all over the world be they Christians, Hindus, Catholics or Buddhists. Yet the world media has not adopted the same prefix. Religion has nothing to do with such deviant and criminal practices. Islam should not be re-defined by the West or the East.
We should not be apologetic and your newspaper should tell the world that Yemen is civilized country with an ancient culture and traditions that has played a great role in history by disseminating Islamic civilization throughout all of Southeast Asia and Africa. These achievements should not be forgotten and we are not barbarians or bandits as portrayed in the West and the Far East.
There are writers like Fred Halliday of London School of Economics and Professor Renard of Harvard University in the West defending Islamic culture and civilization. So why can't Yemen extend the courtesy through your newspaper their thoughts to disseminate the fair comments and reporting that makes responsible journalism.
In this way, you can proudly present the true image of Yemen as the fore bearers of Islamic and Arab civilization.