The Palestinian-Israeli conflict [Archives:2006/938/Letters to the Editor]

April 17 2006

Matthew Sailhardy
[email protected]

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi's essay on the West and its share of responsibility for the current dilemma in Western and Islamic relations is both clear and thoughtful.

He is quite right that the key, at least for a beginning in a positive new chapter of Islamic world relationships with other non-Islamic nations, lies in the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

However, no resolution is possible unless Palestinians can agree to stop killing Israelis. Most of the hardships Palestinians endure are a result of Israel's attempts to defend itself against murder and assassination. All governments are bound to protect their people, or they serve no useful purpose.

The constant demonizing of Jews by Muslims is met with the demonizing of Islam, and not merely by Jews. The cartoons published originally in Denmark were a needless provocation, but once published, religious leaders fanned the flames of hatred with false embellishments to the controversy.

If Islam were serious about getting along with the West and about profiting from the good in the West, then it must censure people who distort Islam for their own political ends.

Such people include Osama bin Laden who is very careful not to send his sons out to die for “the cause.” And it should be noted that there is nothing the West can do to placate al Qaeda. What Osama bin Laden wants is control of the Saudi Arabian peninsula. The West cannot give that to anyone.

All the rest of al Qaeda's creed is simply camouflage for its true intent, which is to supplant tyranny with its own brand of tyranny. The biggest thing the Islamic world can learn from the West is that freeing the human spirit can reap great leaps forward in people's lives.

The golden age of Islam was probably the highest in civilization humanity has achieved, and it was a civilization which encouraged borrowing from other cultures through individual thought and study, which built on those borrowings.

The Golden Age produced startling discoveries in all fields, and it took the West centuries to catch up with the Arab world of 1,000 years ago.

While the Arab world is fuming at the West and repressing its own people's intellects and aspirations, the West is trying to free itself from its dependence on Middle Eastern oil. If it succeeds, the Arab world will again become an arid and increasingly trivial backwater.

Wake up.