Monday, 13 July 2015

Narratives will not stop terrorism

Howard Jacobson's Saturday article in the i newspaper "Narratives will not stop terrorism" receives an A1 rating from me.

I am not short of knowledge about Islam and Muslims and I love their religion and what their prophet stood for - as did Thomas Carlyle and George Bernard Shaw - and I believe there has grown an enormous resentment amongst many in the larger Muslim community about Western policy in the Middle East this last near-100 years.

Therefore, Howard Jacobson is so right in asserting that we in Britain and the larger Western world need to offer more than platitudes as an alternative to the perverse Daesh (aka ISIS or ISIL) line. What we should offer is a genuine and heartfelt sense of being brothers with Muslims in their aspiration to be recognised for what they truly stand for, and not expect them to 'fit in' to our secular ways, some of which are of dubious value. Least valued of all must be this country's lurch back towards feeding the rich rather than the poor and re-preaching 'an eye for an eye' philosophy. As Ghandi said, that view can lead one to becoming blind!

Have we yet managed to reach the level of Islamic civilisation in Spain, for example? I believe Islam has taught us much - we owe Islam much for its legacy in the sciences, arts and civilisation in general and we even use 'Arabic numerals'.

Without meaning to revive Inter-Faith Groups, perhaps we should look closer into the sincere Muslim's philosophy to find what is common in our ideals in order to draw from the best of both worlds, and even to transcend them. And in that discussion to include Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and others too. There is more we all have in common than meets the eye when it comes down to our ideals. Our internal and foreign politics should eventually benefit from this approach.

Merely showing willingness to earnestly discuss how we go forward based on real values will surely bring us all (all faiths and cultures) closer together and eventually eliminate extremism, especially that of Daesh.

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