Tarek Fatah on the Present Islamic Condition

Published: June 20th 2010
in News » Local

Tarek Fatah on the Michael Coren Show
Pic: CTS

“Retail outlets should have permission to refuse to give service to one who is wearing a mask,” said Fatah. “We believe that some women, especially in rural communities, wear the Niqab out of tradition; but where they wear it purposefully in the West, we feel it’s a political statement, and hostile to Western society. It poses a threat in terms of community, and more importantly, it further pushes the Muslim Brotherhood agenda to put all women behind Niqab. This is why we oppose it.”


The issue of the treatment of women, in many cases related to religious head garments, is a contentious one; it causes internal conflict among the Muslim population, and simultaneously draws external criticism.


But it is not just in the West that Islam evokes controversy. Indeed, conflict between Jews and Muslims is certainly not a new story. “Sometimes historically, the treatment of Jews was very bad, and Jews have been a minority and suffered, but from my research (regarding Islam), this is not the rule.”


“The conflict,” explained Fatah, “is in accepting that much of what we believe in Islam is borrowed from Judaism. Of course the current Palestinian-Israeli climate plays a part in the conflict on a broader level, but there is more to Muslim-Jewish relations than simply what has happened in last 50 years.”


Indeed, clashes between Muslims and Jews go back some 1,400 years. “We can’t put everything on this basis, and use the conflict in the Middle East to deny cooperation between these two communities,” Fatah asserted.


According to Fatah, a significant problem still lies in the modern interpretation and definition of Islam. “I would not say it’s a religion of peace and compassion, nor of war and killing,” said Fatah. “It is merely a faith that has been distorted after Mohammed died. The problem we have had is that the industrial revolution and modern society bypassed most of the Muslim world.”


Fatah added that one must look at problems in the Muslim world from a sociological and economical perspective, as well. Not just a religious one. “The Turkish palace banned the printing press for more than 200 years. A lot of what happened in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries has thus left Muslim society in a less developed environment.”


And according to Fatah, the Muslim world is still stuck there. Many nations continue to cling to tribalism and the past to some degree; these are not exclusively Islamic problems. Rather, Fatah explained, it is the inability of the Muslim world to reconcile its history with the modern world.


“A real problem,” said Fatah, “lies in Saudi Arabia, and the immense wealth it has, through which it corrupts present day Muslim thinking. That is the number-one problem Islam faces -the power of Saudi Arabia.”


Fatah also makes a necessary distinction between the terms secular and religious, in that they needn’t be mutually exclusive.

Related articles: (tarek fatah, palestinians, israelis, conflict, Muslim Canadian Congress)
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