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Where is the World’s Anger? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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“We should feel ashamed that such things are happening at our present time: where’s the anger of the world?” That was what the American Senate House Speaker said on occasion of the House’s decision to allow for additional sanctions against Sudan over Darfour. Later, there were American public demonstrations describing Arabs and Muslims as “Jihadies” and holding “Jihad responsible for what is happening in Sudan.”

Meanwhile, Marcello Pera, the Italian senate president, launched a train called the “West-Express,” with the mission of warning Christian Europe against the danger of Islam in the West. The “West-Express” is a call for protecting the Western Christian identity against the threat of Islam. It took off from Rome, carrying on board more than 500 politicians, heading towards Paris, Madrid and even Istanbul. The Italian senate president is warning against the spread of Islam in Italy and the threat it poses to Christianity and the Western culture. One can only wonder how the West would have reacted had the Muslims launched a similar initiative.

As for the Carnegie report on world peace published in DC, it also warned against the “ambiguity” of Islamists, which is the major dilemma facing the West and the international organizations. Western countries are “convinced that democratic transformation in the Middle East is vital for peace in the world.” The Western countries wish the political movements in the Middle East were “secular, with liberal credentials, and record in democratic processes.”

Scores of other similar initiatives and studies are instigating Islamophobia in the West, under a cover of scientific and objective analysis. They demonstrate total lack of understanding of what Islam and Muslim culture are about.

To borrow the American Senate House Speaker’s words, one can only wonder where “the anger of the world” is. Indeed, the world, “should feel ashamed” that the democratically elected Palestinian government cannot hold meetings thanks to the Israeli military siege. The world “should feel ashamed” of the daily news of murdered Palestinian and Iraqi civilians under occupation. The world “should feel ashamed” of the European laws passed for preventing Arabs from enrolling in “delicate” scientific studies.

The other side of this shame is Arab failure to tell the world about what is really happening to Palestinians and Iraqis. Instead, they are busying themselves with minor issues such as “who represents Palestinians in foreign forums” and “who controls the checkpoints.” Meanwhile, extremists in the West are taking control of world media and politics.

Close examination of Islam, Islamic and Arab culture and reality, will reveal, even to the inexpert eye, the tolerance and inclusiveness they enjoy. Prophet Muhammad’s message to the world was one of mercy and righteousness. The ministers of foreign affairs in Iraq, Hoshyar Zebari, and in Sudan, Lam Akol Ajawin, as well as thousands of Arab and Muslim philosophers, writers and leaders, are live examples of the maturity of Arab identity and its acceptance of variant ethnicities and religions over thousands of years of history.

There are so many things happening to Arabs and Muslims that should call for the world’s shame. Western political selectivity of concerning itself with Darfour and not Palestine and Iraq is only one example. Spreading xenophobia in the west against Arabs and Muslims is another. The “world’s anger” should target such injustices happening in our time. It should target all forms of aggression and racism, regardless of origin and place, to truly preserve the world’s peace.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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