East or the West: It is the Enigma of Fear at work

By A Khokar     June 28, 2010

 For last about a decade or so we all find ourselves put up against a phoney Global War against Terrorism, where Western Forces with their might and savagery are all out at war in Muslim World to conquer an unspecified imaginary enemy called—terror. After wandering for several years and with no achievements at hand; the adventurism of western oppression forces has become a matter of contention. The masses in the west as well as in the Muslim world are ghastly deluded. There is an atmosphere of perpetual fear and terror broiling to breed hatred in the societies all the times. At the same time; western media remains very busy in creating divisions in between the different cultures and societies and is starkly hyping up the stigma of  ‘us’ against ‘them’ battle.

 ‘Beneath the myriad reasons for these appears to be a fundamental inability of people whose beliefs vary to understand how the other side thinks and feels. That is to say; ‘we have here a dialogue of the deaf, although paradoxically both sides share the same motivation: fear.’

Western culture and public discourse has become so secularized in recent generations that there is little comprehension of people living in the East whose ‘religion’ holds a central place in their lives and identity.

History tells us that, European nation-states were constructed through centuries of struggle and conflict in which religious differences and oppression were often explosive. But people today fear that they are in danger of losing what was won with so much suffering: their freedoms and their collective sense of identity.

In the eastern societies, behind these fears lie the rapid changes of globalization, the uncertainties of geopolitics and seeing the failure of re-run of old colonial type schemes by the west to subjugate the peoples especially in the Middle East and Af-Pak enclave. They feel that they are intentionally being kept in a defenceless state in order to grab their economic resources through ‘fallacy and deceit’. The western Imprints on Iraq, the ongoing war against Afghans and strangulation of hard nut—Iran— the plans of the west now lay exposed and frustrated. At home, especially in Europe the fears focus on immigrants and ethnic minorities – which in many places mean Muslims and unfounded fear of ‘expected retaliatory reprisal’ from them.  

Any demand from Muslims to have their right of religion recognised, is seriously interpreted as a threat to the hard-won rights of freedom of expression in the west. Those who feel threatened fear not just the small Muslim minorities in Europe; as in most countries they are less than three percent of the population – but also the hundreds of millions of Muslims beyond their borders, out in the broader Muslim world, where the so-called “new enemy” is to be found.

 Many parts of the Muslim world also fear uncertainties such as globalization, international instability and, closer to home, unemployment and arbitrary governments – not to mention random violence, killing and arson. But there the fear is focused on the heirs of the old imperial powers: the West, which is again seen as wishing to dominate and thus is seen, undermining Islam.

One side is talking the language of freedoms and rights. The other side is talking the language of respect for the sacred. In response, the respect for the religion and its symbols becomes a central focus.


Love for all, Hatred for None

(‘A Common Grounds Theme’)