Rome (AsiaNews) – The crisis of Islam since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood and the spread of Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. From then on, a fight against the “unbelieving” and “immoral” West. At the same time, Europe has increasingly lost a religious dimension in society, striving for “narcissism of rights.” Yet there has been a time when Europe was a model of dialogue and positive dialogue with Middle Eastern cultures.
Part 2 of an analysis by Jesuit Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, an Islamist, who pushes for dialogue and coexistence, avoiding a “war of religion” at all costs. For Part 1 click here.
3. The causes of the current crisis of Islam
In the beginning, there is the development of a radical view of Islam, which developed during the twentieth century following the fall of the Ottoman Empire (1924), with the decision of Kemal Atatürk, and the division of the Islamic world . The solution was sought in the return to the past, often expressed in a material return to the way of life of the first generation of Muslims. Hence the emergence of fundamentalist movements: the “Muslim Brotherhood” (1928), the “Salafites” and the “Wahhabites”.
With the birth of the state of Saudi Arabia in September 1932, Wahhabism became the official doctrine of the State, which has no Constitution but is governed by Islamic Shari’ah. The discovery of oil in March 1938 made Arabia very rich in a very short space of time. In the last decades, Arabia has built hundreds of mosques throughout the Islamic world, and has imams taught to its strictest doctrine, which lead the Islamic world to unbridled fanaticism.
These movements, in particular the Salafis and the Wahhabites, are recognized externally by the way they dress, or by the beard and other outward signs. Outward behavior is important psychologically, because it allows you to identify those who are “friends” and those who are not!
In particular, everything relating to women and the relationship between men and women is controlled. Women are keep beneath the constant vigilance and control of men; Even the girls are controlled by their little brothers! Human dependence is total. All decisions are taken, in the end, by males. The woman is always submissive to a man: father, husband, brother or son; And always under control. She represents the family’s “honor”: the least thing that does not resemble tradition, “dishonors” the family.
In a country like Egypt, in 1923 (nearly a century ago), Hoda Sha’rawi decided to throw the veil on the public square (Bab al-Hadid); In 1925, Rose al-Youssef founded a weekly magazine still famous today, which bears its name! In 1951, Doriyya Shafik organized a demonstration in front of Parliament, with 1500 women asking for the right to vote … and they obtained it from King Farouk … what the Saudis have yet to obtain 66 years later in 2017 because of their loyalty to Wahhabism!
In my opinion, the 2011 Revolution (the so-called Arab Spring) was not just political: it was a revolution against the patriarchy! Nowadays, very few women have a role in the life of society, politics, economics, etc. In the Egyptian Parliament for example, only 2% of the deputies are women!
Finally, the hatred of the Saudi people toward Shi’ism, represented by Iran, has pushed them to attack Shi’a (and Alawiti) everywhere in the world. Shiites account for 10 to 15% of Muslims in the world, but much more in the Middle East. Shiites are majority in Iran, but also in Iraq and Bahrain; They are also important in Lebanon (they are already more numerous than Sunni), in Yemen, and in many countries. In particular, Iran appears to be a competitor of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Saudi Arabia made a covenant with Israel (the enemy of the Arabs!) By allowing Israel to fly over Saudi territory when it wants to bomb Iran!
4. Europe seen from the East, especially by Muslims
In 1800, Europe was seen by Muslims as a model. The richest and most educated Muslims went to Europe to study, and tried to adopt the language of these countries, particularly English or French. The way of life and culture were also attractive for the upper classes of the Muslim world. In the Arab world, Nahda (the Renaissance) was inspired by the Western model in many things. The “liberation of the Muslim woman” also spread in the early twentieth century, supported by the European ideal.
However, this model has lost its attractiveness. One of the main causes was, in my opinion, the loss of religious sense in many European countries, and the spread of immorality in everyday life, especially in free sexual relations, as well as in the spread of homosexuality recognized as a ” right”. Nowadays in many Western countries abortion for convenience is not only recognized as a right, but is subsidized by the state. Similarly, the concept of “family” has been “enlarged”! There is a traditional one, composed of a man and a woman, and there is a “modern family” consisting of two men or two women! All this is seen – with reason – as a shame, which shows that Western civilization is “decadent.” And this reinforces the Islamic traditionalist view, especially the Wahhabites.
This reality has greatly encouraged the contrary reaction of religious rigor to the present situation, where the ethical model is that of the return to the seventh century and to chauvinist practices, and to rigorism in everything.
In two centuries, the image of the West – which was rather positive – has become absolutely negative, and reinforces the attitude of Islamic fundamentalists. Western extremism comes to justify and reinforce fundamentalist extremism. The West is no longer a model to imitate; On the contrary, the model is in the past, in the original foundation – as far as possible of the Western model, now corrupt. This explains why Isis and Islamic terrorists attack in Köln (Cologne) on New Year’s Eve, women too lightly dressed (according to them), seen as prostitutes; Or Manchester attack young people listening to music that sounds “diabolical”; etc.
In short, these radical Islamists regard the West as “decadent.” Therefore, against the Westerners, everything is allowed, because they belong now to the category of “infedels” of kuffar. This radical Islamic movement claims to offer the opposite model, that of an “authentic” “original” Islam!