First: The Details
Ahmad Mansour, a well-known journalist for Aljazeera, published an article on Facebook last week about Brexit, describing the European Union as a “Christian Club” and “European countries uniting under the flag of the cross”, which in my opinion are phrases that portray the EU as an enemy to Islam and the Middle East.
I commented by saying this type of language encourages religious hostility between followers of different religions, and that his way of writing uses Islam to fuel that divide and enlarge the gap between Muslims and followers of other religions.
I also wrote that this article makes it seem that anyone who is not a Muslim, is an enemy to every Muslim.
In my humble opinion, I believed this use of language and reasoning by him only serves to aid the objectives of the so-called Islamic State; to convince its followers and future ones that there is actually a war between Islam and Christianity or Islam and the West.
The fact of the matter is, such war and divide do not exist in the religion of Islam. On the contrary, it encourages building bridges among followers of different religions.
Those are the details.
Second: The Response
One person responded to my comment. This person was saying things like “Islam is the only right religion and the others are false” and “your thoughts are distorted”.
In one of the comments I said “our Christian brothers” and the response came as “I reserve my thoughts on the term brothers”, at which point I decided to withdraw myself from the conversation. I thanked him and wished him a good night.
I started reflecting back on this incident; although the thoughts by the responder do not reflect the vast majority of thinking in the Muslim and Arab world, I must say, there is a significant amount of people who share these same schools of thought.
Why do I say this?
Besides a few people here and there, the majority of Muslims and Arabs are against Donald Trump and his policies of hatred and bigotry towards countries of the Middle East and the religion of Islam.
I asked myself: do we have in our home countries people like Trump, only not against Muslims, but against Christians and other followers? Are some of us racists on the basis of religion?
Yes, and a lot of these people exist in our countries. Anyone who has lived in the Middle East will know why I answered like this.
In the Western World, and in “the European countries that unite under the flag of the cross” – and I’m quoting Mansour’s terms here – people are allowed to express their worldviews in universities, on the streets, invite people to their religions openly and build places of worship, with their rights fully protected under the law.
Let’s imagine a Christian group setting up a table on a university campus in an Arab country to invite people to bible studies. How would that go? My guess will be it will not go down very well with many students at the university.
The fact is this: we have a problem.
Yes, we can object to Trump’s racist executive orders, but we also have to change some of our mentalities as well to avert from hypocrisy.
If we want no discrimination in the US or in Europe to Muslims and Arabs, then we shouldn’t be discriminating in our own countries to people of other faiths and other nationalities.
What Trump is doing is wrong!
Yet, many of us opposed to him are also doing the same thing, only the labels are reversed.
That, I’m afraid, is the shocking truth.