The idea of Islam clashing with the West has been raised by many of those who see Islam as a threat to modern civilization. Muslims are perceived as diametrically opposed to the west. The reason for this perception is because Islam seems to be very apparent and perceptible as a way of life, culture, daily religious observances, diet, dress code, ideas, and behavior. Many may think or assume that the Western way of life is threatened by such manifestation of religious and cultural practices. Although diversity and accommodation of different religious and ethnic groups have come a long way in the Western world, there is still an unconscious prejudice that surge from time to time to start categorizing people based on their visible dissimilarity to others. The latter “others” could be seen as “Civilized people” and symbols of Western civilization even if they may not act in what should be considered civility. Therefore, those who claim to believe in diversity and state that it is a source of strength, they should not contradict themselves by dividing the world into two worlds or two kinds of people; one that is civilized and the other that is uncivilized.
Moreover, the question we should ask is: “what is indeed civilization?”. Islam, by the statement of Western scholars who studied it, is not only a religion, but a way of life and a civilization. I do not need to give in this context all the proofs for that, but I confine by referring the reader to read the History of the Muslim world from the times of ignorance and darkness of seventh century Arabia to the best civilized world of the middle ages and the abundance of universities, laboratories, that led thousands of scholars to excel in their inventions and achievements in all fields of science, medicine, engineering, architecture, art and education. A world that contributed in every field of life with principles that stem from the Qur’an and which direct the individual to focus on the development on different levels including the spiritual, the intellectual, the economical, and the social aspects of life. A civilization that outrivaled the other contemporary ones. A civilization that continued in its economical and intellectual elements through its handed torch to Europe.
Therefore, if Islam is a civilization and for civilization with all its comprehensive elements, it is unconceivable to consider it a threat to today’s civilization. As Muslims we should appreciate what the human intellect has achieved in terms of the valuable inventions and discoveries. The Human intellect is a divine gift that could be a blessing if used in a constructive way and a curse if used in a destructive way.
As a result of the diametrical approach that can be taken vis-à-vis Muslims, it is a matter of religion and religious motives when a perpetrator happens to be a Muslim by name or appearance. To the point that Muslims, specifically, have become ‘easy pickings’ in the media. The latter, for instance, except in some cases of objective journalism, in its almost totally blinked view of Arabs and Muslims, has a different set of rules when writing about issues related to them. Fairness and balance are absent whenever the discussion is about Muslims or Arabs. The impression that the general public might get is that almost every Muslim, or Arab, is a terrorist or has a sympathizing attitude for acts of terror. This is constantly repeated on a daily basis through the news, talk shows, TV shows, comedy shows, movies, and even the “educational books” as if it is being done in order to make the general public undergo a gradual process of accumulating growing hatred and mistrust.
The great danger we live today is the generalization and sweeping statements as well as misinformation and its continuous rehearsal.
From the book Terrorism: An Islamic Perspective by Imam Hamid Slimi