A Legacy of Liberalism in the Middle East – Between the Orient and the Occident


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Islamic liberalism is not a myth, but to assume that it seeks to mimic the West, ignores that the West itself has shortcomings in the realm of authentic liberalism.

It becomes difficult to gauge really what is the so-called problem ailing the Middle East, when one does so from a perspective shaped by Occidentalism – which has academics arguing that individual rights were born in the West.

The premise is based on the birth of individualism in the 12th century on to the 18th century. This period saw an emergence of anti-elitism.

But development and modernization, which swept the West, but drastically missed the rest of the world, to varying degrees.

But the West’s vast advantage in development is not because of its individualism. Instead it is because the West is more inclined toward a culture of subjugation and exploitation – instead of enriching itself and others. As a result, it has developed faster, often building upon the miseries of others, illegally.

Furthermore, the Middle East’s struggle with foreign intervention, or colonialism, or imperialism, or neoconservatism, or whatever you want to call it these days since words these days lose meaning, has even worsened and confused our understanding of religion.

People forget really what the Prophet Muhammad’s initial message was about. This gets confused with sensitivity and motive. In my case, the pursuit of truth is my motive, whether that upsets me or not. But my faith is strong, in Allah, and so I do not fall to doubt.

Islam, is a culture. But the culture itself has become domineering. We can blame Muslims, but that ignores history. The Middle East suffers most from this. It is underdeveloped but most importantly, it is ravaged by instability and violence.

The Middle East is vibrant. It is the home of many religions, stories and nationalities.

While Islam is a rich part of that history, it is not the only part.

More importantly, religion should be neither compulsive nor imposing.

If the Middle East embraced Abrahamic monotheism more closely, it would find that judging others is unholy. In fact, to judge is to assume the role of God – the exact sin of the devil. We forget Iblis sought to play the role of God’s spokesperson?

Dogma has engulfed the Middle East. Individualism has been made scarce. That is because religious sensitivity, political instability and envy have together, created a scenario of perpetual unrest, casting a shadow over individuals of excellence in the Middle East, and instead, bringing into the limelight, the radicals, fools and those who slander the region’s reputation.

If Western countries were not nitpicking at the Middle East’s every corner, there would be an opportunity for modernization, no matter how different. Instead, the Middle East was infiltrated by misleading pursuits of glorification.

The West juggled fascism and communism, and injected them into every corner of the world.

How then can the West be the harbinger – the origin – of liberalism?

Do you think African-Americans, or Native-Americans believe that narrative?

How about Muslim-Americans?

The world is struggling between cultures.

And the so-called “rational world” which is in reality merely a civilization built on voluntary exploitation. The spirit of domination fuels the Western cultural and political machine. This has given it the courage to exploit. It injected communism into China. It injected fascism into Europe and South America. In the Middle East, it has played into the hands of fascism.

The Middle East is home to Islam but it is also home to religions like Christianity, Judaism, or the more taboo Zoroastrianism, Yazidism, Shiism and so on. These diversities have been eclipsed by imperialism, democratic imposition and radicalization. To battle clerical radicalism, historically states in the Middle East equipped robust security apparatuses. The grievances of the Middle Eastern people include many, but the promise of democratic institutionalism is not their guaranteer of salvation. Democracy is just pretty fascism. The woes of the Middle East are economic, social, and political.

Our rich history, and our eternal future, cannot be cultivated, or secured by social systems designed by ideology and not spirituality infused. The two must respect one another, both science and religion.

Order, merit, stability, institution, and bureaucracy, are not dependent on democracy and are in fact almost threatened by the potential of democracy to lead to mob-rule. Insert Donald Trump or Adolf Hitler quote here.

Ultimately, a careful semblance of absolute rule and popular sovereignty is the best possible system we can design [parliamentarian monarch in the west; shah/majlis in the East]. Anything else almost guarantees the prevalence of dogma and tyranny. The West has arrived at fascist neoconservatism through democratic mob-rule. It has divided and exploited the Middle East, and thus we have an environment absent of liberty, peace and stability.

This is not a case against democracy, but rather, a containment of Western imperial overreach.

The greatest purveyor of social justice, which includes, autonomy, sovereignty, private property, tolerance and personal freedom, has historically not been democratic in the Middle East, but unfortunately more authoritarian, given the dynamic created by foreign powers. Even if the Middle East were the world’s greatest power, it would likely not choose democracy because political representation is not a cultural priority in the Middle East or the Islamic/Arab World. The priorities include family values, religious devotion and national loyalty. Personal ambitions are considered but not wholly.

Only through this recognition can the Middle East be free of subjugation and calamity.

May there one day be peace in the Middle East. Only then will such hope be no longer a fleeting prayer but rather a perpetual reality.

To the world to come.

Let it be known though that I am a Muslim, socially liberal and devout – though I do believe in authority and order – and that both irreligion [libertine] and radicalism [conservative] are two sides of the same coin, sort of like communism and capitalism. The eradication of both, is a triumph for Muslims everywhere, of all orientations.

 

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Sufi in America


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While I stand with solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, I must make the statement that not all Muslims have long beards, wear hijabs or are super religious.

In fact, my interpretation of Islam would likely be deemed too liberal for the hardline orthodoxy. But that’s when things get political. Just keep in mind, there is a difference between intellectual Islam, spiritual Islam, orthodox Islam and politicized Islam.

I do believe in moderating one’s behavior, in moderation, which means hardliners and orthodox Muslims are out of place when they pass judgment upon other Muslims (and non-muslims too, but for the sake of the subject, I will focus on inter-Islamic relations).

Many of the misconceptions about Islam are politically engineered, so I don’t even bother addressing them, because I know in my heart that Islam at its inception would have been averse to the modern forms of politicized Islam or Islamism that pervades the Muslim world.

The most important aspect of religion has little to do with rules, dogmas and tradition, a mon avis. On the contrary, the primary message of Islam is one of the heart; of compassion and kindness. But the focus these days is on “limiting behavior”. To me, this is un-Islamic.

We need religious clerics to stop playing God, and for money to stop falling into their hands.

Searching for the inner me. Almost there. Praying,


Searching for the inner me. Almost there. Praying, at least, that I am almost there. I can smell it, in the air. Really.

I would like to educate Middle Easterners on


I would like to educate Middle Easterners on my perspective on global politics and especially the Arab World.

While this is a difficult task for a variety of reasons, I feel it is now a pressing issue that must be addressed, or else we as an Arab people may face further humiliation, indignation, oppression, and eventually, complete elimination.

I do not know exactly why it is so commonplace for Arabs to have a distorted understanding of their own homeland, but I do know that this problem exists and that it has not only caused rivets between fellow Arab brethren — it has allowed for ill-intentioned insiders and outsiders to use it to their advantage. As the age old saying goes: “divide and conquer”.

What seems to be happening in the Middle East is a perfect example of modern colonialism. The brilliance of modern colonialism is that it is easily guised as an effort to “bring nations into the community of civilized nations” by imposing democracy, or I should say pseudo-democracy.

It isn’t much different from history though, for even in the past, individuals and nations together justified invasions and occupations through religion. The Americans wiped out the indians because they were ‘savages’. Europe did the same in Africa and the Middle East, colonizing nations and exploiting their resources.

The problem in the Middle East and in most places that are under pressure from the spheres of influence of bigger nations like the U.S., China, Russia and the European continent, is that it is difficult for nations to be fully democratic because they are easily infiltrated and penetrated by insiders and outsiders trying to exploit resources. Even in modern developed democracies like America, there are forces inside and out constantly seeking to exploit America’s wealth, it’s resources, and its values. Some of these entities include major banks, oil companies, lobbyists like the NRA and AIPAC. If even America faces constant threats to its democracy, to its protection of individual rights as well as its social community, why is it so hard for arabs to understand that a black-and-white transition to arbitrary democracy is irrational, unscientific, and if anything naive.

Before democracies can flourish in countries like Syria, Egypt, etc, there must be an establishment of certain laws, absolute laws, preventing abuses of power, politically, socially, and economically.

But you see the reason why democracy itself does not exist in the Middle East is not because of socialist regimes and baathist regimes that are seeking to usurp power and control economies. In fact, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries are more inclined to do such things under the guise of “Islam”. What better way to convince people that your way of life is right then to equate failure with burning in hell eternally. This is not Islam.

Syria is the way it is precisely because of the West — not because of democracy, not because of capitalism, not because of freedom. Certain actors in the West got big heads and thought they could take advantage of other countries that have not yet reached democratic status.

Ultimately, what I am trying to get at is that Israel is the remnant of colonial ambitions in the Middle East and has perpetuated the lack of genuine democratic development by staging a two year long farce of an Arab Revolution.

If Israel didn’t exist, there would be no apartheid government in the region, and a more stable Middle East could transition to democracy.

But you see the West is too afraid to grant the Arabs the right to self determination. No, if we grant them freedom they might actually make use of their resources and become free, self-sufficient, and dignified. No, we don’t want that says England, says Corporate America. We want Kings and Pseudo-Democracies like Israel (which is really just a colonial satellite guised as a religious entity in order to garner post-holocaust sympathy), that are bent to the West’s will and that will secure economic interests — namely, oil.

So before we begin jumping to conclusions let us understand that all people deserve the right to self-determination, and the only forces in the West that recognize that are the more liberal ones, which is why I am more satisfied with Obama being president than a Mitt Romney or another George W. Bush…

All I can say is that I pray that the Arab people will forgive themselves for getting too cocky and will accept the truth so that we may live a dignified existence, free from occupation, slavery, ignorance, and hypocrisy.

God grant me this wish.


Why go back and forth in our heads?

If we know what is right, why go back on it?

There is no need.

There is one God.

There is no religion for He has no religion.

We are all free.

Do as you wish and be free.

Those who enslave you and cause you misery do not believe.

They see themselves higher than you.

Do not allow them to come near you.

Do not allow them strength.