Never has the adage “Information is Power” felt more critically relevant. And never has the Power of “Dis-information” revealed its evil effectiveness more poignantly. Generalizations, even generalizations about human beings and human behavior, are not bad things. Our lives would be impossible without generalizations. We wear overcoats in the winter time rather than shorts because we generalize. We believe that it’s okay to cross the road at red light because of generalizations. We avoid stepping off a cliff and lock our doors because of generalizations.
Since after 9/11, Muslims, all over the world, are constantly being labelled as terrorists and this is “over-generalization”. One can supply a mass of exceptions. The radicals assaulting western countries are not Islamic, they are radicals who pervert the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa’alihi wasallum) to allow themselves to stay in power. In case of cartoon caricatures,the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the foremost figure in Shiâ€™a Islam, appears to have taken a pretty balanced view:
In Baghdad, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, denounced publication of the caricatures. However, he suggested that militant Muslims were partly to blame for projecting “distorted and dark image of the faith of justice, love and brotherhood.”
Let’s have a look at “Christian radicalism”. Christianity does have its nutcases. Many doctors have been killed by christian nut jobs over working ad/or operating abortion clinics. So, should we label all devout Christians who are truly pro-life as hypocritical nut-jobs? As for the chanting of death to…please! Christians would love to kill a whole spectrum of what they consider ‘sinners’ and abominations…starting with gays and ending with every other religion on the planet. Religious insanity is not wholly a middle eastern franchise.
Muslims and Christians have clashed several times over the centuries. Sometimes the Muslims won, sometimes not, but the Muslims always treated a conquered people with more respect than did the Christians. The Qur’an is very specific about how a defeated enemy should be treated. There is much more wisdom in the Qur’an than there ever was in the christian bible and the Qur’an has not been hacked and slashed and hugely edited like the christians’ has, a courtesy of catholics. Back in the days of Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alaihi wa’alihi wasallum), captured combatants were treated with respect that the civilians got but when the Christians attacked Muslim lands, it was fair game to slaughter women and children, which is the basis for the Muslim hatred of Christians. Recent examples include Taliban ‘s civilized and humane behavior with female captives and the incident of Abu Gharib jail … an epitome of brutality and inhumanity by western soldiers.
And, yes, I think it’s okay to generalize but Christians in “west” go overboard with their generalization when it comes to Muslims. One should keep open minds but I think they need to bear in mind that measuring Muslims and Christians with different yardsticks especially, when they have large numbers of resident guests from Muslim societies, would not be a good idea.