West and its enemies closer (RTBF Info, Belgium)

In response to recent actions, Bichara Khader, a doctor at the Catholic Institute of Leuven, describes the complicated affairs between Islam and the West. Through the study of these problems can be aware of the tension Muslims, faced with what they see as an attack on their faith.

Sheepish and deliberately provocative anti-Islamic film, outraged Muslim protesters, the besieged embassy, the South American salting, who died in a burning South American office in Benghazi, and the media, who do not cease to add the details — that's bitter menu this week. Sick of it. Bigotry vorachivaetsya: fanaticism American ultra-right forces against bigotry and Salafist jihadists of all stripes. They feed on each other. Hate those and other justified love for one's own religion. Voltaire stated that "a fanatic — a monster who considers himself a scion of religion." Fanatic so confident in his own right, he was ready to sacrifice his life, if only she had triumphed. Freedom of expression, a "sacred value to the West" against the "respect for the Prophet", an advantage that democracy delivers against the desecration of religious signs — here we are again and plunged into a "clash of ignorance."

Historical closeness

All this ridiculous case could go to the back story, if it is not re-allocated by the fact that West in the past 14 centuries, haunted by the ghost of Islam and of Islam, also found no resistance in the western collective consciousness of numerous anti-Muslim stereotypes. From time to time, these prejudices turn white, then, after a terrorist attack, the crisis in the course of the campaign, they shake off the dust and take out the shelves again. I wanted to briefly tell us about how to build a European collective of Muslims and Arabs.

Numerous creators engaged in the issue of the representation of the West and the East, on the contrary, namely, images of Muslims in Europe and other collective consciousness. From memory, call a few books: "The Imaginary East" Hench Thierry (Thierry Hentsch), «The image of the other" Philip Senaka (Philippe Senac), «Islam in the West" Lioz Claude (Claude Liauzu), «Europe and the East" by Georges Foods (George Corm ) and "Europe and Islam" Hisham Dzhayta (Hicham Djait). In acres of other books have tried to decipher the history of relations between the various shores of the Mediterranean, with a focus on conflict, confrontation, conflict and rivalry, then on the cross, mixing and enrichment.

The Crusades and Jihad

In reality, the history of the Mediterranean is like a pendulum, with the conquest and reconquest, crusades and holy wars, victories and defeats. Over the past 14 centuries, there have been naikrupneyshie such actions as the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, the Crusades, the taking of Constantinople, the Battle of Lepanto, European colonization and the war for national liberation. This historical closeness should be reflected in the European and, later, the collective perception of the West, taking into account the fact that neither the West nor Europe, nor, much less, the different Islamic worlds are not a solid block with a single perception of the world.

First contact between Europeans and Muslims in 711 was in the military. Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Strait, which currently bears his name, and started in 711 conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Arabs and Muslims immediately began to regard Europe as military enemies, harsh, but because of his own admirable courage and art of government. During the Crusades in XII-XIII centuries, Muslims were seen as religious adversaries: the documents of those times contemptuous epithets abound in the address of the Prophet and the Muslim religion. And then formed binomial Islam-Christianity. After the fall of Granada in 1492, the Inquisition and the establishment of the first conquests of the Arabs in America put aside slightly to the side, in the category of "ontological differences": they are no longer seen as the enemy, just as the others. At the time established eminent split the Mediterranean "us and them". After the fall of Constantinople in 1454 image Turk has changed a harsh Arab. The Battle of Lepanto, at the end of XVI century was something like revenge for the fall of Constantinople. Sublime Porte suffered the first great military defeat. The descent into hell continued: Turkey was the "sick man" of the East, but the metal has imposed its own law on the ground that stretched from the Arabs of Syria to the gates of Morocco …

Colonial Night

Meanwhile, Europe has confirmed his power in all areas. Since the XV century, South America, Latin became, flooded the Spanish and Portuguese, and other European colonial powers were preparing for the pressure of the Arab world: Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt in 1798 ended abruptly, but in 1830 began the colonization of the Maghreb (in various forms) and all Arab states.

In the course of this long night of colonial image of Arabs and Muslims was different: they depict as apathetic, Zapyataev, doomsayers and even fanatical, but behind them are acknowledged and some virtues of domestic cohesion, hospitality, simplicity. Very instructive in this regard, European literature, especially in the XIX century. From time to time, the Arab world was recorded in the category of "empty cultural space." Speaking of "empty cultural space", I am reminded of the terrible phrase Metternich which the beginning of XVIII century, said the subsequent: "Any territory that is outside of Europe — an empty area, not necessarily because there are no inhabitants, it is the empty cultural space, and hence, it is subject to conquest, as nature abhors a vacuum." Concepts such as "civilizing mission of France", the "burden of snow-white man", "obvious fate" served as an ideological cover to justify colonization.

It must be said that Europe is headed for such of success on all fronts, that she began to consider their own way of exceptional. This belief gave rise to a sense of being exceptional advantages, which is reminiscent Samir Amin (Samir Amin), is the basis of the Eurocentrism. Already in the XVII century Europe once again turned to his own Greek heritage and put it on the first plan of its Greco-Roman origin, and currently provides about the Judeo-Christian roots. The contribution of Arabs and Muslims in the European civilization began to belittle about it just does not read as. Arabs displaced from their own territory by colonization and thus Makar pushed out of the story.

Accession of Greece to Europe, announced the thinkers of the Renaissance, and then Byron and Victor Hugo (think of the "Son of Greece"), anticipated deliberate split in the Mediterranean region between North and South, and between the Islamic world and the West, the division that seemed immutable and natural. Mediterranean reincarnated as a barrier between progress and persistence, between tradition and modernity, between the spirit of Prometheus and resignation to fate, between the nation state and the Islamic Ummah.

Terrorism, fundamentalism, immigration

I would not do such a long history of building retreat in the western collective imaginary, if the current reality is not confirmed that the inherited stereotypes of the past alive to this day. What touched me in this matter, is the fact that Europe has so far looks at Arabs and Muslims as "disturbing strangeness" … Hisham Dzhayt prefers to talk about the "bosom enemies" because you can not completely alien to unbearable for the people themselves; Tiyon Germaine (Germaine Tillion) refers to them as "complementary enemy": both parties asserting i
tself, in opposition to each other, and Claude Lioz West believes "the closest difference. "

Arsenal available in Europe clichés and stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims fueled by 14 centuries of life unchanged shoulder on shoulder. And they have not lost themselves in the XX century. But the "cool war" set down slightly on their second plan: reddish enemy surpassed greenish Islamic enemy. Arabs and Muslims were required in the West of its strategy of containment and Russian Communist threat. Specifically, to this end, it has concluded strategic alliances with numerous Arab countries, without thinking about their political systems, or of religious rigidity. You can recall at least the mobilization of Muslim volunteers in the war against the Russian army in Afghanistan.

But after the collapse of the Russian "Evil Empire," saying rpivychnymi cliché, the Arab and Muslim East again appeared like a ghost: it was a wake- East. It manifested itself in the form of Ben Laden, filling all the screens in the form of a bearded activist Al-Qaeda and the Salafists, but at the moment all the more often — in the form of a Muslim immigrant. Terrorism, fundamentalism, immigration — that keywords now, it is the base of the East West disk imaging. The media images of endless revived, militant, violent, bigoted and despotic East. West constantly betrayed reflection on the comparability of Islam and democracy, Islam and freedom of ladies, Islam, and just freedom.

From time to time there is the question of whether the type of construction enemy structuring element of the identity of Europe and the West. How else to explain the story, and then the book of Samuel Huntington (Samuel Huntington) of a "clash of civilizations" placed immediately after the collapse of the Union of Russian? How to explain this statement by NATO commander Gen. Calvin (Calvin) in 1993, in other words for a long time before the September 11 attacks, "the" Cool War "we won. After that we went back sorokasemiletnego differences in the conflict which has 1300 years — our confrontation with Islam. " These speeches would have remained a dead letter, if they have not confirmed the September 11 attacks and the dispersal of the American war machine with the invasion of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), accompanied by an escort endless death and destruction.

During President Obama's attempt to reach out to Muslims and re-establish a dialogue (speech in Cairo in 2009) did not follow certain measures aimed at the destruction of the walls of misunderstanding and mistrust. America and its allies are bogged down in Afghanistan. Iraq descended into inconstancy. Palestine is bent under the yoke of occupation. And the "Arab Spring" has not given the first sprouts. At the same time, in Europe and America pyshnovatym color blooms primitive Islamophobia, which, however, also fueled by the Salafi-fanatics, water the West mucky in a desperate pursuit of fleeting victories.

In this context, the Arabs and the Muslims carried to extremes, suffer from poverty and lack of security, at least some manifestation of Islamophobia, it seems unbearable. We verified this, litsezrev extremely violent reaction to the Danish cartoons, and now — for anti-Islamic film. Ordinary Westerner hard to believe that people can ignite insult the Prophet, and he concludes that the absurdity of Muslims. But for all that he forgets that behind this surge of anger is hard of accumulated grievances of the past, repressed anger and humiliation carried over. The West should not wonder about the barbarity faster others, and their inconsistency.

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