Muslims and the West: Can They Be Integrated?
The question: "Will East and West ever meet?" (Rudyard Kipling) is no longer rhetorical. East and West have met and are trying to live together in our cities. However, living together is accompanied by much tension. Can we talk about a cold war being fought against Islam? Do these conflicts find ground in religious beliefs and is the Christian West confronting the Muslim East? Will the Third World War be fought between believers and unbelievers? Is islamic anger caused by religious beliefs? Can we find a means to overcome islamophobia on the one hand, the demonization of the West on the other hand? This book tries to tackle these questions by pointing out that precisely the most unique features of cities like Amsterdam originated out of and in fact still do lie in the interaction between different cultures. One can learn from seeing one's own culture through the eyes of foreign artists. A series of portraits of prominent figures show how the model of the prophet Muhammad has been understood and followed in different ways. There is not one uniform islam. There are only different Muslims. Are 'terrorists' driven by the prospects of heavenly reward? Are Church and State separated in Islam? What about modern understandings of the Qur'an? It depends if one listens to the godfathers of 'fundamentalism' or rather to mainstream Islam. This book argues that the enmity between the East and the West is no world wide clash of civilizations and cultures, but primarily grounded in differing economic and political interests. For East and West to really meet one another, it is necessary for both to commit themselves to mutual understanding, respect, and fair relations.
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