Wednesday 8 April 2015

Reason versus Emotion - Islamism: Global Solutions to a Global Threat; New Challenging Approaches Needed

(Aharon Nathan's Comments addressed to the meeting of the "Iman Foundation" at the Reform Club on 8th April 2015. For a related article click in Google - Aharon Nathan on Bin Laden 18 July 2002)

The Islamist movements everywhere have recently high-jacked Islam and are using it as a political weapon for political manipulation. They invoke the glory and triumphs of Islam's early conquests to raise the emotions to counter the present superiority of the West vis-à-vis the helplessness of their countries to advance to its level. The West responds with rationality and enlightened human rights instead of understanding the roots and causes of that helplessness and frustration. The problems and the solutions lie in analysing the divergence in their understanding  in 3 areas. 
1. Religions are by definition exclusive. The three Monotheistic Faiths  are very different and even the essence and the attributes of the God each depicts is not the same God. Glossing over this truth in double talk and New Speak only breads hypocrisy and widens the gaps between them. In the 21st Century, religions must be privatised and kept within the confines of their adherents. The great Islamic and Arab Empires did in practice just that by separating the temporal and the divine, the secular and the religious. Mostly they succeeded and became tolerant and even protective of their minorities. Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition found welcoming refuge in Sunni Ottoman Empire. Babylonian Jews survived amidst the Shiaa  dominated Persia and its surrounds. Contrast this with Catholic and Lutheran Europe from Rome to Auschwitz.  It took  Europe and the West centuries to wake up. How long will  it take for Muslims to wake up?

2. Multi-Culturism is bankrupt. It is centrifugal by nature. For a society to survive it needs solidarity and cohesion. Multiculturism is leading to the disintegration of the societies in Britain and other countries in Europe. Jews survived in host countries because they accepted the norms and customs and above all the laws of the land. They followed their famous Aramaic dictum Dinah De Malchutah Dinah, The Law of the land is the Law. Instead of more Mosques and Minarets, Muslim immigrant communities in Europe need genuine understanding of the host countries in Europe and a genuine desire to be part of them that can recreate the glorious days of Andalusia and Córdoba that brought the Enlightenment into Europe.
3. For Democracy to work it needs the cultural background and traditions to support it. Otherwise it soon develops into oligarchies and dictatorships. Indeed that is exactly what happened in many developing countries. Democracy as the rule of the people by the people need institutions to back it and foremost amongst these is a fair electoral system based on proper and balanced representation and a dynamic accountability to the electors. Cultural and historical background shaped democracy in the West. With such background lacking, the way the West introduced democracy and elections in the Middle East proved disastrous. Arithmetic Democracy based on "51 per cent takes all" proved to be a recipe to negate and thwart democracy there. Even in Israel it did not really work. The fault there has been the self interest of its ruling political establishment not to accept changes to its pure PR electoral system which sustains its tribal and divided society. Both in Israel and in the developing countries around the adoption of the balanced electoral system known as TR Total Representation can rectify to a degree the defects of their present systems. And so it can do in other countries. TR fuses the FPTP Westminster system and the PR System combining the two in one vote one ballot. By combining the positive in both it can help to cohere the tribal and stratified societies of these countries giving vent to dissenting voices while assuring stability and legitimacy to their governments. 

Unless The IMAN Foundation engages in finding adequate responses to these three challenges it will not be able to fulfil its noble mission.

Aharon Nathan, Wimbledon, 8th April 2015