East is East & West is West

Jan 16 • General • 925 Views • No Comments on East is East & West is West

Over a century ago, long before anyone became aware of the term multicultural, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called “The Ballad of East & West” whose initial line reads: “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Kipling seemed to be saying that all of us are, to some extent at least, unable to adapt to the ways of others. Joseph Rudyard Kipling ought to have known, he was born in Bombay, India, where his father, John Lockwood Kipling, was a teacher at the local Jeejeebhoy School of Art. Kipling himself was essentially part of both cultures, having been born to expatriates and partly raised and working in a foreign environment before returning to the place of his birth.
The British in their colonisation process tended, or at least attempted, to adapt foreign conditions to themselves rather than adapting themselves to foreign conditions. One has only to look around their former colonies to see abundant evidence of this. The names of places or towns show clearly their origins: New York, New Jersey, New England, Nova Scotia (New Scotland that is), New South Wales, Christchurch, etc. The British always believed in making the mountain come to Mohamed and they almost always got away with it because of their military power.

So the question that might be asked is, if Westerners find it hard to make the transition to the East, why would Easterners find it any easier to make the transition to the West? Especially why in the main, they do not seem to do so, although many of them emigrate to western countries?

Perhaps the answer to this question lies more in the specific environment from which emigrants come. Immigrants from the Caribbean or West African countries seem to adapt much more easily to western cultures and concepts than do those from eastern lands, although there are some exceptions. People from India, while tending – as do most immigrants anywhere – to form, live and marry within their own communities, at least in the initial generations, very often integrate into the societies in which they find themselves. Indeed Canada has quite a number of such immigrants, or their offspring, serving as MPs in Ottawa. This is not quite so true though of many people coming from other countries in the Middle East or from places like Pakistan who happen to be followers of the Islamic faith. Islam, unlike other formal religious faiths, is an integral way of life. The Muslim (“One who submits”) can allow no separation between his life and his religion, his politics and his fait

The clash of cultures Anyone taking even the most cursory look at those who adhere to the religion of the Prophet Mohammed will soon discover many reasons to explain the obvious difficulties facing someone from an Islamic background arriving in a western, democratic country. The clash of cultures is quite stark; slavish obedience to an ancient code versus liberty and free speech. The Saudi Arabian embassy site in the USA has an Islamic Affairs Department, and one can find there statements such as: “Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world.” Not a stance likely to get you accepted gladly in your new land.

MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) from which the above quote was taken has many other quotes from the Islamic Affairs Department on its site, among them the following: “Today’s false idols, which dominate over the entire world, are Democracy, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism. Islam instead calls for a Khilafa (Caliphate) based on consultation, and a just economic system based on Zakat and a prohibition of usury.” Hardly a resounding call for free market economics and libertarianism.

In the USA, it is believed that some 80 per cent of the mosques there are under the control of the Wahabists to whom Saudia Arabia has contributed countless billions of its petroleum dollars in order to dispense that particularly authoritarian form of Islam. Indeed, Toronto’s Salaheddin Centre too is said to be funded by Saudi Arabian Wahabists dollars. Dollars which, as Turkey’s Catholic Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini said, have not been used to create work in the poor Islamic nations of North Africa or the Middle East.

In the United Arab Emirates, there is a popular religious channel called Al-Majd TV, somewhat less well known in the west than al-Jazeera. Speaking on it recently was Saudi Professor Nasser bin Suleiman al Omar who offered his listeners the following: “Islam is advancing according to a steady plan, to the point that tens of thousands of Muslims have joined the American army and Islam is the second largest religion in America. America will be destroyed. But we must be patient.”

Half a century ago, Lebanon was predominantly Christian but now it is predominantly Muslim. Ethiopia is another ancient Christian land where Muslims have come to outnumber Christians in the last 100 years. In fact, Islam is now the second largest religion, not just in the USA but in Europe and Australia as well. In Europe there are some 15 million Muslims, and in France alone they account for one tenth of the population. Even more interesting is that the French government now estimates that some 50,000 French Christians are converting to Islam each year, although there are no French imams among the 230 imams in France. If population trends continue, France could have a Muslim majority by 2040. In Brussels, the capital of Belgium and home of the EU bureaucracy, the most popular name for baby boys during the last four years was Mohammed. Here in Canada we have over half a million Muslims living here at the moment, and in Britain there is three times that number.

Anyone taking even the most cursory look at those who adhere to the religion of the Prophet Mohammed will soon discover many reasons to explain the obvious difficulties facing someone from an Islamic background arriving in a western, democratic country. The clash of cultures is quite stark; slavish obedience to an ancient code versus liberty and free speech. The Saudi Arabian embassy site in the USA has an Islamic Affairs Department, and one can find there statements such as: “Muslims are required to raise the banner of jihad in order to make the Word of Allah supreme in this world.” Not a stance likely to get you accepted gladly in your new land.

MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) from which the above quote was taken has many other quotes from the Islamic Affairs Department on its site, among them the following: “Today’s false idols, which dominate over the entire world, are Democracy, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism. Islam instead calls for a Khilafa (Caliphate) based on consultation, and a just economic system based on Zakat and a prohibition of usury.” Hardly a resounding call for free market economics and libertarianism.

In the USA, it is believed that some 80 per cent of the mosques there are under the control of the Wahabists to whom Saudia Arabia has contributed countless billions of its petroleum dollars in order to dispense that particularly authoritarian form of Islam. Indeed, Toronto’s Salaheddin Centre too is said to be funded by Saudi Arabian Wahabists dollars. Dollars which, as Turkey’s Catholic Archbishop Giuseppe Bernardini said, have not been used to create work in the poor Islamic nations of North Africa or the Middle East.

In the United Arab Emirates, there is a popular religious channel called Al-Majd TV, somewhat less well known in the west than al-Jazeera. Speaking on it recently was Saudi Professor Nasser bin Suleiman al Omar who offered his listeners the following: “Islam is advancing according to a steady plan, to the point that tens of thousands of Muslims have joined the American army and Islam is the second largest religion in America. America will be destroyed. But we must be patient.”

Half a century ago, Lebanon was predominantly Christian but now it is predominantly Muslim. Ethiopia is another ancient Christian land where Muslims have come to outnumber Christians in the last 100 years. In fact, Islam is now the second largest religion, not just in the USA but in Europe and Australia as well. In Europe there are some 15 million Muslims, and in France alone they account for one tenth of the population. Even more interesting is that the French government now estimates that some 50,000 French Christians are converting to Islam each year, although there are no French imams among the 230 imams in France. If population trends continue, France could have a Muslim majority by 2040. In Brussels, the capital of Belgium and home of the EU bureaucracy, the most popular name for baby boys during the last four years was Mohammed. Here in Canada we have over half a million Muslims living here at the moment, and in Britain there is three times that number.

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