Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Drafting an idea | Carnival of Islam in the East

Inspired by Hakim Abdullah's 'Carnival of Islam in the West' yesterday it came to me that there is a necessity also to have a focus and brain-storming about the status of Islam in East. In recent time islam has grown considerably in the west, mostly due to migration of muslims and also from the significant number of reverts or converts to Islam. There are a number of great scholars and experts on Islam who being westerners, are interpreting and researching on a very progressive manner, just as the religion deserved. This is a real positive sign.

Now given the intellectual environment, education, progressive western outlook - Islam and Muslims in general are benefitting a lot from west. There is a much greater level of tolerance and a genuine interest in the core teaching of islam. Also the open accomodating nature of western society is becoming instrumental to the harmonization. So in broader sense, there is no extremism coming out from the west. What is lacking is awareness, lack of proper education and less positive space in the media etc. But that slowly will catch up.

And importantly in order to improve the image of islam and muslims, we need to look at the state of ummah at east. We can't go on apologizing for the mess and what stupid people are doing in the name of religion. We can't just go on correcting for image of islam to the rest of the world, while muslims (!) are blowing up themselves and doing all sorts of things that are so against the spirit of the teachings of Prophet.

Look at East! Specially look at the birth places of Islam, the historical lands and the places where the initial formation of islamic thoughts took place. Middle-East, the Arab nations from where Islamic teachings, civilization and intial ideas originated are in serious crisis at our age. Extermism in all its fashion is outpouring from every direction. If we shift a bit, there is the rest of Asia such as Indian Sub-continent, South East Asia and also Central Asia with very huge population of muslims. Infact Indonesia and Bangladesh of South East Asia and South Asia, respectively, are two largest muslim country in the world in terms of population count.

But sadly enough from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, wherever you look, you will find moral degeneration, far apart are the muslims and their religion, Islam. Instead of progress and evolution towards an intellectual, modern face, its reversing into darkness. As if we are racing towards the pre-islamic barbaric age once again. From sectarian violence to culturally biased negative mindset, from suicide bombing to shia-sunni killing-spree, all are speaking how Islam has been hijacked, made rotten and really disgraced.

Thus i feel, there is a greater need for people who are from east, (may be settled down in west and thus have a good comparative view) and also those conscious people who are already living in east to share. From education, interpretation of islamic law, politics, public policy, family matters, to spiritual condition all can come into the scope of this Carnival of Islam in the East.

God willing, Carnival of Islam in the East will be an effort to move forward this critical thinking process and brain storming from bloggers all over the cyber-space. A thought process that aims at looking at the fundamental problems of Islam in the east, criticism, analysis and also coming up with solutions for different society and nations.

This is just a draft idea. i will very much appreciate ideas and suggestions from you all.
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