Thinkers in the world feel that there is ‘Clash of Civilizations’ between the West and the Muslim world. (Huntington, 1993) This conception was heavily intensified after the aggressive actions by the Bush administration post 9/11.In a quote from Huntington we can see how this clash is one that will be ongoing.
“The people of different civilizations have different views on the relations between God and man, the individual and the group, the citizen and the state, parents and children, husband and wife, as well as differing views of the relative importance of rights and responsibilities, liberty and authority, equality and hierarchy. These differences are the product of centuries. They will not soon disappear.”(Huntington, 1993)
Recently in a example of a ‘clash of the civilizations’ the French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared in a speech that the veil (Islamic burqa) will not be welcome in the territory of the French republic. To support his declaration, he said “the burqa is not a sign of religion; it is a sign of subservience”. He called it a violation of women’s “dignity and freedom”.
The statement of Sarkozy can’t be rendered legitimate because his anti-burqa order seems to be directly interfering in Islamic affairs. If any Muslim woman wants to wear a burqa of her own free will,no one has a right to stop her, forget Sarkozy. Only modern education can free a man or a woman from radical thinking.
The hypocritical attempt of Sarkozy to free women from subservience is just another form of oppression and also a violation of a Muslim women’s dignity and freedom.
Another type of anti-Burqa order has come from FEMEN, an international women’s movement of topless female activists. Femen’s ideology is: Atheist, Feminist and Sextremism.
Images and sentiments of FEMEN’s anti-Islamic protest met with a fierce backlash from Muslim women using social media,who choose to wear Burqa or Hijab. Photos below are a pictorial representation of what this clash incited in both camps.
It is true as Lila Abu-Lughod (Abu-Lughod, 2006) writes that the Burqa and all various representations in images throughout history has made it hard to think about the Muslim world without thinking about the veiled women of Islam. These representations are ubiquitous and create a huge divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. This type of divide lends itself to misconceptions and a lack of appreciation of a variety of women’s lives across Muslim or Middle Eastern worlds. Lila’s view that we should be MORE aware of individuals different paths in this world is mirrored in Huntingtons words.
“For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others.”(Huntington, 1993)
BR1 an Italian born Artist and Lawyer, whose street art seen above named “protect your soul”, addresses situations that concern co-existence within civilizations. Perhaps this type of understanding and dialogue goes a lot further than groups repressing each others beliefs on a world stage.
Abu-Lughod, L. (2006). The Muslim Women: The power of images and the danger of pity. Eurozine, 1-10.
Mahmood, S. (2009). Religious Reason and Secular Affect: An Incommensurable Divide? Chicago Journals, 836-862.