Skip to main content.

Back to: >> Patriotism

Patriotism flavors vary. What they share is allegiance to an organized entity. In Western and European minds patriotism is allegiance, love, and zealous loyalty to one's country. In much of Asia patriotism is allegiance, love, and zealous loyalty to one's family. In most of the Middle East, it is allegiance to, love for, and zealous loyalty to Islam.

"My country:
When right to be kept right;
when wrong to be put right."
Anon (From The West)

"We will look long and far before we find
a good writer who is also a blind patriot."
Norman Mailer

"True patriotism hates injustice in its
own land more than anywhere else."
Clarence Darrow

"Patriotism is supporting your country
all the time and your government
when it deserves it."
Mark Twain

The concept of a secular nation-state is a European introduction. Europeans own their allegiance to the nation they live in. Historically, Islam has been regarded as the ultimate law for all matters in most of the Middle East; the concept of a nation-state is not needed. A Muslim description of allegiance levels in Medina would be Islam (Allah) first, Arabs second, and Saudis third. Every day the news media report events that tell us that this is so. That Islam as a whole did not rally to bin Laden says a lot for the wisdom and restraint of modern Islam.

But in Palestine, patriotism is another matter. All of Islam has rallied to the Palestinian cause. This is not to say there are no differences among the Muslim countries, there are. But they mostly agree on submission to Allah in all things, including governance. If separation of Church and State is a pathway to peace, it may never happen in the Middle East without the equivalent of the Reformation.

The war in Iraq provides a further rallying point for Islam and its various declarations of jihad.

The term patriotism as we know it simply does not apply in the Middle East. Suicide bombers see themselves as in the vanguard of Allah's Patriots. By closest analogy, we see ourselves as defenders of our freedom provided by our national heritage. Patriotism as we know it, surely exists in the Middle East, but "Islamic-liberals" who harbor such attitudes appear to be in the vast minority.

If we ignore this fundamental difference in patriotic motivation, we do so at our own risk.


No comments yet

To be able to post comments, please register on the site.