Dialogue with Islamic Civilization?
Dr Sohail Mahmood
A dialogue of the West and Islam is the need of the hour. The Western powers must open up dialogue with the Muslim countries based upon mutual respect, equality, and understanding. Only then can the misperceptions that have guided the West’s foreign policy be altered with more productive approaches to peace. The radical forces in the Islamic world need to be fought on the intellectual front also.
Perhaps, this “war of the minds” is more significant in the long run than the military option. The nature of radicalism is such that it cannot be defeated by force. The only viable option is to empower the moderates from within Islam who can battle their brethren through canvassing and arguments. The continued employment of sheer force will only create more bitterness and hatred than already is.
For such a dialogue to take place the circumstances are right. We can meet to discuss these issues threadbare. A lot of soul searching is required by all sides. Especially the Muslims need serious retrospection. Only an open dialogue in an atmosphere of toleration and mutual respect can change the situation and usher in peace. Along with, the Next Steps given before, a continuous and enduring dialogue is also needed. We can facilitate this dialogue.
Dr Sohail Mahmood, Islamabad, Pakistan
Posted by Sohail on Sunday, May 06, 2007.