The most embarassing things in life are inter-religious hatred among religious followers. And it’s even more embarassing to see that this phenomenon prevail among the so-called ‘the three most-sacred and most-influential’ religion: Islam, Christian and Jews. I dont know, and it’s not important as well, who hate whom first. The damaged has been done, is still developing and deteriorating by the day.
It’s not the right place for me to analyse it from politico-historical point of view here in this page, although if you are curious enough to know you can click through the links –at the end of this posting– to my previous op-ed pieces (in Bahasa Indonesia) scattered in several Indonesian newspapers regarding this issue.< Everyone, every religious followers should go back towards the basic purpose on why he/she sticks to and choose certain religion during his/her lifetime: as life guidance. To guide your mental stability whenever you are in desperate situation; to look for solace in time of agony; to strengthen your mind at the time when your heart cannot be strengthen by a glass of beer, etc. In other words, the sole aim of religion and the purpose of being religious are to have inner peace. Therefore, hatred that breeds many other evils such as stereotyping, paranoia to certain religious followers or even to certain color of skins associated with certain religious followers, etc are in total contradiction with the basic purpose of being religious. But history tells us, over and over again, that human always makes error and will repeat it in many ways. Even more ironical to see that such grave mistakes is often started by the so-called educated and civilized person, nation, states, religous dignitaries, and intellectuals. Time to go back to basic. Utilize and exploit your religion for everlasting peace of your heart. If every single heart of every individual is in peace, there'll be no space for hatred to prevail. Denmark Cartoon Controversy
Inter-religious relation is just like inter-personal friendship. You gotta maintain a take-and-give balancing act in order to make sustainable friendship. In personal friendship, either side should try to maintain give-more-and-take-less principle, not the other way round. The more you implement this principle, the more friends you’ll have.
Take-and-give principle certainly not only limited to material things. The significance thing in this concept is it symbolizes the spirit of making your friend happy first, and he/she’ll make you happy too sooner or later. In other words, never try or make him/her unhappy intentionally or unintentionally. Once it happens, the breaking up is underway, especially if you offend him/her in a big way, on a sensitive matter to him/her.
I think all readers must’ve known and read the Dale Cornegie’s How to Win Friend and Influence People which is a very good manual book for dummy-friend winner.
It should be made clear here, that inter-personal and inter-religious relations are very much different with that of people-government relation. Both the former are very personal while the latter is stock-holder-and-manager kind of partnership. In case of the former, (a) you are obliged to follow certain social unwritten rule or otherwise you’ll get alienated; (b) you’re encouraged to be diplomatic i.e. appreciate the plus value of your friends and keep quiet on the minus one. On the latter, you are free and even encouraged to criticise the government because it’s your right to do so and because they’re doing things on your behalf. Hence the term of freedom of expression emerges as one package in democratic culture and values.
Denmark Prophet Cartoon Controversy
Inter-religious relation between Muslims in the East and Christians represented by the West again is undergoing a rough patch nowadays sparked by the Danish cartoon controversy in which the cartoonist depicts Prophet Muhammad in a very bad images which sparks a furore in the Muslim world which so far effect multi-dimension liabilities to the Danish and Denmark in particular and could be to Europe as far as trade relation go.
I’m glad, however, that American media behave more emphatically and responsibly by not showing the image. The Whasington Post editor said yesterday that his paper would’nt show the image, so is CNN and others.
Offending certain religion and its sensitivities certainly will bring no good to either side and it’s very much nothing to do with freedom of expression as mentioned above.
Last but not the least, I’m glad to tell you that it’s unknown for any Muslim in its 1500-year history to depict, insult and offend any other religious revered figures. Muslim believes that Jesus and Moses are the Chosen ones and deserve the highest regards from ordinary and sinful human like us.***
The Clash of Fundamentalism
Whether you are geographically or ideologically in the East or in the West, you’ll be tempted or at least hard to resist the temptation to conclude and believe that the current brouhaha between the East (Islam) and the West (Christianity) as a result of Denmark cartoon controversy as a strong sign of Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilization thesis. If you think and believe so, you are wrong.
The truth is it’s the clash of fundamentalism: the the no less dogma-bound secular fundamentalism in the West and the religious fundamentalism in the East.
First, religious fundamentalism and the often violent censorship it seeks to impose, is certainly not limited to Islam. In Britain, Sikh agitators disrupted the staging of a play (written by a Sikh) which depicted a rape scene in a Gurdwara.
Hindu activists have risen up in arms over M F Husain’s–Indian most famous artist– portrayal of a nude Saraswati and American merchandise which has featured Rama and Krishna. The head of the Russian church has denounced ISKCON as a ‘demonic cult’.
But post-9/11, Islamic fundamentalism has increasingly, and tendentiously, been singled out by western ideologues, as the main threat to free societies the world over.
Secular fundamentalism is the opposite, if not the equal, reaction to religious fundamentalism and has perhaps been most noticeable in France, where the state has banned the use of ostentatiously religious apparel or insignia in the public sphere, such as government-run schools.
France is supposedly a free society which champions freedom of expression. But by proscribing the hijab, for instance, is it not denying the individual’s right to freedom of religious and cultural expression, which could also be manifested by the wearing of a turban, or a bindi on the forehead, or the skull cap and ringlets of Hasidism?
So what’s the answer to this conflict of fundamentalisms, neither of which fulfils the criteria of inclusiveness that any civilisation worth the name must aspire to?
I still have decent hope, that good moderate individuals, intellectuals and honest politicians around the world would speak out-loud against any kind of fundamentalism which seems to be growing in numbers.
Moderate to me stands for neutrality and unbiased opinion on any good and bad things done by anyone beyond the boundaries of any religion, culture, nationalities and ethnicities. For example, if you are an Indonesian and a Muslim you gotta have capability to see the bad things done by your Indonesian and Muslim compatriots and the good things in others. Similarly, if you are a Westerners, you can proudly call yourself as moderate and liberal if you can see with your naked eyes the wrong-doings of your other Westerners, and the positive values of other cultures. In other words, moderation in attitude should begin from looking at own-self, doing reflection, soul-searching and start inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue from there. Without all these, all we can do is blaming each other all the time without even bother to listen the other side perspective, not to say the other plus values.***