Is Western Civilization Truly Civilized? -Dr. Jaafar Idris
Despite all these contradictions, this civilization is considered, by its own people and by the rest of the world (except for those upon whom Allah has bestowed His Mercy), the premiere civilization of our time. They consider it the model civilization for those who wish to attain respectable status within this era. If one decides not to follow the footsteps of this civilization, then one is an outsider in his soul and way of thinking.
One of the clearest examples of this contradiction between the pronouncements and actions of Western civilization is how their acclamation and pronouncements on freedom of individuals and nations contradict their aggressive behavior in using all means to impose their moral standards, political experiences, economic systems—and even their religious concepts—on the remaining nations on Earth.
They go a step further to accuse anyone who opposes their systems and standard—or even remains neutral to them—of violating human rights, of threatening global interests, of practicing terrorism, or of being backward, in addition to other outrageous accusations and false claims.
Ignorance towards World Cultures
The fanatics of this Western civilization are prejudiced against the cultures of other nations. They are infected with some type of cultural disease that hinders their vision. They see their own cultural values, including its false concepts, as great value system. Accordingly, they believe that those are the pre-eminent human values and standards that all nations should believe in and commit to following. They evaluate others based on Western standards. The closer a nation is to their Western standards, the more humane it is judged to be. Based on these standards, they determine who qualifies for their alliance and assistance, as well as enmity and sanctions.
Commenting on the Western ignorance of others’ cultural values, as reported by members of the American media, the Pakistani delegate to the United Nations’ session on Women’s Issues said: “The problems of women in Pakistan are those of finding clean water to drink—not issues of marrying another woman (lesbianism) or having free sexual relationships with men as they wish.”
This issue of prejudice and supremacy has greatly concerned scholarly writers and, as a result, several books have been written on this topic. Among these publications is the famous book of Edward Said entitled Culture and Imperialism. Herein I focus on the last two manifestations of this supremacy, as he sets them out. The first of these two regards the conference held by the United Nations on Women’s Issues, and the second concerns a book written by one of the leaders of the feminist movement.
At the United Nations’ conference, non-governmental organizations from Western countries were the largest in numbers and the loudest in voicing concerns. Those from non-Western countries were mostly supporters of Western organizations. Some were only an echo of these organizations, (e.g., an organization from one of the poorest African countries spoke most enthusiastically in support of ideas promoted by Western organizations).
It came as no surprise that the language of the conference in its entirety was English. Those that did not know this language were unable to participate effectively. Additionally, the main speakers were important figures from American society including the then First Lady. She spoke at the non-governmental organizational sessions. The United States Secretary of Exterior spoke at the General Assembly. Indeed most of the other speakers were mere trumpets of the West. The speakers from other non-Western countries were not of the same caliber or number as those from the West.
Loyalty Tests of Loyalty to the West
The issues that were discussed at this conference were primarily issues of concern and interest to the West. Some of these issues and concerns are related to the influence by cultures of others living in the West. Among these issues was circumcision of women, which was so exaggerated by Western participants and their puppets from other countries that it was considered one of the principles for determining loyalty and enmity.
This issue was also discussed in a book written by one of the leaders of the Feminist Movement, entitled The Whole Woman. In this book, Germaine Greer expressed her firm opposition to the issue of circumcision of women. When she traveled, and was exposed to other cultures, she realized that the Western opinion on this issue sprang forth from its attitude of supremacy and contemptuous regard of others. She gave examples of some Western practices that could be perceived as similar to this issue however the West does not condemn these “Western” practices. She mentioned the practice of circumcision of men in the West. This is not a major issue simply because it is widely practiced in the West.
The Western Blind Eye
Another example given was the practice of breast reduction and enlargement for women in the West through cosmetic surgery. The author stated: “When I mentioned this to some Sudanese women, they were so surprised, much as we were shocked to hear about circumcision for women.” The Sudanese women explained to their interviewer the various forms of circumcision, some of which are not harmful. They also stated that circumcision is not something that men force upon women, although this is what Westerners would like others to believe.
Ms. Greer also mentioned the strange practices of body piercing within the West. Weird parts of the body, such as the tongue, the bellybutton, or even the private parts are pierced and rings or other types of jewelry are then introduced into the pierced hole.
Evaluating Practices of Traditional Cultures
Let us take the favorite example of female circumcision and let us assume that all forms of circumcision for women are harmful. So then, are they more harmful than some of the following Western practices?
Is it more harmful than drinking alcohol, that every single day results in hundreds of fatalities within the West, especially during holiday periods?
Is circumcision more harmful than the “right to bear arms” [firearms, guns] resulting in innocent people, including children, being killed every day?
Is it more harmful than the indecent code of dress and its consequences such as rape?
Is it more harmful than easy access to adultery or homosexuality which results in serious diseases such as AIDS or other physical and psychological diseases or disorders?
Is it even more harmful than smoking cigarettes that every year results in killing thousands in the West?
The ironic thing is that substances like cigarettes and guns are allowed by law in Western countries but that they primarily benefit only the manufacturers of these products in shareholder profits.
The truth is that the issue of female circumcision is not more serious nor harmful than any of these issues, but as Allah said: Indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind. [Sûrat Al-?ajj, 22:46]
The material power of the West is, without a doubt, a trial that deceives people, both Western and Eastern, including some who claim that they are Muslims, blinding them from seeing its defects and evils.
A Humble Reminder
But let us not forget, the weakness of Muslims has also become a trial that hinders non-Muslim people from seeing the goodness of Islam and accepting it. Our Lord, make us not objects of torment for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You Who is exalted in Might and Wise. [Sûrat Al-Mumta?inah, 60:5).