Monday, September 10, 2007

Islam Scholar: Why I'am Defending Islam?


Kuala Lumpur:

Religious scholar Dr Karen Armstrong says she is defending Islam as it has been portrayed inaccurately and incorrectly in many ways, particularly in western countries.
She said when Islam, a religion professed throughout the world, is portrayed inaccurately and misrepresented, it offended her intellectually.
"When Islam is projected incorrectly, inaccurately and distorted, it also gives rise to fundamentalism among certain people.
"When an article about Islam is written inaccurately and goes down to the web and airwaves, it convinces them (Muslims) that the West is out to destroy Islam," said the England-born Armstrong, a former nun, who has written on Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism.
Several of her books have been banned in Malaysia.
She has been speaking at the International Conference on "Islam and the West: Bridging the Gap" organised by the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Malaysia. The two-day conference ended yesterday.
Armstrong, a well-known author on world religions, said owing to prejudice and hatred, millions of Jews were killed due to Germany's Nazi atrocities during the Second World War.
This dark history happened in Germany, a western country which prides itself as being very enlightened.
"But we (the western world) seem to learn nothing (from this) as after that there were concentrated camps in Yugoslavia (during the Yugoslavia civil war in which many Bosnian Muslims were killed). We seem to be heading for greater darkness," she said.
Armstrong said many Muslims in the western countries had told her that her books had enabled them to raise their western-born children in the Islamic way and make them understand the old traditions.
"This in a way also make them relate to Islam. The older generation is quite happy with me for playing the role of explaining Islam," she said.
On democracy and Muslim world, Armstrong said for many Muslims democracy has been a "bad joke" because Western countries practised double standards in preaching democracy.
"In certain Islamic countries they insist and try to impose their democracy while in certain other Islamic countries friendly to them, the West accept whatever level of democracy being practised there.
"I think they (the West) should not insist that democracy, for example, like in Iran should be exactly the same like the parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom," she added.
Meanwhile, Armstrong will speak on the subject of "Building a Universal Civilization of Peace" at the Inter-Civilization Engagement Programme in Kajang Monday.
Source: Bernama

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