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Islamic Responses to Western Modernization in the Middle East - Essay Example

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Your Name Name of of Professor Islam in the Middle East and Modernity Islam is one of the oldest religions of the world and has a lot in common with two of the other major world religions, Judaism and Christianity. Despite these commonalities with these religions which are at this point of time largely Western, Islam has almost always remained in conflict with the Western world…
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Islamic Responses to Western Modernization in the Middle East
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Download file to see previous pages In present times, when modernity is largely defined according to the terms of the West, Islam has often been criticized of being regressive and unable to move on with the times. This paper shall look at two articles that came out in The New York Times and in BBC. According to Nicholas Kristof and Timur Kuran, there is an underutilization of women in the Middle Eastern Muslim Countries. They however, argue that this is a fairly recent phenomenon. They argue that it was the advent of industrialization that has resulted in a comparatively less liberated atmosphere that women have to face in Muslim countries of the Middle East. The authors talk about the different standards that are set in ascertaining the contributions of women in the different cultural frameworks. They also argue that the problems that are found with the Islamic treatment of women can be traced to a faulty assessment and interpretation of Islam. It happens according to them as a result of “Islamism”, a phenomenon that occurs as a result of the conflict between modernity and Islamic worldviews. According to them, such conflict deepens the stands that are taken by hardliners within the Islamic establishment, making them adopt more and more regressive perspectives (Kristof and Kuran). There are problems with such an approach. One of them is that it does not admit of the possibility of a debate into the tenets of Islam that actually may be oppressive for women. Apart from this, it also talks of the possibility of a utopian form of Islam that can be achieved merely through a different interpretation of it. Apart from these flaws, this approach also ignores the historical marginalization that woman of these communities have faced and the economic and social repercussions of it. The article seeks to set right the flaws in religion through religion and not through a holistic intervention. Roger Hardy’s article does not fall into the trap of offering alternatives. He talks of the flaws in the processes of modernity and the hurry that it has displayed in asserting its superiority over Islamic structures of society. Instead of incorporating changes, what the colonizers sought to do was to impose them. This, Hardy suggests is something that was counter-productive. According to him, one of the major issues that such communities have with modernity is the doubt that it introduces into the psyche of the societies that it is a part of. This problem persists in most Muslim societies of today as well (Hardy). As can be seen, there are several problems that can be identified right from the level of the perspective of the author(s). To find or to suggest any solution would not be a conclusive venture but a beginning. This is so because any possible solution needs to emerge from a dialogue in which every party which has a stake needs to be a participant. As a result, one needs to take on board the doubts that are voiced by the Islamic establishment and also organizations that work within such countries for the empowerment of women for making such a solution. A solution needs to be reached through a compromise where each party is willing to cede ground to the other. However, this does not mean that outmoded ways of living that unfairly oppress one section of mankind are allowed to stay on. The inevitability of progress has to be accepted. The oneness of the progress of humanity in a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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