ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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By Riad Awwad


          Synthetically speaking, terrorist mentality can be considered as a characteristic name given to the period following de events on September 11th. It’s not a new phenomenon in history, as it exists for a long time now, but lacking space for manifesting itself in the free democratic societies of the modern world, short of moral benches and social premises. We find though an unprecedented development of this mentality in a series of Islamic societies, formed under the burden of some corrupted Islamic dictatorial regimes.
          The conflict between the terrorist organization Al-Qaida and the rest of the world is the most vivid expression of what we call terrorist mentality. It’s not about, as we sometimes may consider, a conflict between civilizations, a fight involving this organization and the human civilization in its whole, just as we do not find ourselves in front of a “clash” between the Islamic world and civilization, Muslims themselves being victims of Al-Qaida and Bin Laden`s mentality. The growing threats upon intellectuals,  cultural inclined people and all the others who  have the courage of not sharing the way in which the terrorist thinking interprets Islam represents a serious threat for the democratic world, which thinks that the church and the state exist to serve society  and not that society was created to serve the state and the church. The sole thing that, in these democratic and free societies, can not be contested is the right to criticize and have a different opinion. In Islamic societies though, the individual finds himself constrained totally to obeying the power and religion, self-proclaimed as absolute instruments of Divinity.
          In our opinion, today’s Islam needs a “surgical intervention” through which religion should be separated from the “worldly things” because, like Abraham Lincoln said, those who deny the right of others to freedom do not deserve themselves to be free. Healthy education is one of the fundaments of the human being and a social instrument through which communication and harmony amongst people is achieved and, mainly because of this, when education and culture are infested by radical perceptions, it produces lack of major discrepancies on the level of the entire social structure. An individual carrier of such viruses will only understand culture as Jihad, violence and hatred, with all the negative impact they bring on civilization and communication with other societies. In this frame, we can state that Muslims live exclusively focusing on their own universe, incapable of dialogue not only with other human communities, but also with the “insides” of the community of which they are part of and in which they are grouped in sectarian confessions, hostile one to another and in permanent challenge.
          We posed a series of questions which we find suited to reproduce:
1.     Why the Arabs and the Muslims left the trajectory of progress, followed by others with no interruption ?
2.     What is the defining structure of these people, what makes them different or alike, from and with others ?
3.     What is their religious and cultural background and to what extent has it contributed to their progress or downfall ?
4.     Is the concept of “pure salafism” the factor which gives them glory and power ?
5.     Which alternative is to prefer: turning to account the inherited values or the systematic brake from them ?
6.     Do the Arabs and Muslims cross a cultural crisis, or are we looking at an ideological and social crisis of communities governed by totalitarian regimes ?
7.     Is the oriental Islamic world capable of conciliation with the democratic world on the level of values and mechanisms, or it remains a culture as itself and for itself , grim in the dialogue with those who do not share its beliefs ?
8.     Why is the main feature of the Islamic inheritance a partisan one, warlike, one of violence ? (“the sword is a better advisor than the book”)
9.     Does Jihad represent a national and religious orientation, or a political one (Hezbolah, AlQaida, Hamas) ?
10.  How can the modern Arabs from Europe disseminate their ideas ? Why haven’t the secularized Muslims managed to make their voices heard , remaining dependent to the despotism of Al Kawakibi, who’s book “Totalitarism” is still popular, just like Machiavelli’s “The Principe” ?
           We look to answering all of these questions in the following numbers of our publication.
          We shall concentrate, briefly, on the matter of human rights in the Arab – Muslim world. We will observe that man’s natural right comes from his duty to serve God and circumscribes to the strict order of  Islamic canonic right(shari`a) which organizes and dominates his life and can not be submitted to critics or interpretations. In Islam, human rights are duties imposed by dogma, which have to be protected and carried to duty by the state, the community and the individual. When the majority of Islamic states are ruled by dictatorial regimes, notions like democracy and human rights becomes instruments of propaganda and sterile slogans. Democracy is absent even on the social level of the family. The man is the absolute master, and the woman has the status of absolute slave, while the children, exposed to this drama, can easily become victims of terrorist ideologies.
          On the level of the state, Islamic governors consider their countries as personal tribes, inherited from their fathers, and of which they dispose freely. They are the only ones who can decides the rights and duties and who decide the future of the tribe and society. This is the environment where the terrorist mentality germinates and grows.
          We consider that in the Muslim countries governed by the principles of  Islamic dogma, human rights are broken in several domains:
          Religious freedom: Islam imposes to one who is born in this religion or embraces it, the impossibility of ever switching from it, leaving it; lacking to do so is punished by death;
          Women’s rights, which is set at a lower level than the man by Islamic precepts: she can only marry with the approval of her tutor or father; once married her husband becomes her absolute master, and marriage can only be broken by the husband by divorce; the husband has the undisputed right to be polygam. All of these facts and many others explain why a series of states refused to sign some international agreements on women’s rights.
          Rights of sexual minorities: total infringement of Islamic law, a possible marriage between two man or women is punished with death.
          Jihad as an obligation of fighting against the non Muslims, Today, a strong fundamentalist current is developing in the majority of Islamic states, gaining basically the dimensions of a fixation, an obsession. European states are promoters of respect for peace, the opinion of “the other” and truth, while not few of the Islamistwhich they host just fake the European values and make a mask for themselves out of them, to little preoccupied by the respect for the countries and societies that accept them and host them, giving them social and financial security. Events that took place in Madrid and London speak for themselves.
          Uncensored campaigns launched by Islamist environments after the publishing of so called caricatures of the prophet in the media are nothing more than an impulsive manifestation of this extreme mentality which we were discussing.
          We dare to believe that an obscure force wishes to attract Islam in an open conflict with the western civilization and we believe that Islamic regimes have the duty of approaching the relationships with the western world more cautiously. Movements and currents in the Islamic world have the duty of recognizing electoral democracy on their territories and moreover, to impose it, in the conditions that the ballot boxes are a complete blasphemy for the radical Islamists; and the sustainers of the idea are spreading like mushrooms in the Muslim world.
          Unfortunately, when an Islamic state engages in electoral competition, the role of the CEB is taken by the mosque, like it happened in Algeria or in the free Palestinian territories. A disappointing alternative, because the victory of Islamic factions in ballot boxes has nothing to do with democracy or free will, or peace. An “Islamic” democracy where the women’s right, in the name of democracy, is forbidden in the parliament, in the government , in diplomatic missions, in which the society is split in men and women, Muslims and non Muslims, in first hand and second hand men.

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