Pakistan Link - May 18, 2018
Islam & Muslims in the 21st Century Launched
By Farhad Ghazali
The Pak American Arts Council of Greater Sacramento, CA hosted the formal launching of Abdus Sattar Ghazali's new book ‘Islam & Muslims in the 21st Century’.
Naeem Syed was the MC of the event which was held on April 28, 2018 at Kabab Corner, Western Sacramento.
MarwaFazal, a PhD student at the CSU, presented a comment on the book written by Prof. Arthur Kane Scott, Professor of Humanities and Cultural Studies at the Dominican University of California and Board Member of Museum of the American Indian Novato, California.
In Prof. Scott’s opinion the book is an exhaustive study that looks at Islam today and tomorrow. “Given its depth, it can become a significant resource for critical geopolitical and socio-economic analyses that takes place in think-tanks, universities, corporations, and other serious-minded organizations who are genuinely concerned with the future of the Muslim world, and its global import.”
Islam and Muslims in the 21st Century looks at the continued impact of the West, especially its hegemony, on the political and socio -economic future of the states comprising the Muslim world, Professor Scott goes on to say, adding: “I recommend Muslims& Islam unconditionally. There is so much to be learned and uncovered within its pages. It`s a literal treasure trove of insights about the global future and reach of Islam, Muslims, as they and the world move deeper into the complexity of the twenty- first century.”
After MarwaFazal, another comment by Dr Habib Siddiqui was read by ImaadGhazali, student at the CSU Hayward.
Dr Habib Siddiqui has authored 11 books. His latest book, Devotional Stories, has been published by A.S. Noordeen, Malaysia. He is an alumnus of the prestigious University of Southern California, Los Angeles, where he earned his PhD.
In his comments,Dr Habib Siddiqui said that Professor Edward Said’s book –‘Orientalism’ – was published in 1978 and nearly four decades after its first publication, the book remains a modern classic. In this wide-ranging, intellectually vigorous study, Professor Saeed traced the origins of "Orientalism" to the centuries-long period during which Europe dominated the Middle and Near East and, from its position of power, defined "the orient" simply as "other than" the occident.
The trillion-dollar question that we must ask today is: has the situation improved since 1978 or even 2003? Dr Siddiqui asked and said the answer is provided by veteran journalist AbdusSattarGhazali in his book - Islam & Muslims in the 21st Century. He shows that our world is more divided politically and ideologically today than ever before despite the fact that we are more connected virtually via electronic alternative media.
“MrGhazali shows that 39 years after the publication of Professor Said’s book - Orientalism – modern imperialism never ended. While its goal to maximize benefits remains the same, its method to achieve that goal, however, has changed. It wants division along the fault lines - territorial, tribal, ethnic or whatever – so that the Muslim world remain ever weak,” Dr Siddiqui pointed out. He observed:
“MrGhazail’s book is a treasure trove that delves into the problems and challenges faced by the Muslims of the 21st century by filling in the void left open after Professor Said’s death. I strongly recommend it.”
Dr Habib Siddiqui was published by Asian Tribune, Media Monitor Network and Milli Gazette of New Delhi.
Dr Jesse Ortiz, Yolo County Superintendent of Schools, in his brief comments said that it is a timely book which looks at the historical, social and political perspective of Muslims.
He stressed that what is going on with the Muslim community must be documented by those who know it best.
MrGhazali’s book pointed out that two days after the Trump election anti-Muslim attacks spiked, Dr Ortiz said, adding: “The book explains how negative rhetoric has continued in every state. This ignorance and lack of understanding continues toward the Muslim community.”
“Of special interest to me was how MrGhazali explains the hate taught by the military to soldiers – that Islam is enemy. America is better than this,” Dr. Ortiz said.
Meer Shams Nazir, an IT engineer, pointed out that MrGhazali’s book is about the current situation of the Muslim world, particularly after the post-colonial era. “Instead of digging into the history of the Muslim World he moves forward and talks about the present situation. He begins with the Muslim World today to focus on the current and recent developments.”
Meer was impressed with an in-depth analysis of the Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington’s concept of a clash of civilizations which is based on the notion of the Western domination of the world. Huntington predicts that future world politics will be determined by conflicts between different civilizations/cultures.
He envisaged that future competition and conflict would be based not on national perceptions and goals but on larger cultural groupings -"civilizations" - of which he identified eight civilizations: the Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African.
Huntington is hostile to the Muslims and the Chinese, suspicious of the Slav-Orthodox and indifferent to the Africans and South Americans. He is convinced that the West is all powerful and can impose its will on the rest of the world.
According to Huntington, it is not the clash of interests that leads to conflict; the simple fact is that differences between cultures engender war. Mr Ghazali quotes Jochen Hippler, author of The Next Threat: The Western Perception of Islam, to stress his point. Hippler says: “In a certain sense you could call his argument 'culturally racist'. The Muslims (or Chinese) are different from us and therefore dangerous. Unlike in classic racism, this difference is not generically but culturally based. There is such a gulf between their values and ways of thinking and ours that understanding or cross-pollination is almost unthinkable. Only military solutions can promise result.”
Ghazali also quotes Prof. Edward Said, the author of ‘Orientalism’ to highlight his critique of Clash of Civilizations. According to Prof. Said, Huntington is an intellectual serving the interests of the last superpower whose pre-eminence as a world power he is set on serving and maintaining. The real subject of his work therefore is not how to reduce the conflict of cultures, but how to turn them to American advantage, as a way of conceding to the United States the right to lead the whole world.
Khalid Saeed, National President of American Muslim Voice, was of the view that Ghazali’s principal argument is that the Muslim World is part of the under-developed Third World countries which remain a target for economic exploitation by the Western countries since the 15th century with the so-called Age of Discovery.
The author has chosen this argument to expose the plight of the Muslim world in the 21st Century, Khalid Saeed said, adding: The 20th century will be remembered in the collective Muslim memory as a period of failure and humiliation. Today, at almost end of the second decade of the 21th century, there are hardly any better prospects for around 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe.
Ghazali vehemently contradicts the Western contention that the Islamic practices can be attributed to the social and economic problems of the Muslims, Khalid Saeed said. “To rephrase the Western argument it is like this: Muslim faith or Islam is responsible for all the ills of the Muslim World. To support his argument,Ghazali has extensively quoted opinions and statistics of some unbiased Western experts.”
For centuries the Western colonialism pursued a strategy of “divide and rule” to maintain colonial occupation, today, the Western imperialism is pursuing a strategy of “wreck and ruin,” since it can no longer install puppet regimes to do its bidding, Khalid Saeed pointed out.
Ghazali is a prolific writer who has written several books which are quoted by international think tanks; his style of writing is convincing; I believe that the author is successful in proving his case, Khalid Saeed concluded.
Ms Samina Sundas, Executive Director of the American Muslim Voice, Ms Durriya Syed, Dr Irfaq Haq, and Dr Mohammad Tariq also spoke on the occasion and aired their opinion about the book.
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