January 19, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9728

Bahraini Journalist: Instead Of Maligning The West While Also Envying It, Middle East States Must Enact Reforms

January 19, 2022
Bahrain | Special Dispatch No. 9728

In a November 5, 2021 article on the website of the Al-Hurra channel, 'Omran Salman, a Bahraini liberal who lives in the U.S., points to the contrast between the rhetoric of political Islam, which maligns the West and accuses it of plotting against the Arabs and Muslims, and the fact that so many Muslims fleeing from their countries are eager to find shelter in the West and to settle there. In the article, titled "The Muslims and the West – Love and Hate," he writes that the West's appeal for Muslim refugees stems from its secular and democratic character, and its respect for human rights. It is thanks to these progressive values that the West accepts the burden and risk of welcoming refugees, and allows them to live in freedom according to their customs and beliefs, he says. He states further that he does not expect the Middle East countries to become secular and democratic overnight, but hopes they can resolve their political and sectarian conflicts so as to provide their citizens with a security and a dignified life, instead of blaming the West for all their troubles.

'Omran Salaman (Source:

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"Islamic and pan-Arab publications dealing with the West abound with phrases like 'the infidel West,'  'the imperialist West' and 'the immoral West.' They direct harsh criticism at the established norms and conduct of the Western societies in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia. Some go to great lengths to describe the West as a demon conspiring against the Arabs, the Muslims and Islam and seeking to steal their resources – not that I know what resources they are talking about.

"These publications and those responsible for them usually fail to answer several simple questions, such as: If the West is as you describe it, why do Muslims who flee from their lands, for whatever reasons, prefer to seek shelter in Western countries? Why do they risk their lives trying to get there by land, sea or air? Why do they not turn to the Islamic countries, or to non-Western countries like China, India or Russia? Those who are unlucky and have to stay in these [non-Western] countries wait for an opportunity, any opportunity, to continue to the West. So there must be some important factor that attracts them to the West. What is that factor?

"The Islamists and conspiracy theorists usually avoid answering this question, or present answers that Allah never validated. Another question, no less important, is [the following]: Is there any connection between the secular character of the Western countries, their democratic regimes, their respect for human rights and their progressive character and their appeal for those seeking shelter, especially Muslims? The answer is obviously yes. It is the secular character of these countries that prompts them to be tolerant towards the beliefs of the Muslim refugees. It is their humane and moral character that prompts them to provide [the refugees with] aid and with the [basic] services needed for survival, such as housing, food and the like. And because they are democratic countries, they also allow them to organize and freely express their opinions and ideas.   

"The question is why many people in the Middle East oppose implementing these values in their own countries, which could spare them and others the hardships of emigrating and becoming refugees. Another question is whether all [the migrants] understand what is happening here [in the West]. Because, when they arrive in the West as refugees, some of them harbor the delusion that they  have arrived in dar al-harb [a zone of war between the Muslims and the infidels], and that if they can, they must invade these countries and massacre their people or turn them into captives or slaves! Some of them even delude themselves that one day they will take control of these countries and turn them into Muslim lands under Islamic rule!

"Some refugees – certainly not all of them – have ideas and urges of this sort, and have ties to terror organizations like ISIS or to organizations of political Islam. The question is, to what extent are the security apparatuses, or other relevant apparatuses in these countries, able to cure them of this stupidity and ideological madness and restore their natural [mental] balance? 

"But an even bigger question is why the Western countries risk taking in refugees and assume an unbearable burden? A possible answer is that they believe in human rights and ascribe value to human [life] – something the Islamic countries and societies explicitly hold cheap, and often even worthless.

"It has been very painful to read recently about child brides in Iraq and Afghanistan. One can be driven to tears by the disrespect for human [values] when one sees destitute families [in these countries] selling their young daughters so that the rest of the family can eat. When such alarming phenomena… exist in the Islamic world, the criticism of the West and its values seems like childish, petty and useless criticism that serves only the tyrants and opinion-shapers of the Islamic lands. Instead of criticizing others, we should reform our own countries. I do not mean reforms aimed at making great achievements in various spheres – this requires time and enormous effort. I mean acting to resolve the sectarian and political conflicts and squabbles and to provide security, stability and dignified life in these countries, so that people can live there in a way that preserves their humanity."   


[1], November 5, 2021.

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