September 1, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6594

Pakistani Cleric Defends Clash Of Civilizations Theory: 'Even Now Our Intellectuals Are Not Ready To Accept The Struggle Between Muslims And The West As A War Of Culture And Civilization'

September 1, 2016
Special Dispatch No. 6594

In a recent article, leading Pakistani cleric Maulana Zahidur Rashdi noted that Islam and the West are indeed in a clash of civilizations, as argued by U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The article, titled "The Cultural and Civilizational Struggle Between Islam and the West," was published by Roznama Islam, an Urdu-language daily published from Karachi and Lahore, which is known for advocating Islamist causes and pro-jihad arguments.

Maulana Zahidur Rashdi is a leading Islamic scholar who frequently writes in newspapers and has visited several countries to preach Islam, especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bangladesh, Iran, Kenya, Iran, Uzbekistan, India, the U.K., Canada, the U.S., and others.

Following are excerpts from his article:

"[Our Intellectuals See It Not As A War Of Civilization But As] A War Of Interests ... Between The Developed And The Developing Countries, In Which Muslim Countries And Nations Are The Underdogs Due To Lack Of Progress"

"'Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has said that those Muslims who believe in shari'a should be expelled from America. Before this, U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump had too demanded a ban on the entry of Muslims into America. Newt Gingrich... has said in an interview: Western civilization is in a state of war. Shari'a is not compatible with the Western civilization, and we will gladly accept those Muslims who do not believe in shari'a. Newt Gingrich has also proposed monitoring mosques in America along with imprisoning individuals who visit websites of extremist organizations.

"The statement of the former speaker of the house is not the first such statement regarding this matter. Rather, statements of this nature have previously come from numerous American and European leaders. However, Newt Gingrich's statement is unique in that a few points have been said bluntly without being diplomatic:

"One, Western civilization faces a state of war at this time. Two, Islamic shari'a is not compatible with Western civilization. Three, the Muslims believing in shari'a laws are not acceptable to the West. Four, the progressive thinking the West speaks of means abandoning shari'a regulations and laws, and the West will not accept anything less than this.

"Even now our intellectuals are not ready to accept the struggle between Muslims and the West as a war of culture and civilization. They say that this is not a civilizational struggle, but rather a war of interests and a struggle between the developed and the developing countries, in which Muslim countries and nations are the underdogs due to lack of progress and have been left behind due to not cooperating with Western society in civilizational progress."

"Anything That Is Light For Islam Is Called Darkness In The West; And Anything That Is Called Light By The West Is Declared Darkness And Ignorance By Islam"

"However, Newt Gingrich has bluntly clarified that this is a civilizational war in which, on the one side, stands Western culture and civilization, which has enveloped most of the regions and cultures of the world due to scientific progress, military supremacy, economic domination and media control; whereas on the other side is the Islamic civilization, which is fighting a war for its survival and advancement with full force. The point is that this war is now becoming clear and it is written on the wall that in the future, of these two, only the civilization that is better able to solve problems faced by the human society will lead it. This is not only our claim, but a principle of nature and a necessity of the historical process.

"The former speaker's statement that there is no compatibility between Western civilization and shari'a also warrants special attention. It is of concern to those among our intellectuals who have been engaged over the past two centuries in efforts to transform Islam according to [the standards of] Western civilization, and seek out interpretations of Islamic principles and laws that show them to conform with Western civilization's principles and laws. These intellectuals cannot understand the simple fact that Islamic culture and civilization is based on the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah [traditions of Muhammad] and wahi [revelations]...

"Allah says... 'This Book we have revealed on you for the reason that you bring out people from the darkness towards light.' In other words, according to Islam, pursuing the revealed teachings is called light and progressive. Whereas, for the West, rejecting and abandoning the shari'a directives is progressive. In other words, anything that is light for Islam is called darkness in the West; and anything that is called light by the West is declared darkness and ignorance by Islam. Therefore, it is meaningless and useless to search for the path of compatibility and understanding between the two. This is the reason that the West is not ready under any condition to tolerate Islamic shari'a to any degree and to allow enforcement of shari'a directives and laws even in the environment of Muslim countries..."

"This situation demands that instead of wasting time condemning and rationalizing the statements of Western leaders such as Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, these statements are viewed as the reality on the ground and that a correct path is charted for leading Muslims. For a long time, I have been telling intellectual circles and educational centers of Muslims that the growing international struggle between Western civilization and Islamic civilization should be clarified at the intellectual and scholarly level... It has become essential to state in clear terms which matters are acceptable within the limits of the teachings of the Koran and the Sunnah and what flexibility exists to accept some matters.

"The West's standpoint is very clear in that it is not ready to accept the enforcement of shari'a. In response to this, it is our responsibility to point out the errors of the Western civilization based on the common collective interests of human society and revealed [Islamic] teachings, to clarify the damages caused to human society by it [the Western civilization], and to bring forth benefits and necessities of Islamic Shari'a through reason and logic..."

Source: Roznama Islam (Pakistan), August 6, 2016.

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