Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Interesting stuff from the Imam of al Azhar University in Cairo.

Interviewed in Le Figaro, Shaikh Tantawi says, "the so-called clash of civilisations doesn't exist," rather, it's the 'collaboration between civilisations' in which, on the contrary, the wise man believes."

He goes on to talk about America in Iraq.

"what happened in Iraq led to some good things, also some bad things. We must now hope that the Iraqi people will be able to choose the regime which will govern it in a just and pragmatic fashion. In this regard, we hope that the Americans will help them. Especially as there exist no fundamental ill feelings between East and West, between Muslims and non-Muslims."

Will the war in Iraq lead to an explosion of bin Laden-like fundamentalism?

"I don't believe so. Bin Laden has disappeared. And with him the regime of the Talebans, as well as that of Saddam Hussein." The regimes founded on injustice, on cruelty, blind fanaticism, racial hatred and the shattering of human relations, they're all predestined to disappear. Religion, on the contrary, calls out for peace, for cooperation, the exchange of goods and experiences among people, whatever be their colour or religion."

How does he feel about American calls for changes in the Middle East?

Queried on his reaction to the United States' call for a fundamental reform of the educational systems of Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries, he insists that he "welcomes any idea that the Americans are willing to present us with. All they have to do is propose them to us, and we'll see if they can be adapted to our own ideas, our customs and ours morals. The culture of the West could very well benefit the East, and the culture of the East could very well do the same for that of the West."

< email | 5/06/2003 03:12:00 PM | link

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