Middle East studies in the News
What About the Cultural Imbalance?
by Nonie Darwish
Similar to the often-mentioned trade imbalance, there is a large imbalance Western nations and Muslim nations that is hardly ever mentioned: the cultural imbalance.
Muslims have access to build mosques in the West, yet give no access to the West to build churches or synagogues in Muslim countries. Muslim governments finance "Islamic Studies" and "Middle East Studies" departments in almost all major American universities, but will not allow Christian Studies or Judaic Studies departments at any university in the Muslim world. They freely preach Islam everywhere and consider it their right. But not one Muslim country legally permits Christian missionary work, and those few missionaries who dare to try are harshly punished, imprisoned or killed.
As soon as Muslims form a small community inside a Western nation, they immediately deny access to any kind of Biblical preaching or education inside their community, but at the same time apparently feel entitled to demand access to preach the Koran in American prisons and spread Islamic culture and values in American schools.
Evangelical ministers have often been expelled from Arab and Islamic communities. This happened at an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan. The city of Dearborn had to apologize for arresting several Christian missionaries who were peacefully preaching to Muslims at the Dearborn Arab International Festival in 2010.
It was also reported by the Telegraph that two Christian ministers in the UK were ordered by a "community support officer" to "stop handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham." The local Muslims threatened to beat the pastors, and accused them of committing a "hate crime" against Muslims by preaching the gospel -- while Muslim preachers are preaching Islam and building mosques all over the world.
If such one-sided access of Islam into the West continues, while access to other religions in Muslim communities and countries is considered by them an illegal "hate crime," Western culture and the values of free will and religious freedom will atrophy and die. Western values will be the loser in this equation. Islamists are counting on Western inertia to win.
If Muslim governments and citizens have full access to build mosques in America, America must insist that it has the same access in Muslim countries. The fault is not with the Muslim countries so much as it is the fault of Western "multiculturalism," which expects nothing and is adhered to only by Western nations.
If Muslim countries have the right to proselytize in America, then Americans must insist on having the right to do the same in Muslim countries. If Muslims finance Islamic Studies departments on American campuses and teach Islam in our public schools, then the same rights must be awarded to Americans. It is true there are a few American schools in the Middle East, such as the American University in Cairo, but these schools are forbidden from having departments of Biblical Studies.
The Coptic Christians of Egypt have no access to any services from the Egyptian government to study the Bible. While every school in Egypt teaches Islam and the Koran, Egyptian Christians are left to play instead of being provided with equivalent religious studies.
If we do not demand equal cultural access, American Christians and Jews who live in majority Muslim neighborhoods could one day be forbidden from studying the Bible. Such a cultural imbalance will result in one side absorbing the values of the other while keeping the Islamic nation "pure" and free of any outside influence. This one-sided cultural tyranny is forcing us, the American citizen, into tolerating intolerance while never expecting anything more aligned to Western values from the Muslim world.
For many decades, America has set itself as the light of freedom to the world, an example for the world to emulate. Our politicians and media allowed the signing of agreements to lift up other nations at the expense of the American worker in the hope that the world would eventually reciprocate.
But reciprocation in kind, as planned by the do-gooders in the West, was not given. As Donald Trump said, we give them the money and the jobs and they give us the drugs and unemployment.
Trump's statement struck a nerve among the suffering and hard-working American middle class. No other American politician in recent history has said such a long-awaited comforting statement to the American people, even after 9/11.
It is also time to treat US citizens, culture and values as number one again. Culture matters, and it is time to acknowledge the importance of values, sovereign law, and Western freedoms. The multiculturalists have for too long trampled over American pride, traditional values and Judeo-Christian ethics. The damage done to American national pride and dignity has been profound.
The American and European public has been suffering in silence for too long and getting the short end of the stick from those who were elected to look after their own citizens first. It is time for Western politicians and leaders, from the left and right, to treat their citizens as number one again inside their own countries.
Nonie Darwish, a Middle East Expert born and raised in Egypt, is the author of the upcoming book: "Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values over Islamic Values."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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