The Guardian had an interesting view yesterday (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/03/people-in-christian-majority-countries-values-clash-islam-poll). The article starts off with a high when we see: “Large numbers of people in Christian-majority countries in the west see a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of their nation, according to a survey“. I honestly do not get that. I have started (a few months ago) to get acquainted with the Quran. I have been looking at 5G opportunities (mostly) in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, a Muslim monarchy. As such I believe that it is important to be aware of the rules and events in such a nation. Even if I am still a Christian, I feel it is important to be aware of things so that we do not cause unintentional grief or friction in any place, which means that I will have to adjust to Muslim life. Anyone who is not willing to do that is better off staying at home. The same rules apply to many other nations (Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc. etc.)
If we ‘expect’ an acceptance of ‘our’ values and culture in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and so on, should the reverse not apply as well?
In the article I particularly liked the quote: “When asked the same question about Christianity, 25% of people in Saudi Arabia and 22% of Algerians said there was a clash with the values of their country, but the proportions fell to 13% in the United Arab Emirates and 7% in Egypt“, it seems that acceptance increases in places with more international exposure, which was a nice thing to learn.
When we see he links to YouGov dot UK and we see: “YouGov was recently commissioned to conduct a multi-country study on attitudes to religion in the West and Middle East/North Africa region“, we see that Dr Joel Rogers de Waal has the goods for an interesting piece of publication in his hands. The article (at https://yougov.co.uk/topics/international/articles-reports/2019/02/03/westernmena-attitudes-religion-portray-lack-faith– ) is even more interesting when we see the issue of ‘fundamental clash’ where Christianity is a lot less ‘accepting’ than Muslims are, which is something that actually surprised me.
It also opened the issue of consideration we look at “Campaigners for religious freedom are highlighting the significance of the historic papal visit to the birthplace of Islam, and hope Francis’s message of peaceful coexistence will be heard in other countries in the region, where many Christians are denied rights or face persecution and death.” Here we see the link to an article from December 26th stating: “The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ordered an independent, global review into the persecution of Christians of all nationalities amid claims that not enough is being done to defend the rights of nearly 200 million Christians at risk of persecution today“. Consider the following: “Saudi Arabia allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers for temporary work, but does not allow them to practice their faith openly. Because of that Christians generally only worship within private homes” This is not a hidden event, this is not some made up rule, this is Islamic law, a person either abides or finds their fortune somewhere else, so Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE, Qatar and Oman) could be a haven for wealth opportunities for the atheists and of course Muslims, this is not some hidden idea that you can flunk with, this is clear established Islamic law, so when Jeremy Hunt is making some case of persecuted Christians on boxing day, I have no idea where he is coming from. Islamic law is also really present in Pakistan and many other places, so why are non-born national Christian there is the first place, to convert people? There is clear Islamic law against it, it is strict and it can result in capital punishment.
These were not blatant forms of misdirection, this is known and clearly stated laws in these nations, so at times, I have no idea where some people come from.
Can there be adjustment?
I would go with yes, if there is a simple infraction that can be clearly be seen as an error by the person and it can be proven to be unintentional, the courts might be lenient (I cannot speak for Islamic courts). Yet, the diligence of a person should be clearly shown. As such the entire Anti-Mariah Carey part is also a little bit of a mystery. We can accept that people feel that there is a “poor human rights record in Saudi Arabia“, yet from what point of view? Saudi Arabia is an Islamic law nation, it is a monarchy where Islamic law is rule and everyone (even the royal family) adheres to Islamic law. Let’s not forget that Saudi Arabia had established high end culture and architecture in an age where the people mixed faeces and clay to make the walls of their houses in the larger area of Western Europe, so most houses did have a shitty smell to it, and those people thought it was OK. So as In Arabia and Babylonia there were sewers close to 15 centuries ago, whilst only 9 centuries ago, the western civilisation used shit in the building of the walls of their houses and for the most sewers were a non-issue, there were none. How is that for generics in civilised life?
And as we see: “human rights campaigners have urged the pope to use his landmark visit to address the war in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led military coalition that has been accused of human rights violations in the country” we need to realise that these same people seem to lack the commitment to do the same against Hezbollah and Iran who are in the thick of it, is that not an interesting one sided part in all that? And it is not limited to the visit of El Papa Vaticano either. Even the UN has been accused of ignoring Iran’s role in all this, so there is a larger issue at play which is also fuelling the mistrust in the Arabian Peninsula nations. In addition to this I would tell people to start following Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on LinkedIn, Royalty and the current Vice President of the UAE, we can accept that he has people managing that account like any other big CEO or entrepreneur (like Bill Gates and Richard Branson), you will see that this man, this Vice President is actually really inspiring that alone should open the eyes of many to adjust the cultural glasses we wear now and learn more about Islam and Islamic law, for the simple reason that if a devout Muslim like Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum can be inspiring, what other revelations are we denying ourselves?
I learned early in life that closing your eyes to other views is ALWAYS debilitating. I have been around the planet twice now, I was never rich, yet I have seen so much and I never regretted my choices (well, actually perhaps 3), which is a decent achievement to have.
So when I see the entire alleged issue regarding Saudi Arabia PR offices in London mentioned in a few places, I am at a loss why they do not get 50-200 open resume considerations a day (perhaps they do, I am merely phrasing the question out there).
So when we were told last October “British firms earning millions of pounds from efforts to improve the image of the kingdom and its regional allies in recent years, a Guardian investigation has found” I am wondering why their competitors are not fighting harder to offer to do a better job.
True, I was digressing, as I was moving towards the profits there, which is not incorrect, but it was not what the article was about. We can argue that the best opportunities are for those accepting the values of others and that is what is in play for now. You see, it is not about becoming Muslim, it never was about that; yet having a decent comprehension of Muslims and Islamic Law is merely a consideration to have, an essential consideration when you accept opportunities there, it is the only way to move forward. I reckon that I will never truly get accepted to the barrel of cream as I do not speak Arabic, yet those now about to no longer be a teenager, consider getting that skill. As economic growth in the Arabian nations is close to 500% of what America could present, as the same is pushed for China, having these skills in language and culture is an essential step in anyone’s future, even if you decide to not go there. When a place like Salini Impregilo is merely one of several companies growing multi-billion dollar contracts in that region, one after the other, when you are not a University engineer, do you think that they will offer contract work to any talented person, or to the talented person with at least a minimum knowledge of Arabian language and culture? When the option for a good future is understanding, as well as acceptance of others is the stepping stone to a bright future, why not consider that step?
So when you are confronted with: “In Germany, 53% of respondents were unfavourable towards Islam, compared with 10% to 22% who were unfavourable to other religions. In the US and Britain, smaller proportions (37% and 32%) were unfavourable towards Islam, with a similar range viewing other religions negatively“, are we accepting that 53% has ‘conservative’ values, or are we realising that 53% is throwing away a culturally driven well served lifestyle? In the end money is always important (that pesky thing called rent comes around), yet what is your spiritual life missing out on by not knowing more about a cultural way of life that could be inspiring in several ways. When we merely a day ago:
“نرحب بزيارة البابا فرانسيس لدولة الامارات .. زيارة تاريخية هدفها تعميق قيم التسامح والتفاهم والحوار الديني … تجمعنا الإخوة الانسانية .. وتجمعنا الوصايا السماوية المشتركة .. وتجمعنا نوايانا من أجل مستقبل أفضل البشرية .. أهلا وسهلا بك في عام التسامح على أرض الإمارات”
Which is translates by Google as: “We welcome the visit of Pope Francis to the UAE. A historic visit aimed at deepening the values of tolerance, understanding and religious dialogue… We are gathered by human brotherhood. We bring together the common Heavenly commandments. Our intentions are gathered for the future of the better mankind. Welcome to the year of tolerance on the land of the Emirates”
So at that point, do you think there is any place left for the like of: ‘the anti-Islam party of Geert Wilders‘ (to coin but one example)? There will always be opposition to any view, both Christian and Muslim, yet opposition is not ‘anti’, the moment we learn that lesson too late is the day we realise that we wasted the life we had before that realisation. It is actually that simple most of the time. As such it is my personal view that the article by Harriet Sherwood in Abu Dhabi is a lot more important than most of us realise, to learn that simple part is an initial first step for many, be not afraid to take a step outside of your comfort zone, you might learn more than you bargained for, from others and also about yourself.