Manifesto for a new “WE”: AN APPEAL TO THE WESTERN MUSLIMS, AND THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS
We have ample reason to be concerned. The situation of Muslims in Western societies has, for the last twenty years, been fraught with difficulty. If anything, this situation has worsened over the last five years. The “war against terror” launched after the events of September 11, 2001, along with repeated terrorist attacks throughout the world, increased tensions arising from social problems or from immigration have combined to portray Islam-and Muslims in general-as a threat to the societies of the West. Fear, and its accompanying emotional and often irrational reactions, has become a part of the public mindset. Such reactions, while often legitimate and understandable, are also being exploited with increasing frequency for political and electoral ends.
From Canada to Australia, by way of the United States and Europe, hardly a Western society has been spared its own searing questions of “identity”, its own “integration”-related tensions, and its own debate on the place of Muslims within its confines. Muslims, meanwhile, realize that the atmosphere has become more highly charged, that suspicions have deepened; they have become the subject of debates that are neither entirely transparent, nor very healthy. Muslims find themselves faced with clear-cut alternatives: they can accept their lot and adopt the attitude of the “victim”, the “discriminated minority”, who withdraws into itself and never ceases to justify itself or they can face up to their difficulties, become full-fledged subjects of their own History, and take the necessary corrective measures. It is only natural that they complain of the treatment handed them, that they criticize the racism and daily discrimination they must endure, but in the final analysis, their fate is in their hands. Nothing will change until they accept full responsibility for themselves, become constructively critical, and self critical, and respond to the creeping evolution of fear with a firmly grounded revolution of trust.