Why Muslims Hate The West

The people of the Islamic faith appear to have a strong dislike or a hatred for the democracies of what is referred to as the Western societies or the West.  Citizens of the Western democracies have difficulty attempting to understand the reasons for the hatred directed against the West.  Muslims don't explicitly state the reasons for this dislike and the points they do make are difficult to comprehend by the average citizen of the West.  The support given to Israel is the point best known by those in the West.

The core of the Islamic dislike of the West is based on our history, the Christian principles incorporated into our societies, democracy, the social progress gained through the Age of Enlightenment and Islamism..  This is not a simple issue which can be bulletized, reduced to a bullet of information which typically consists of 25 words or less.  A review of the history of the West and Christianity is helpful in highlighting the factors behind the Islamic dislike of Western society.

The Hebrew faith was the first to have ideals which would form the core of Western society.  The Jewish God was the God who liberates, his great deeds flowed from a will to give freedom to his people.  The Jews were the first to make freedom the key to their destiny.  Their God was free and had nothing in common with other Gods or religions in the time before Christianity.

The ancient Greeks started the development of what become Western logical thought and a system of morality or ethics.  The Greeks, and then the Romans, nurtured the development of democracy with the granting of rights to citizens and allowing the citizens some participation in governance.

Many would say the rise of Christianity was the start of Western thought.  Christianity taught that God had created the world specifically for human beings to subdue and exploit.  God was above nature, not within it, so for Christians there was no spirited obstacle to exploiting nature as there was for other cultures.  After the fall of the Roman Empire Christianity lapsed into a backward medieval mode which was corrected by the Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment.

In the middle ages the church had become fixated on the maintenance of power and lashed out at anyone questioning its power or authority.  The Reformation was a major step in the evolution of Christianity and Western societies.  It initiated the decline of the power and authority of the church and the clergy.  The Reformation put religion back into its proper place within society and set the stage for the Age of Enlightenment.

Luther denied any special ordination of the clergy to power or authority in the church and indirectly society.  The Bible alone, not the church hierarchy, was to become the highest authority for Christians.  The literal text of Scripture alone was the foundation of Christian truth, not the teachings of popes or councils.  All Believers were priests, and the clergy did not hold any power beyond that of the laity - therefore special privileges of the clergy were unjustified.  The individual's conscience became more important than clerical authority.  The concept of rational and free society in which individuals could realize their potential slowly emerged.

Nature is a mathematical system that operates without miracles or any form of divine intervention.  To comprehend nature and society the mind needs no divine assistance.  After the Age of Enlightenment the mind accepted no authority above reason.  The modern mentality finds it unacceptable to reject the conclusions of science on the basis of clerical authority and revelation, or to base politics, law, or economics on religion.  It refuses to accept dogma uncritically and insists on scientific proof.  Spiritual meaning is not sought in an examination of the material world.

The thinkers of the Enlightenment wanted to liberate humanity from superstition, ignorance, and traditions that could not pass the test of reason.  Reason makes it possible for the individual to master impulse, to choose the ways in which he will exercise his freedom.  The individual's whole life can be, and even is, the subtle, infinitely delicate interplay of reason and freedom.  The individual is free to develop into a good and productive human being and citizen without coercion by government and clerical authority.

Western society tolerates opposing and unpopular viewpoints as this is a necessary trait to allow people to become rational, moral and civilized.  The West respects the great dignity of the individual, his autonomy, his power to decide for himself and his capacity for choice.  Democracy's lifeblood is secularism and religious tolerance, coupled with free speech and economic liberty.  The West originated values and goals that spread throughout the world and inspired man to demand his freedom, to take his stand in the face of society and affirm his values as an individual.  The West invented the concept of the rights of man.  The West turned the whole human project into a conscious, deliberate business, it set the goal and called it freedom, or at a later date, individual freedom with communication as the highest expression of freedom.

The modern state has a secular character, promotion of religion is not the state's concern and the church or clergy do not determine state policy.  Democracy's lifeblood is secularism and religious tolerance, coupled with free speech and economic liberty.  The modern West stressed equality of opportunity and equal treatment under laws common to all citizens.  It rejects the idea that society should be guided by clergymen who possess a special wisdom.

Christianity drives the values and culture of the West and must be included in any assessment of why Muslims hate the West.  Muslims hate the West as Western ideology and values run counter to their beliefs.  Everything Muslims hold sacred the West doesn't respect.  The Islamic faith in its current state can't help but hate the West and argue or fight for its downfall.

Islam is a faith which was born married to the state.  Islam is self-contained in that the faith provides the morality, a system of thought, a system of law, rules for trade and rules for personal behaviour.  In its fundamental form Islam believes it must control the state as government power is required to enforce and defend Islam.  A primary fear being, rightly or wrongly, without state support Islam will wither as Islam has nothing to offer a modern citizen of a modern state.

Islamism is a process of employing Islam for the purposes of state power and is more of a political movement than a religious movement.  Islamism takes different forms in different states and no one form of Islamism is any more purely Islamic than any other form.  Islamism is primarily used by the state for social and political control. 

Islam seeks to elevate the clergy above the citizen where in the West all citizens are equal, including women, and the clergy lacks any natural overpowering authority.  In the West we rely on the rule of law and individual conscience rather than a clergy imposing rules.  Islam attempts to micro-manage its followers with an almost endless list of rules.  Rules covering almost every facet of life, when to wash, when to pray, what hand to use for different tasks, rules governing trade and personal appearance.  In the West the citizen is given much more flexibility in their behaviour and dress on top of spiritual freedom.  In the West we are free to interpret scripture where in an Islamic society only the clergy is permitted any freedom to interpret scripture.

In the West if a man is to be considered superior and pious they must face temptation and resist the urge to sin using the strength and conviction they find within themselves.  The Islamic tradition of covering up the women to protect men from temptation and immoral urges is completely contrary to Western thought.  To the West Islam is stating their men are so weak they must be protected from temptation.  To Muslims the sexuality displayed in Western societies only confirms their suspicion the West is evil.

The West and Islam have major differences in the perception of the concepts of fate and destiny.  Christianity did away with the concepts of fate and destiny and places the control of an individual's life within the individual while Islam believes its followers have a fate and their destiny is determined by their God.  In the West it is believed individuals are able to develop into good and productive human beings and citizens if not coerced by government and the church while Muslims believe the individual must follow the rules set out by Islam and the interpretation of the clergy.  In the West the individual's whole life can be, even is, the subtle, infinitely delicate interplay of reason and freedom while in Islam it is controlled by God.

There is a fundamental conflict between democracy and traditional Islam.  Democracy is predicated upon the idea that every individual can, should and must have the freedom to make individual choices about his or her life.  This includes the freedom to differ and to be a dissenting voice.  In Islam this freedom has traditionally been sacrificed for the sake of achieving unity and solidarity.  In an Islamic society freedom and independence are given strict boundaries and limits, if not removed entirely, to prevent the unity of the community of believers from being undermined.  Islam demands the individual sacrifice his individuality, renounce freedom of thought and subordinate oneself to the group for a greater good.

Muslims believe Islam is the one true and eternal religion while other faiths typically only contain a part of God's true message.  Other faiths, even if they contain most of God's message, inevitably distort the message.  A Muslim believes so confidently in the perfection of Islam that he cannot comprehend why followers of other faiths continue to follow their outmoded and imperfect versions of the truth.  Muslims view the Qur'an as faultless while in the Christian faith only the right-wing fundamentalists accept the Bible as being historically correct with most Christians not accepting any literal interpretation of Biblical stories.

Islam, especially in its fundamentalist form, tolerates no criticism of the clergy or the faith.  Say something bad and they issue a death warrant, no opportunity to appeal, it is a done deal.  Islam considers itself above other religions and in its more fundamental forms has a strong aversion to change, to out of faith ideology, scientific advancement and social progress.  Western societies assimilate thought and knowledge from any and all sources.  In the West we are free to change our religion, have no religion, evangelize the Church of The Almighty Dollar to others, while in Islamic countries one is not allowed to preach other gospel to Muslims or in any way attempt to convert them to another faith.

The West is quickly widening the gap of economic and political power between Islamic and Western societies.  Islamic governments regard the West's strength as deriving in large part from its democratic institutions.  They refuse to implement these institutions in their societies, regardless of the cost, as it would significantly change the ruling regimes.  To maintain themselves in power many regimes play a dangerous game by inflaming people's fear of the West.  This is accomplished by associating democratic institutions and ideas with the imperialistic and crusading history of the Christian West.  Democratic and liberal freedoms are thus characterized as being decadent, godless and Un-Islamic.  This creates an environment where religious right-wing movements can easily gain the support of the masses.

The West is an expression of a liberal enlightened view of human existence which invented the rights of man and continues to promote these values.  The people of the West do not hate the Muslims as the more fundamentalist Muslims hate the West.  The West generally rejects Islam as a retrograde medieval religion which reverses centuries of religious reform and social progress.  To the West Islam is like Christianity before the Reformation and Islamic society as one which has not yet experienced an Age of Enlightenment.  Muslims are offended by this perception which makes them hate the West even more.  The more successful the West the greater the hate.  As long as the West refuses to admit Islamic society is superior to the West Muslims will hate the West.

Why The Veil?

Revised December 1, 2004