Re: Belief & Behavior

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Fri Sep 28 2001 - 10:44:58 BST

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    Subject: Re: Belief & Behavior
    Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2001 11:44:58 +0200
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Lawrence DeBivort <>
    > Kenneth, many thanks for the following idea from you:
    > > We need in a sense, someone to opposite Bin Laden, someone who is
    > > willing to let undergo Islam a normal evolution, but and I agree, this
    > > be seen again as a Western point of view, but within the Islamic world
    > > more and more voices are heard to change.
    > > Maybe we can help in someway, there we are again.....
    > This brings a sharp focus to what is needed. Even within Islam, the
    > is great between trying to recreate the 'perfect' society of Muhammad's
    > time, and the need to evolve along with the rest of the world. Bin Laden
    > be a bit more politically oriented than you might be suggesting here, and
    > not as much of a true religious 'fundamentalist' as people believe.
    > I am greatly interested in your further thoughts on how such help might be
    > framed and implemented...

    Hi Lawrence,

    The differences between Islam and the West are mostly about freedom of
    speech, humanrights, freedom of religion and political rights. All,
    fundamental for our civilation.
    Help must be framed within those parameters. What means that we, the
    West must for example help president Khatami of Iran in his efforts to
    modernise his country. But this help may not escalate into an enforcement
    of our views about tolerance, multiculturalism and freedom.
    We must give only advice how to proceed in such matters.

    Like now, Berlusconi made a huge cock- up saying that the West is
    superior to Islam. Protests were due throughout the Islamitic world.
    On the one hand, they were right, but on the other hand Islam had to
    understand that freedom of speech exists here.
    Islam and others had to understand that what we say is not due to ra-
    cistic motives and humiliation ( although with Berlusconi you don 't know).
    We are allowed to say anything, anywhere and about everybody.

    That is the difference_ Islam and others are still falling back upon their
    religious tradition which in a way condemns everybody and everything
    attacking it in anyway. There is no room for argument and secondly they
    lack the memetical understanding how to negotiate. That is what we must
    bring to them:- the structural concepts by which Khatami and others
    were able to negotiate changes within their country without any enforce-
    ment of our part and without ANY form of patronizing.
    And that will firstly very difficult not to do and secondly we, than the
    must understand that this will be casted in a Islamitic mould.
    It will be a process of a very long date.

    A citizin of Jeddah expresses it in this way, " Berlusconi has the right to
    say what he wants. I don 't exept that non- moslims like us very mush.
    I don 't think we have the right to say that others must like us ."
    And that is the spirit which must endeavour itself throughout the Islamitic
    world. We have to meet eachother half- way.

    How? For example, you know I work with immigrants, one of them wanted
    to perform his religous duties. I said that it was no problem for me but
    it would opset others. So we made a deal, he may performe 5/6 a day his
    moslim duties ( that is all together 1 hour a day) but he didn 't get paid.
    He agreed.
    You see, Islam and the West meet here half- way and we have to install
    this on a mush geater scale.
    That is of course due to political commitment

    The near future will tell what will happen, but as you look to what is hap-
    pening already in Pakistan, you see that is will be not easy to convince
    Islam. In a way we must now help Pakistan in order to get control over
    its home affairs without ANY enforcement of our views.
    We need to help the government to overcome the Islamitic uprise with-
    out getting ANY interest out of the situation.

    I already said this on this list, I work with what I call " a workable in-
    difference " towards such situations. I let the people do what they have
    to do ( religious, socially, political, etc) but in return I want something
    back. That is what is called a consensus, I don 't like it, but I need it.

    We have to stop thinking that it is the West and the Rest ( Samuel
    Huntington 1996) and vice versa that the killing of a Marokkian drug-
    dealer, with a loaded gun in his hand in a stolen car in the streets of
    Brussels is a racistic attack on the Arabic community in Belgium.
    Our values are the constitutional state, protection and security of and
    for the citizin, equality amongst people, equality of man and woman.
    If you want to blend in, you have to make those yours.
    But, we the West must before all understand that this is not easy for
    people who were used to torture, abuse, murder, repression, inequality
    and discrimination. Those people has to understand that we with our
    values mean it right.....that we are willing to let them blend in, but
    destroying our own principles....

    Best regards,


    ( I am, because we are) of all religions

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