Source: ArabianBusiness.com 5 September '09
A prominent scholar has lambasted the stereotyping of Islam and Arab culture by fear-mongering media, according to a report.
American Muslim scholar Mohammad Bashar Arafat also urged for prejudice-free attitudes towards Muslims and Arabs that are not based on the acts of certain Muslims, newswire WAM said.
“Islam is a faith that stresses generous and peaceful co-existence, respect, kindness and love, and its teachings instruct living peacefully and generously with others," said Arafat, founder and president of the Maryland-based Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF).
He was speaking at an iftar banquet hosted by the American Embassy in Abu Dhabi this week.
The Syrian-American scholar suggested that the media in the west, and in other parts of the world, were of little help in creating the conditions for the much-needed dialogue.
He added that the election of Barrack Obama as a president of the USA had reverberated across national boundaries and in itself stands proof to the fact that the media hype about Islam was responsible for refueling misconceptions about Islam, and for that matter, about the Middle East and America.
The fact according to Arafat is that Islam is about fostering cooperation rather than confrontation and that America was stereotyped as a dangerous place that is full of crime, WAM added.At the heart of the Arab Islamic culture and American culture, both encompasses dialogue and openness to others, the scholar added.
"I don’t believe in the clash of civilizations," he said calling for counteracting these "mistaken theses" through dialogue and and openness to others which are at the heart of the Arab Islamic culture as well as the American culture.
"In this regard, the UAE, with its huge cultural diversity and dominant tolerance, would be a perfect country to lead the efforts to build bridges and better understanding between the East and the West."