In the news, discussions and preaching the “West” and the “Islamic world” are often used as opposites. The West will be associated with sex, drugs and alcohol and the Islamic world with terrorism and the oppression of women.
People judge each other relentlessly, but do we really know what’s happening in that other world? Have we lived there? Have we been there? Do we actually know someone there? Unfortunately, the judgments are usually based on nothing more than the news and stories on social media.
If Donald Trump makes ridiculous statements about Muslims or Islam, he has no idea what he is talking about. The same holds for Imams who destroy Western values during lessons or sermons. In both cases, a gap is created between groups of people who have more in common than you would expect at first sight.
The last 4 years I visited 60 countries and everywhere I stayed with local families. Very often people asked me about the differences between the people in all these countries. What I have learned during my travels is that everyone on this planet has so incredible much in common. Matters concerning language, food, housing and clothing are obviously different per country. However, regardless of whether you’re staying with a Chinese, Turkish, American or Zambian family, they all have the same problems, needs and plans for the future.
The youth explores their sexuality, they dream of an excellent study or job and they would love to travel. Adults aim at achieving a stable income to be able to raise a family. Parents focus entirely on the welfare and future of their children and grandparents enjoy their grandchildren proudly every day. Regardless of origin, religion, or social status, all over the world a similar behavior is found.
It’s important that we get to know each other and discover how much everyone in the world has in common. If we only receive negative information, through the news, politicians, social media or sermons, about people we do not know and know nothing about, we’ll accept this information easily as the truth. However, if we hear negative nonsense about a person or group we do know something about, we’ll judge the information critically. In this case, we can make a considerate judgment about whether the message is correct or not.
The so called West and Muslim world are not opposites. They are portrayed as such by political and religious leaders to promote the team spirit within certain groups. Let’s get to know each other! It’s a simple, powerful and effective weapon against those who divide us. Let’s get to know each other! Not from believer to non-believer, not from European to Asian, but very simple: from human to human.
Let’s get to know each other!
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