Religious conflict in the Middle East and northern Africa is a testament to the complexity of cultural relativism.
Islamism is the belief that the religion of Islam must be the guiding force for the social, political and personal lives of humanity. It’s unsurprisingly rampant in this region. Mere opinions of secularists are no match for the true, unquestionable word of God manifested in the Quran. To the Islamist, it seems unreasonable not to adopt and enforce an Islamic government.
Be that as it may, there are few aspects of this type of society that are redeeming. Women are horribly suppressed, the cruelest of punishments are inflicted for crimes and disagreements of opinion are perfect justifications for violence. The Islamist states have become breeding grounds for religious tyranny and terrorism.
Western culture, which undermines the core values of not only Islam but also Islamism, is a pervasive threat to Islamist states. It has a tendency to permeate, even unintentionally. Western culture is not without its own flaws. Regardless, the values of the Middle East and the West are at odds, and the Middle East has proved reactionary in more ways than one.
More conservative Muslims have struggled politically and violently against the changes brought by the figurative–and literal–Western invasions. Others in the region have seen the possibilities in allowing change to occur and, despite their hope, have suffered for it, sometimes resorting to violence as well.
On Wednesday, the liberal Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid was shot dead outside his home. Tunisia, located in northern Africa, is ruled by Islamists, who Belaid argued against in the hope of creating a more tolerant, secular government.
Leftist groups exploded in angry protest as a result of the assassination. This even lead to the death of a police officer. Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced his intentions to dissolve the government and form a nonpartisan one to steer the country safely into its next election.
Jebali is a member of the Ennhada Movement, a moderate Islamist political party. Members of Jebali’s party refused to allow the dissolution of the government, claiming their right to legitimate rule through election. Emhada is the largest and most successful political party in Tunisia. Its secular competitors have fallen behind.
Tunisia, ironically, is considered by many to harbor the Middle East’s greatest chance of achieving a stable democratic government. Doesn’t seem to be much of an exception now.
Oppressive religious tyranny across the globe may not always have a direct impact at home, but the unjustifiable suffering of millions is difficult to ignore.
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