Mowahid Urges West to Reconsider Its Direction

From left to right: Mowahid H. Shah and Consul General Haroon Shaukat

New York: Mowahid Hussain Shah has stressed the need for improved understanding as well as self-scrutiny to tackle the crisis of mutual incomprehension between the West and the Muslim world.
Addressing a large assembly of students, diplomats, professionals, academics, and UN staff at the City University of New York, Mowahid Hussain Shah, Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister, pointed out that the path of confrontation could only add to hatred at the grassroots.
Mowahid, who regularly writes an illuminating fortnightly article for Pakistan Link, was introduced to the gathering by Pakistan’s Consul General Haroon Shaukat. The event was hosted by the organization “Americans for Informed Democracy” and was coordinated by Zeeshan Suhail, a New York-based student.
In his talk, Mowahid condemned the hate campaign of incitement against Islam being conducted by a section of the media and the religious right in the United States and in Europe, saying that it flouts the values of decency and fairness professed by the West. In this connection, he mentioned the cartoon episode which he described as deliberate mischief. He said such actions could only jeopardize global peace and undermine interfaith harmony and dialogue.
The world cannot afford to ignore the principle of mutual respect for each others’ feelings and values, stressed Mowahid, especially so, in a globalized world where the West and the Muslim world are in the same historical boat. The anger in the Muslim world stemmed from the occupation of Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir where stepped up international efforts were needed to end occupation, Mowahid said.
Mowahid also acknowledged the inequity within the Muslim world. There is a disconnect between what he called “elite and the street” that leads to non-fulfillment of the people’s aspirations and the consequent frustrations in Muslim societies. He said that part of the responsibility must be shared by well-to-do Muslims in the West who have “affluence but no influence” and who have yet to develop a countervailing strategy of empowerment.
Mowahid, who answered a number of questions from the audience, clarified several misconceptions about Islam. Replying to one question, Mowahid said that it is false and misleading to exclusively equate Muslims with extremism when anti-Islam prejudice and discrimination are tolerated in the Western world. He urged Western decision-makers to reflect and reconsider their policy direction, which is fomenting global instability.
He also briefed the gathering about developmental efforts and results of the Punjab Government toward the education and empowerment of women and minorities.
Mowahid reminded the New York audience that Islamic teachings only recognize the Almighty Allah as the Sole Super power.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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