Mowahid Urges West to
Reconsider Its Direction
left to right: Mowahid H. Shah and Consul General Haroon
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
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.