CPPG holds seminar on image of Muslims

CPPG Founding Director Dr Saeed Shafqat calls for more cultural and religious tolerance
LAHORE: The Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG), Forman Christian College on Tuesday held a seminar on 'The Image of ‘Muslim’ in Europe: A Century of Positive and Negative Stereotypes' where French journalist Slimane Zeghidour spoke on the image of 'Muslims' via European spectacles.

Zeghidour is Chief Editor and Diplomatic Columnist in the TV5 MONDE, the francophone international TV channel. During the past 25 years, as a reporter, he has covered many conflicts in South America, Middle East, Russia and Central Asia for various reviews including Le Monde, El Pais, Le Nouvel, Observateur and Geo.

Zeghidour teaches the geopolitics of religions at Sciences-Po and journalism courses in Celsa-Sorbonne. He is an author of several books and has also delivered lectures at US universities: University of Berkeley, University of South California, Princeton, and several other Universities.

Zeghidour said that the image of Muslims – at least a 100 years back – was very respectable and was a symbol of virtues, but on the other hand, the recent perception of Islam and its followers had been brought down to the level of intolerant extremists – this, he says, is because the 'good' Muslims, residing in the European countries, are not highlighted.

According to Zeghidour, between the 1940s and 1960s, many Muslim majority countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria etc) got their independence.

He added that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the relationship between the United States of America (USA) and its Muslim allies as the US ended the communist bloc and this victory left them with no other credible enemy.

Zeghidour was of the view that these countries were left alone to face their domestic challenges and causing delay in the flourishing of the democratic liberty of the Muslims of these countries.

"When consultation, negotiation and compromise ends, violence prevails," said Zeghidour.

He said that the 'good' image of Islam was when there was a bad image of the Japanese but soon it started to evolve into the negative image of Muslims seen on the 'main-stream media.

While answering a question, Zeghidour said that the Islamic clerics lack the proper means of communication while enlightening the people with their religious knowledge to which CPPG Founding Director Dr Saeed Shafqat said that the problem arises when facing the challenge of how to teach this 'communication' gap to these clerics as this is an issue of appropriately conveying their message and not with the credibility of the knowledge they posses.

"The golden time of Muslims was when they were open minded and were culturally tolerant," said Zeghidour.

Dr Imdad Hussain, Dr Sikander Hayat, CPPG Senior Research Fellow Raheem-ul-Haque, Dr Raja Ali Saleem and students attended the event.




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