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Amid Civilization Tensions… Let Us Benefit From Coronavirus

Amid Civilization Tensions… Let Us Benefit From Coronavirus

Saturday, 25 April, 2020 - 12:15

With the spread of the coronavirus and the pain, turmoil and terror that has gripped the world, it seems that people’s issues and their worries, wars, problems, disagreements and crises have become minor trivialities, meaningless in the face of the matter of life and death. Many deep questions are being posed about the manners in which we deal with one another, and the divisions, delusions and barriers that we have placed between ourselves as humans. Human sorrow has pervaded the planet Earth, and a frightening tremor was left behind by the plight caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Like one who has woken up from a long coma to realize his feebleness and the fact that everything he has done is worthless and of no value when compared to human dignity, the value of life and the reality of existence; here lies the value of consciousness.


The world has always suffered from the scourges of war, conflict, poverty, hunger, disease and the scarcity of resources. Over the past two decades, terrorism has been the major enemy, destroyed nations and peoples without differentiating between religions or people.


However, the new and novel invisible enemy differs from its predecessor, emerging suddenly without any introductions. Thus, the world faces something more vicious and dangerous today, a stubborn virus that moves and spreads dexterously with the aim of killing, nothing but killing.


Among the most important lessons from the coronavirus is the desire that it instils in all of us to change the status quo in our world and to rid ourselves of the images of disgraceful, contradictory and painful scenes committed in the name of untenable causes. Is it possible for a virus with this terrifying image to change the equation, break the barriers of stereotypical images, push us in the directions of furthering dialogue and togetherness, and rooting out racism and the clashes of civilizations and cultures.


The cacophonous voices of extremism make themselves heard to us every now and then; the principle of coexistence does not concern them in the least, entrenching their grudge against humanity, which is the same for ISIS members and right-wing chauvinist deputies in the Dutch or French parliaments. The light of moderation, tolerance and coexistence dims, while the doors of sensationalism, collision and societal rupture open.


A strong presence of these voices of extremism leads to the eruption of ideological war of extremist orientations, leading to the loss of the key of communication, which may explain our contemporary interest in the relationship between religions and the issue of religious tensions.


These racists reiterate that their behavior falls within the context of freedom of opinion; however, while everyone agrees on the necessity of freedom of speech, the degree of freedom that should be allowed is ambiguous; does it have lines that should not be crossed?


True, this is a controversial issue, but the kinds of provocative steps that some people are taking, the likes the right-wing chauvinist deputy in the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders, who is known for his Islamophobia and others positions, push in the direction of the entrainment of and incitement to hatred and discrimination, maintaining our world's vulnerability to racial and religious conflict; this is especially true for the issues of debasing religions and attacking religious symbols.


The circumstances that the Islamic world is undergoing presents those who profess their faith in Islam with opportunities to mislead others, to exploit the critical situation, terrorist attacks that were previously carried out in Islamic countries or those that targeted Western countries; those crimes showed us that there really is a disturbing civilizational clash, a psychological war which researchers consider more dangerous than conventional warfare.


Ideology and intellectual pluralism are natural and needed, and they enrich societal transformation. However, the danger lies in the adherents of an ideology turning into extremists, regardless of the ideology they hold, and this is evidenced by their mutual insistence on possessing the ultimate truth. In this, the ISIS adherent and the Dutch MP are equivalent, meaning that they are both hostages to their ideology, and their minds are thus kidnapped, leading them to reject reality.


This applies to every movement or ideology that had left its orbit and gone too far. Of course, this does not necessarily lead to the use of violence in so much as conviction in this ideology leads its adherents to believe that others are always wrong and that he embodies rightness itself. So, each of their discourses aspire to the same goal, walking the same path and consecrating his opinion, according to his perception, of course. Thus, it is noticeable that despite the variances in the content of their rhetoric and its contents, there is a single goal and one behavior: lack of acceptance of the other.


The coronavirus certainly has a hideous and oppressive side, but it is naturally also not free of positive aspects if we were to employ it in the generalized humanitarian reconciliation. This applies to crises and disasters generally. We have an opportunity to live under different circumstances and to benefit and learn from it, with the wise people of the world, including clerics, thinkers, scholars and elites, confronting religious fanaticism through a dialogue aimed at establishing an explicit agreement on respect for belief and coexistence. The suffering ensuing from coronavirus makes us dream of a new world that has a culture of tolerance, coexistence and peace, especially in this delicate circumstance the world is going through. This makes dialogue and rapprochement between its peoples more urgent than any that had been in any period of humanity's history.


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