The View Of The East

936 WordsAug 17, 20154 Pages
Carl Ernst sheds light on a very key issue that Muslims have faced and still continue to face in stating, “It is safe to say that no religion has such a negative image in Western eyes as Islam” (Ernst, 11). The representations of Islam by Western societies have taught non-Muslims – even those outside of the West due to imperialism – what to think of Islam. The negative imagery surrounding Islam has then created a discourse which fuels fear, hostility, and a misunderstanding of the religion and its adherents and thus fosters violence and aggression towards Muslim communities both in and outside of the West. Such discourse reinforces the notion that ‘the West’ is essentially opposite of ‘the East,’ a concept rooted in colonialism and primarily cited as a justification for the oppression of what is now called the Middle East. “The extraordinary mismatch between Euro-American ideas of Islam and the realities lived by Muslims will form a recurring theme… There is no one simply or easy explanation, though one must look both at history and at contemporary political interests to see the larger patterns” (Ernst, 4). The development of this West/East dichotomy reduces the complexities of the region and provides a very dangerous space for misunderstanding. The West/East dichotomy further suggests a Good/Bad dichotomy which paints the actions of the West as justified and the reactions of those in the East as backwards or barbaric. Those who don’t actively seek to understand the very
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