UNDERSTANDING THE MIDDLE EAST: THE ARAB MIND
By Carol Rushton
Westerners do not seem to understand that the Middle East is a very different region with vastly different values than the Western world with its values and culture.
Because Europe and the United States have a religious history built upon Christianity and the Bible, we have a tradition of religious tolerance and respect toward other religious and cultures, whether we agree with them or not. For example, Western Christians do not agree with Hinduism, Islam, or Buddhism, but Christians will not force non-Christians to adopt Christianity or murder them if they do not. Westerners also believe that women have the freedom to decide what they want to do in life, have careers, marry or not marry, have children or not have children. Except for Israel, the exact opposite is true for the other countries in the Middle East.
For example, I discussed in a previous article the different view that Arabs and Westerners have concerning “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” a phrase that comes up a lot in talking about the peace process between Israel and Arab countries. Westerns think peace in the Middle East means Israel will co-exist with her Arab/Muslim neighbors. All Arab/Muslim countries will engage in trade, sign treaties, and have diplomatic relations with Israel and the Jews. Arabs view peace in the Middle East as a region with no Israel and no Jews.
I know Westerners are saying to themselves right now, “But this is not what I’ve been told. When Arabs give interviews to CNN or NBC/ABC/CBS/PBS, they always say peace in the Middle East can be achieved with Israel if Israel will just do X, Y, or Z.” This is because of a little known fact to which Westerners are completely oblivious: taqiyya.
Taqiyya is permissible according to the Qur’an when Arabs are talking to non-Muslims: it is essentially lying. While Dictionary.com defines taqiyaa as allowing Muslims to lie about their religion in order to avoid or escape religious persecution, the actual usage of taqiyya goes far beyond that narrow boundary. Taqiyya as practiced now by Arabs and Muslims allows them to deceive any non-Muslim about anything. This is why Arabs and Muslims can do interviews with Western news media and journalists and say the things Westerners want to hear while their supporters know everything being said is a complete and total lie.
“Peace in the Middle East? Of course, we want peace in the Middle East! If Israel would just give up the West Bank, if Israel would just allow all the Palestinians and their descendants to return to their lands, if Israel would just allow a causeway between Gaza and the West Bank (dividing Israel), if Israel would just. . . .” Well, you know the drill.
Westerners also do not understand the Arab view of diplomacy. Westerners value diplomatic relations and discussions as a way to work out differences between countries without having to go to war. Any military battle or conflict involves a great cost, not only in terms of the money that must be spent on the military venture itself, but also in terms of the destruction of property and human lives on both sides. In the West, diplomacy is held in great esteem, much preferable to wars and conflicts.
Arabs despise diplomacy as weakness, but they play along because it plays well on Western news reports and media, portraying Arabs as reasonable and sensible. Over the years, Arabs have learned what Westerners want and are more than willing to give them what they want, as long as Arabs can eventually obtain their objectives, which in the short run is a Middle East without Israel and Jews, and in the long run a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
What Arabs actually value is strength, military and otherwise. Arabs will always hate you but as long as you have a strong military, they will at least have a healthy respect for you and will think twice before launching a direct attack at your country.