[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Islam needs to changeI agree with Seo Jeong-min’s assertion that the resistance in Iraq is an attempt to protect Islamic identity (“The two seizures of Bagdad,”July 11). President Bush conducted the war in the name of freeing the Iraqis from the autocratic leader, Saddam Hussein. Moreover, after bringing Saddam down, he tried to implant democratic ideals in that region. But the question arises of whether democracy is a universal value that can be applied to Iraq.
The Islamic world produced significant radical movements that reject not just Western policies, but the most basic principle of modernity itself. In the same vein, Iraqi fundamentalists reject the “Western” view of democracy because they think Western societies pressure people to be dedicated to religious tolerance and pluralism rather than serving religious truth. This is why they reject Western democracy and struggle to protect their Islamic identity.
So, what changes should there be to reduce the conflicts between the United States and the Islamic world? There should be changes inside Islam itself. Unconditional rejection of modernity and religious tolerance would never bring internal stability or a democratic government. They should learn to accept different ideals and at the same time keep their identity. Moreover, their way of thinking, that religious identity overrides all other political values, should change.
by Lee Bomi