Golpira calls for a Greater Western World Initiative
by Janus Prodeck
Conservative Iranian columnist Hamid Golpira has proposed the drafting of a Greater Western World Initiative to invite Westerners to Islam and encourage them to be more tolerant and less racist. “There is a spiritual void in the West. Seeking to fill this void, millions of people have converted to Islam in the United States and other Western countries. The Greater Western World Initiative should utilize this fertile ground to promote Islam in the West,” he stated.
“Many people in the Western world are waiting for change,” Golpira wrote in the conservative Tehran Times. “They are sick of the hypocrisy, racism, class prejudice, materialism, rigged elections, and winner-take-all capitalism of the West.” The Greater Western World Initiative “should follow the Islamic tradition, meaning that we should make suggestions to Westerners, but should not try to impose our views on them,” he announced.
Golpira pointed to the fact that “in the Islamic world, the Greater Middle East Initiative is widely viewed as part of a Western plan to start a clash of civilizations. In response, the Greater Western World Initiative should try to foster dialogue among civilizations.” In this Golpira repeated the proposal of Iranian president Mohammad Khatami for dialogue among civilizations and cultures to understand not only the cultures of others, but also one’s own.
On president Khatami’s initiative the UN General Assembly in November 1998 designated the year 2001 as the year of dialogue among civilizations. Iranian government subsequently founded the International Centre for Dialogue Among Civilizations in February 1999 to promote the concept of a global structure based on mutual understanding and tolerance. UN secretary general Kofi Annan said in February 2001 that “the idea of such a dialogue is rooted in the fundamental values that the United Nations has sought to advance for over half a century.”
The dialogue among civilizations “is an appropriate and necessary answer to the notion of an inevitable clash of civilizations,” Annan said, “the dialogue can help us to discern the role of culture and civilization in contemporary conflicts, and so to distinguish propaganda and false history from the real causes of war.” Unfortunately, dialogue among civilizations was disrupted after the 9/11 attacks that provoked an Orwellian war on terrorism.
“The ideologues in the US administration claim it is some kind of battle between freedom and democracy on one side and barbarism and despotism on the other, a sort of battle between good and evil,” Golpira wrote in October 2004. “Yet, for the sake of argument, it should be said that the failure of these so-called defenders of freedom to address the root causes of what they call terrorism… gives the lie to their fake mission to save the world.”
“Many have said that the United States was globalized for the first time on 9/11,” he noted on the third anniversary of the September 11th attacks. “Unfortunately, most US citizens were still unable to empathize with oppressed people in the Third World. This indifference actually serves to promote terrorism. Terrorist recruiters often say: Look, they don’t care when their armies, corporations, mercenaries, and puppet dictators kill our innocent civilians; let’s give them a taste of their own medicine.” This line of reasoning does appeal to some people.
The Bush administration argues that the reason behind international terrorism is the lack of democracy in the Middle East, not the American support to Israel and authoritarian regimes like that of Saudi Arabia. In February 2004, Al-Hayat published a leaked US-compiled document that became known as the Greater Middle East Initiative for reform of the Middle East and some other Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. “As one who lives in this Greater Middle East, I welcome your interest in the region’s affairs,” Abdel-Raouf El-Ridi, former Egyptian ambassador to Washington, said while addressing the leaders of the Greater Western World. “Apparently, you can sense the perils that may come your way if the situation remains unchanged.”
“Yet, you want to place the blame at our doorstep and forget your own responsibility,” he added. “You act as if it is only us who need to change.”
Originally published on the www.infopartisan.com website referring to original source as the Tehran Times