How can the West preach nonviolence to Muslims?

… if we’re not prepared to practice it ourselves?

Earlier this week the AAANZ drew my attention to an article on “The Hypocrisy of Preaching Nonviolence to Palestinians.” The summary stated, “Nonviolence is not about figuring out how to make the other side – even when they are brutal oppressors – change their ways. It’s not about making others change their ways at all. Gandhi said that such efforts are senseless, because we cannot control the choices of others. All we can control is our own choices, trying to make sure that they are as morally correct as possible. So telling other people what to do, how to live their lives, or even how to resist oppression simply doesn’t fit Gandhi’s vision of nonviolence. It’s only about changing our own ways.”

I wonder how often people realize that, whenever we justify violence in the name of self defence, we justify Muslim violence in the name of self defence in the same breath. In principle at least. Of course, this is often where the principle of ethical recipricosity goes out the window and where hypocracy waltzes in. Do as I say, not as I do. That seems to be our attitude.

But this is precisely what Jesus criticized the Pharisees for: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:2-3)

We get caught in this cycle of destruction. Palastinian guy: “Oh, they’re gonna hurt us, so we better hurt them, as self defence.” Israeli guy, “Oh, they’re gonna hurt us, so we better hurt them, as self defence.” Palastinian guy: “Oh, they’re gonna hurt us…” And on and on it goes. To break the cycle, we need to begin with ourselves. Beginning with the other only perpetuates the cycle. How about, instead of pre-emptive war, we focus more on pre-emptive peace.

2 thoughts on “How can the West preach nonviolence to Muslims?

  1. Pre-emptive peace… I like that. Should be main policy of the church but in following this post I must make it my own ethic.

    Like

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