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The Role of Orientalism in Western Conceptions of the Islamic Tradition - Essay Example

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The Role of Orientalism in Western Conceptions of the Islamic Tradition

In Orientalism, Edward Said writes that the West reckons the Islamic states to be static and undeveloped, which fabricates a view that Oriental culture can be studied, depicted and reproduced. This implies the idea that Western society is developed, rational, flexible, and superior. 1 Such view from the above does not give a complete picture of what the society has to offer. Some of the most famous ancient scientists, for example, Omar Khayyam, one of the supposed founders of algebra, belonged to the Oriental world; ancient Persia, unlike the tribes of the territory where modern Iraq is located, was the center of science, arts, and culture of its time. Islam as a very severe and, as it seems from the first look, cruel religion, creates its own image as a dictatorship of its norms and laws over a man and demands strict obeying, which is very difficult for the Western conscience of liberal world perception, and it leads to formulating of conceptions (and misconceptions as well) which are not always true. It is necessary to define and investigate into such ones and to understand the role of Orientalism in their emergence.
In Western Democracy and Islamic Tradition: The Application of Shari’a in a Modern World, Melanie Reed rises a matter of human rights in Islam. “While most scholars would agree that minimal human rights standards exist, the correct implementation of such standards is a topic of hot debate. In light of recent international conflicts, the relationship between religion and human rights, and in particular Islam and human rights, is a pressing topic.”2 Indeed, some Islamic countries, especially those with strong traditions of tribal society, Pakistan, Afghanistan, for instance, are an endless source of news about terrorist attacks, blood shooting, hostages taking and other possible violation of human rights. Islam, implying a solid faith in God, may result in society’s looking for the embodiment of such God – strong, wise, caring. ...Show more


The essay "The Role of Orientalism in Western Conceptions of the Islamic Tradition" investigates conceptions and misconceptions of Islam from the point of view of the Western society as the violation of human rights, religious intolerance, militarism, and women’s position in Islamic society…
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