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Cultural Integration

Cultural Integration

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Published by gaturora

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Published by: gaturora on Jan 18, 2010
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Cultural Integration:
Where, through technology and trade, a seemingly borderless world is created.Cultural integration also concerns the adoption of a mass consumer culture where everything from fashion to sport,music to television, becomes integrated into the national culture, often without challenge.
Globalization of Culture
Islam, from its very beginning has been a global message. As one browses through the Holy Quran, they will findthat it addresses the entire humanity and not just a race or community. Moreover, the first Islamic state establishedby Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was based on a written constitution (Pact of Medina) ensuring andprotecting the rights of all minorities by which internationalizing the character of Medinian society. Through his lastsermon, Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave a New World Order and a declaration of human rights. This was the initiation of globalization of the human society.Initially, there should be a clear distinction between culture and society.Culture defines the beliefs, values, behaviors, and material objects shared by a particular people. Variouscomponents such as symbols, languages and values exist in cultures. However, the similarities and differences inthe symbols do not create any hindrance in the development of a multicultural society. For example, dogs areconsidered beloved household pets to the millions in the west but a regular meal to millions in China. Cows aresacred to the Hindus in India; however, they are routinely consumed by millions of other eastern and westerncommunities. The fur coat may be a symbol of success to one and inhumane treatment of animals to another. These kinds of differences exist even in uni-cultural societies, for they are based upon options, priorities andpreferences. We have to find ways to harmonize different cultures and find the commonalties on which we can basethe multiculturalism of a society upon.Society refers to people interacting within a limited territory, which is guided sometimes by religion, culture, laws,customs, morality and sometimes by a mixture of all of these factors. Hence, we can neither exclude any of theseelements from the process of the development of a culture, nor can we be bound to include all of these elements inthe process of globalization of culture. They hold their relevance in the process of culturalization.
Integration of Cultures
 There are two aspects of integration: Societal and Cultural.As far as societal integration is concerned, the ethnic minorities become an integral part of the society byresiding, following the laws, sharing the many social and cultural values and working together for the promotion of societal betterment.Cultural integration is an outcome of cultural interaction, and cultural interaction cannot occur without an inter-cultural dialogue. Although it requires both the majority and the minority groups to create an environment of integration, the initial responsibility lies upon the majority. This cultural interaction cannot take place without initiating the process of cultural openness. We must be open tolisten to the problems, the priorities and the demands of all of the cultures irrespective of the fact whether theculture belongs to the majority or to any other ethnic minority. This in turn would lead to an environment of multiculturalism. It is important to promote the commonalties between cultures and at the same time appreciatethe differences in a realistic and democratic manner. Solutions cannot be imposed. They emerge in a realistic anddemocratic way in our society, which in turn resolves conflicts.
Types of commonalties on which bridge-building can takeplace
 There are many commonalties between the Islamic and the Western societies. Autonomy, vitality, education,morality, spiritual contentment, working ethics, social harmony, global outlook, religious and social services,cultural activities, and environmental and ecological changes are just a few basic commonalties on whichmulticulturalism may be promoted. Another factor on which the process of globalization of culture maybeestablished is Human Rights. Islam is the founder and the best promoter of the concept of human rights andparticipatory democracy. When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) established a political society in Medina after hismigration, he established a society based on devolution of power and participation of public and democraticprocess in power. He established local bodies consisting of ten representatives headed by a counselor and 10
counselors headed by a chief counselor. They were appointed as the member of provincial or federal council.Hence, Islam introduced and practically implemented the process of the participation of the public in the process of power. Subjects as such can easily be the basis for the establishment of globalization.Standards of success and achievements, activity and work, material comforts, practicality and efficiency, progressand futuristic advancements, science and technology, freedom of individual choice and individual initiative andother elements as such are the basic commonalties on which we can easily establish the idea of a multiculturalsociety.
No Dual Standards
As far as the factual position is concerned, the media has dual standards for the Western World and for the IslamicWorld. Whenever a case of violent criminality occurs in any western country, the media looks into the social factorsbehind the occurrence, including gender, youth, race, socio-economic background, personal factors, biological,psychological or psychiatric factors or even ecological factors. But as soon as any kind of issue takes place thatinvolves a Muslim, instead of blaming the wrongdoers, the attack is directly placed upon Muslims and ultimatelyIslam. The relevance of socio-economic factors or personal factors is overlooked. The presentation and the analysisof the events should be the same.One thousand years ago, when Europe, in its entirety, was not developed, scientifically, academically and culturally,it was said to be in its dark ages. However, during this period it was Islam that was the torchbearer. It was IslamicSpain, Islamic Grenada, Islamic Baghdad, Islamic Damascus; in short, it was the Islamic world which was spreadingthe light of science, technology, culture and civilization along with a complete interaction of Islamic and Christianculture and faith which initiated the process of globalization. Hence, Islam has been an integral part of theEuropean society for about 1000 years, sometimes in a ruling capacity and sometimes jointly living together withcommunities.Only in the last two - three centuries was it that the Muslims lost their involvement, however, they have againreturned to it. There is a very clear lack of communication which the western society is not recognizing. This is what leads todistorted visions and misguided opinions about Islam. The western population does not have a true picture of Islamand has only gained their present opinion from their own media. That is why if there is any single minor incidentthrough which any negative inference can be drawn in the Muslim world, it is highlighted and propagated in themedia and for days ongoing debates start on the subject. Whereas, thousands of positive points are neglected sothat bridge-building between the cultures is made impossible.
What sort of misunderstandings exists?
It is a common belief of many westerners that minorities possess no rights in Islamic countries such as Pakistan. Onthe contrary, the Islamic State of Pakistan is much more liberal towards the minorities as compared to the WesternWorld towards its minorities.
Rights of minorities in the Islamic State of Pakistan
Minority rights are constitutionally guaranteed and protected, political rights are guaranteed, seats in all levels of government are reserved for minorities from the local to district to provincial and right up to the parliament. ManyMPs, senators, ministers and counselors are those from a minority group and fully participate in the political processof Pakistan. The chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Cornelius was a practicing Catholic Christian. There arealso many army generals belonging to minorities and many minority members can be found in executivedepartments in the country. There is no ban, no barrier, and no condition disabling the minorities to hold government offices. They can freelybuild their churches, hold their religious or cultural activities, and enjoy their festivals.Many Christian missionary schools, colleges, and institutions are operating in the country. There exist open dialogueforums such as the MCDF (Muslim Christian dialogue forum), of which I am the elected chairman and Bishop Azrayais the vice-chairman. MCDF, PAT and Minhaj-ul-Quran International Movement have announced a joint peace walkbetween Muslims and Christians on the biggest road in Pakistan, "Mall Road", to raise slogans and protection of minority rights.

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