Annan urges greater understanding between Muslim and Western countries

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Mr. Annan’s remarks came at the opening of the fifth lecture in a series aimed at strengthening international dialogue. Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a respected Muslim scholar at George Washington University, presented the lecture, which focused on the topic “Islam and the West.””When we talk about ‘Islam and the West,’ it sounds as if these were two opposites. Yet Islam is a universal religion, with adherents in almost every part of the world, whereas ‘the West’ is a geographical, or perhaps geo-political expression,” Mr. Annan told those in the audience at the UN Headquarters in New York.”It’s also true that Muslim states and Christian states competed with each other – sometimes in war, but also peacefully, in science and philosophy and art. The West as we know it today is the product of many Islamic influences – and it has many Muslim inhabitants,” Mr. Annan noted.He said the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and the reactions to them raised the spectre of a “clash of civilizations.””Personally, I don’t believe in such a clash, because I don’t believe that there are distinct and separate ‘civilizations’ in the world today. I think we all live in one world, and that in every country there are many different religions and cultures who need to respect each other and live peacefully together,” he stated.

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