Islam and the West

Penang (Malaysia), 9 October 1995/K/JC/14961c-is

At an international workshop on "Images of Islam: Terrorizing the Truth," the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, presented the campaign against Professor Annemarie Schimmel as a typical case of the anti-Islamic bias of important sectors of Western Society. In his presentation to the workshop, Professor Koechler focused on the historical causes of stereotypes of Islam in Europe and on the West's tendency to create a new "enemy stereotype" after the vanishing of the Soviet threat.

The participants of the workshop unanimously adopted a declaration of solidarity with Professor Annemarie Schimmel. The statement commends the German President, the German Book Trade, sections of the German media, and some German intellectuals for standing by Professor Schimmel, and urges them not to submit to the demand of anti-Schimmel protesters. To surrender to those forces in German and Western society "would be a defeat for all those groups and individuals who are committed to the promotion of healthier and more harmonious relations between Western and Muslim societies."

The workshop concluded its deliberations earlier today with the adoption of a programme of action in the fields of education and information. Fifty journalists, University professors and political personalities from 15 countries participated in the workshop which was organized by Just World Trust (Penang/Malaysia) under the direction of Dr. Chandra Muzaffar.

Among the participants and signatories of the declaration are Mr. Amien Rais, Indonesian opposition leader, Professors of the Universities of Harvard and Princeton (USA), former US Congressman Paul Findley, the Middle East correspondent of the Neue Züricher Zeitung, Mr. Viktor Kocher, and leading intellectuals and University Professors from Europe and the Muslim World.