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Islamic Prevention Versus Western Prevention
A Socio-medical issue or civilisational conflict?
Muslim health practitioners, specialists and lay AIDS prevention personnel should, therefore, confidently and critically evaluate Westfrn models from the ethical, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and historical perspectives in order to develop their own Islamically oriented moral modes of prevention according to the items we have detailed in the last chapter or some other Islamically oriented strategies. Many Western AIDS prevention specialists and internatioral bodies will not be happy with a different, religious oriented kindl of prevention. This should not worry Muslim countries and IsJamically oriented practitioners if they sincerely wish to prevent AIDS in their communities and to show allegiance to their religion and native clulture. This is because to uncritically copy Western prevention is in no way less degrading than the wholesale adoption of Westernisation.
This is not an overstatement; indeed, one cannot separate between the way a society perceives and practices sex, which is an important fabric in its cultural design, and the way it endeavoursl to prevent its sexual deviations and its sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, an Islamic approach to AIDS prevention must inclyde new strategies evolving from Islam as a way of life and a Worldview, such as its uncompromising position against fornication and d ug and alcohol
intake. It should not be an exaggeration, therefore, if e view these strategies of AIDS prevention as a form of a conf ict between ethical conceptions or even, borrowing Samuel Huntington's title of his famous article, as a "clash of civilisatios".
What I am saying is not unfounded. When a Roman Catholic Bishop emphatically and rightly stated that the ".. only way to have safe sex is, if you are married, to stick to one partner, and if you are not married, to practice abstinence" (Panos Doss er, 1990, p. 15), thereby implying that promoting the use of con oms encourages promiscuity, many defenders of the sexual revoluti n responded very furiously. Some even considered his preventive c mpaign criminal and immoral! They claimed that people who hold o such 'tradition- al' moral values are a tiny minority whose sexual ehaviour protects them from AIDS. To formulate prevention campaig s on the views of such 'right-thinking people' is both criminal and immoral because "...it puts the health and life of the vast majority of youth in jeop- ardy" (Panos Dossier, 1990, p. 15). The reason for his hostile rheto- ric is not only the protection of the "vast majority f youth" but also the protection of the very foundations of Western ivilisation and its sexual revolution from the reactionary doctrines f a defeated religious dogma which took advantage of the AIDS dilemma to raise its stifled voice.
Another more glaring example of how sexual issues and moral prevention can detonate civilisational and eligious clashes, particularly between Islam and the West, is clearl seen in international conferences in which modernity pushes f r the worldwide acceptance of its secular, libidinous morality. Ho sexual issues of modernity such as non-heterosexual orientations, cohabiting, abortion, and the intentional weakening of the grip of he family, were very strongly put forward by enthusiastic Western conferees in the recent United Nations Population Conference in Cairo. Some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran even refused to attend the Cairo international meeting, protestin that the United Nations, which had allowed itself to be a military tool for the new American world order, has now become a spokes an or a promoter of its Western values of sexual abandon.
Indeed, even in Cairo, the host of the inter ational meeting, the Supreme Sheikh of al-Azhar, Dr. Jad al-Haq, ad issued a very strong statement against the conference and its anti-Islamic tenets. He also commissioned distinguished Professor jamal Abusuru the director of the International Islamic Centre for Population Studie and Research, to carry out an investigation into the real aims o the Conference and its possible damaging moral effects. In a ell- researched 23-page article (Abusurur, 1994), he outlined the ain discrepancies that are embodied in the objectives and wo king papers of the conference.
The conference, according to Abusurur, clearly adopted Wester values which aim at dethroning the family from its Islamic conce tion as the main unit of the society. In its tenth item, the conference proposed that parents should condone the sexual practices of heir unmarried children and should accept their erotic activities as their own guarded secrets which the parents should not try to uncover. This, as Abusurur asserts, is a clear invitation to pro iscuity and to the eventual explosion of venereal diseases and AI S among Arab and Muslim youth. He goes on to state that Islam, like other revealed religions, prohibits any sexual relations outside the t rritory of matrimony and sanctions the severest punishments for fornication and homosexuality irrespective of whether the persons committing them had consented beforehand or not.
In fact, the ultimate aim of the Western non-g vernment soci- eties which are greatly influenced by homosexuals nd lesbians and which have a powerful lobby within the United Na ions is the total destruction of the traditional family. It is seen as the ain creator and perpetuator of traditional values; which hinders the issemination of full equality between the sexes, the unobstructed acceptance of non- heterosexual practices, and the rest of the values propagated by the modern sexual revolution. This is well expressed by Christine Riddiough who was on the list of the NGOs in the airo Population Conference. She states that:
"The family teaches us our first lessons in ruling class ideology and it also lends legitimacy to othe institu- tions of civil society. It is through our families that we first learn religion, that we are taught to be g od citizens...so thorough is the hegemony of the ruli g class within the family, that we are taught that the mily is the embodiment of the natural order of thing . Gayllesbian culture can...be looked on as a subversive force that can challenge the hegemonic n ture of the idea of the family...ln order for the su versive nature of gay culture to be used effectively, e have to be able to present alternative ways of 10 king at human relationships"(Riddiough, as qu ed by O'Leary, p. 11 ).
Abusurur's paper also exposes the fifth and seventh articles of the conference and their sub-titles.by showing that theyopenly e dorse alternative forms of 'marriage' or heterosexual and gay coh iting. Though the Population Conference could not openly exp se the extent of its wholehearted support for lesbian and homosexual'alter- native' couplings since it was held in Muslim Cairo, the pi neers, philosophers and feminists of the gay revolution had already et the stage for the ultimate utopia in which the term "alternative" its If, for which gays struggled to establish for so long, will disappear as an attribute for gay sexual relations, and humanity will revert to its SO- called 'natural' chaotic perverse sexuality. Listen, for a clear example, to feminist Alison jagger in one of her widely used textbooks:
"The end of the biological family will also eliminate the need for sexual repression. Male homosexuality, lesbianism and extramarital sexual intercourse will no longer be viewed in the liberal way as alternative options, .outside the range of state regulation...instead, even the categories of homosexuality and heterosexuality will be abandoned: the very 'institution of sexual intercourse' where male and female each playa well-defined role (i.e. the family) will disappear. 'Humanity could finally revert to its natural polymorphously perverse sexuality" (1977, p. 13, as quoted by O'Leary, 1995).
Finally, Abusurur's paper severely criticised modernity's a itude towards abortion which the Muslims and the Catholics joined hands in denouncing. This is expected since both Islam and Catholicism agree on refusing practices such as homosexuality, ab rtion, euthanasia and pornography that are being supported by modernity and its sexual revolution. It was thus an expected act of hostilit from American gay liberation movements and feminists to ards Catholicism when they shouted angry slogans against the Pope in his 1995 visit to New York. "Stop AIDS", they yelled, "stop homophobia; stop the Pope." Feminist leader Gloria Steinem, who led women in an emotional demonstration snarled, "We are not here against the Pope. The Pope is against us. We're to encourage women not to lose hope just because the Pope is in town" (Reuters as quoted by the Malaysian dailyThe Sun, October 9, 1995).
In the same paper, it was reported that the Pope lashed out at the United States for encouraging immoral practices that were con- sidered unethical only a few years ago. He described American modernity as a "culture of the flight from God, a culture which displays a not-so-hidden contempt for human life...There can be no life worthy of the human person without a culture, and a legal system, that honours and defends marriage and the family". The same observations of the Pope were reiterated by the Muslim conferees in the Cairo population meeting who were rather surprised to see American and Western Europeans preaching the new ethics of the sexual revo- lution with the zeal of religious missionaries. This have created heated discussions and angry outbursts in the conference and the Egyptian and Muslim media.
This cultural clash is quite pertinent to the theme of this chapter, since AIDS prevention through Islamic measures would obvious- ly make use of the strong family ties and its ethical upbringing as well as the sanctions and public psychological castigation against promiscuity and homosexuality, whereas the Western paradigm, on the other hand, propagates the weakening of the family and the full acceptance of 'alternative' cohabiting. The ultimate result of the Western paradigm, as we have shown, is the disappearance of the traditional family and the absence of differentiation between hetero- sexuality and homosexuality.
American and European .'preaching' of the new ethics of the sexual revolution with the zeal of missionaries is a clear example of Samuel Huntington's prediction that the coming century will be the century of a "clash between civilizations," and that the West, which is at the peak of its power, will struggle to subdue all other civilisations so that its worldview and secular values will rule the whole world. Huntington asserts in his famous article that, "great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural...The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics...Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and, most important, religion" (1993, pp. 22 & 25; italics added}.
To prove his claim that religion is the most important aspect in civilisational conflicts, Huntington reminds the readers that, whereas Muslim North African immigration generates hostility among the French, they welcome the immigration of "good" European Catholic Poles. He also points to the fighting in the former Yugoslavia and the horrors the Muslims have suffered because of the arming of the Serbs and Croats by the Christian West and Russia and the consequent biased, timely decision of the United Nations to place upon the former Yugoslavia an arms embargo, knowing the Muslim Bosnians to be the weakest of the three ethnic groups in terms of defense capability.
Huntington's paper was published in 1993, so he could not have given a much better example of the recent massacre of about eight thousand Muslims in Srebrenica who naively believed the United Nation's promise that they were in a guarded "safe area", only to be slaughtered by the Serbs as if they were British mad cows. The Muslim Bosnian government warned the United Nations before-hand, but Boutros-Boutros Ghali just looked the other way until the butchers finished their job, after which he flexed his muscles and 'ordered' NATO planes to 'punish' the Serbs. However, when the Serbs took two French pi lots as hostages and there was some fear that they may be harmed, France threatened to retaliate unilaterally and to jeopardise the signing of the Bosnian Peace Treaty in Paris. The whole of Europe and America "stood on one heel" until the Serbs delivered the two Frenchmen unharmed.
Peter Ellingsen, a correspondent for the Australian dailyThe Herald, claims in an article published in the July 13, 1996 issue of the paper that General Janvier indicated that he "would stop NATO air strikes against the Serbs in return for the release of 370 UN hostages, mostly French". According to this correspondent, thou- sands of Bosnians were allowed to be brutally butchered for the sake of releasing these few hundred hostages. What happened in Srebrenica, according to him was "the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II: "What happened...shames not only those who carried out the grisly execution, but the most powerful and civilised nations on earth".
Muslim countries accused the West of using double standards, which Huntington politely thought was a rather simple-minded response. In a world of clashing civilisations, he asserts, they should have obviously expected this biased approach from the West. listen to Huntington's statement:
"Muslims contrasted Western actions against Iraq with the West's failure to protect Bosnians against Serbs... The West, they alleged, was using a double standard. A world of clashing civilizations, however, is inevitably a world of double standards: people apply one standard to their kin-country and a different standard to others" (1993, p. 36; italics added).
Within the context of this clash of civilisations, one can understand why Western modernity pushes so hard to dominate other cultures and to inaugurate its way of life as the "universal civilisation that fits all men" and its secular and sexual values as that of the "world com- munityl/. The West today is at the peak of its power. It claims to have ended history, as Fukuyama (1992) enthusiastically predicted after the fall of the Soviet Union. Other cultures should accordingly stop looking back to any different moral traditions or contradicting religious teachings. The phrases I/world communityl/ and I/universal civilisationsl/ are Western inventions created to mislead the rest of the world into believing that the interests of Europe and America are also those of all countries of the world. The United Nations, with its various tributaries, has been fully utilised (or misutilised) to pursue this aim of a cultural, economic, and military subjugation of the non- Western world. Listen again to Huntington:
"Decisions made at the United Nations Security Councilor in the International Monetary Fund that reflect the interests of the West are presented to the world as reflecting the desires of the world community. The very phrase "world community" has become (a euphemism)...to give global legitimacy to actions reflecting the interests of the United States and other Western Powers: (1993, p.39)
The cartoon shows the United States changing United Nations Secretary Generals as if they were burnt-out light bulbs. The Western policy continues unabated since all the bulbs, as portrayed in the cartoon, are made in the United States.
It is true that many Western cultural aspects have been globally adopted by other civilisations, for example Western dress, standards of physical beauty, appreciation and enjoyment of feature films and modern technology and a taste for Coca-Cola. However, deeper ethical and religious conceptions continue to greatly differ and at times stage a head-on collision against Western values. Accordingly, the uncompromising striving of Western powers for domination over other cultures has frequently backfired in a renewed assertion of non-Western local values by the natives of other civilisations. In his above-mentioned article, Huntington clearly cohfirms this assertion:
"At a more basic level,...Western concelts (of values) differ fundamentally from those prevaTent in other civilizations...Western efforts to propaga e such ideas produce instead a reaction against " uman rights imperialism" and a reaffirmation of in igenous val- ues, as can be seen i,l the support of rei gious fundamentalism by the younger generation in non-Western cultures... Indeed, the author of a revie of 100 com- parative studies of values in different spcieties con- cluded that 'the values that are most important in the West are least important worldwide' " (1p. 40-41).
What Huntington calls "reaction against 'human rights irnperialisml "is clearly observed in the aggressive responses of government and non-government organisations of developing c untries indicted by Western human rights institutions. For instanc in response to the American criticism of the human rights situatio in Malaysial Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad boldly retalia ed that his government was not. bothered, "we do not care wha they say" , he proclaimed, "for the Arnericansl democracy is good even if there are demonstrations on the streets everyday until... ino one can live in peace. It is easy for America as a big power to clriticise others, when it should be looking at itself...Americans had in the past tortured African-Americans, and even though they are free now, many are still being abused and blacks make up most of the prisoners". He also severely criticised American disrespect of othe cultures and their local laws. To illustrate this, he said, "They go to foreign countries to arrest people there and bring them back for trial under their own laws and not the law of the foreign country". i "I am afraid", Dr. Mahathir continued, "that a big power may one ay capture me and put me under trial in its country. Is this their concept of human rights?" (Malaysian dailiesl March 11, 1996). In his criticism of Western "human rights imperialism", Dr. Mahathir has actually summarised in a simple, straightfoward manner its two main flaws which are relevant to our discussion bn Western modernity's determined push to dominate other cultures. These are ethnocentrism, and double standards.
We have intentionally discussed the clash of civilisations in this detail to acquaint the Muslim readers, and particularly the AIDS prevention practitioners, with the real dimensions of this cultural conflict. However, it must be stressed that the real struggle in the ethical and moral arena is betwee Islam and the West Many Western thinkers have predicted that the coming years will witness: such a forceful confrontational clash with Islam, By.way of illustration, we will quote the renowned scQolar Bernard Lewis as cited by HuntIngton (1993):
"We are facing a mooq and a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue thiem. This. is no less than a clash of civilizations-the perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage,lour secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both" (p. 32).
Accordingly, I believe that any g~nuine form of Islamic prevention of AIDS, involving a drastic revision in fighting promiscuity banning homosexuality drug and alcohol intake as well as making bold amendments to family laws and planning, and all this based on an Islamic worldview backed by the state, will surely be resisted by Western 'experts' and politicians as well as Westernised Muslim practitioners.
If, as I documented in an earlier chapter, a non-Muslim African head of state, who gaveiup any hope in Western AIDS pre-!' , vention, found it necessary to batl homosexuality in his own country in order to reestablish national,sexual ethics, and as a preventive measure against sexually transmitted diseases) had been officially castigated by a letter of protestation signed by seventy American congressmen, how would America and Europe respond to an Islamic prevention program? No other contemporary qivilisation can come up with such a holistic, non-Western program s~pported by deep historical roots of a complete legal and spiritual sytem. Herein lies the real reason for the expected clash between Islam and the West, even with respect to such a seemingly unimportant issue as AIDS preven tion.
Of course, a limited 'Islamisation' of iAIDs prevention in which boring lectures are delivered over the radio by old traditional sheikhs of government religious department, repeating shari'ah commandments that every Muslim child knows, such as drug intake, homosexuality and promiscuity as great sins, while the active dynamic society continues its breathless parody bf a Western style of life, will bother no one and will have no effect that so ever in changing the attitudes of the Muslim youth. A few Mulim countries whose , governments, educational systems and media are largely Western in approach, now apply this superficial procedure of 'Islamic' AIDS , prevention, which looks to me more like spraying new paint onto an old rusty car!
If the reader still feels that I am exaggerating the simple issue of the prevention of a disease to the vast arena of civilisational clashes, then he should remember What we have said in earlier chapters about AIDS as a unique pandemic. From the startf AIDS itself, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), as it was first and rightly called, is a syndrome caused by the bizarre practices qf the gay revolution as is ratified by many scientists (Root Bernstein, 1993). In other words, it was a civilisationally-caused syndromel.
Again, from the very beginning, the outbreak of AIDS was the cause of cultural and civilisational clashes, as the United States aggressively put the blame on Haitians and Africans by relating the origin of the disease to the blood of monkeys and pigs in native primitive rites. This, as we have detailed in an earlier chapter, has provoked angry retaliations from African and non-Western scientists and, media, resulting in emotional civilisational clashes. On the other hand, the Russian and East German accusation that HIV was an American-made virus in biological warfare laboratories, has caused a serious encounter between the United States and the now dissolved Soviet Union at the time.
However, if one wishes to see how different cultural attitudes towards seemingly simple sexual issues can detonate explosive civil- isational clashes, particularly between Islam and the West, then one should go through the documents and incidents of the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the United Nation sanctioned Non-governmental Organisation (NGOs) Forum on the same issue in Beijing, China. Whatever the supporters of the sexual revolution could not say in the Cairo Population Conference, either because Egypt is a Muslim country and the UN did not wish to embarrass President Mubarak, or because of fear of possible terr.orist retaliation from Egyptian Islamic extremists, modernity was able to fully and freely elucidate itself China. Both meetings erupted into heated arguments, fiery orations and emotional rallies from the supporters and denunciators of the modern sexual revolution.
Though the meetings, attended by about 25,000 delegates, rightly condemned some callous practices against women, such as forcing them to have abortion or to be sterilised against their will, civilisational clashes soon erupted when lesbians demanded that the United Nations officially sanction their rights in a formal declaration. Reuters reported that, under the watchful eyes of Chinese guards and other women, lesbians openly flirted with each other, chanting homosexual songs and shouting, " Liberte, egalite, homosexuality" and "Lesbian rights are human rights" .Four hundred of them clashed with anti-homosexuals, who responded with, "No, no, no to filth". The lesbian group, knowing that Islam was their real enemy, converged on a tent of Arab and North African Muslim women. They chanted aggressive slogans against Islam and seductively danced, banging drums and singing pro-Iesbian songs. They dared the Muslims to come out and interrupt them.
Little did these lesbians realise that gone forever, I hope, are the days when even committed Muslims will ac in the apologetic, defensive manner of an inferior, 'backward' socie y when attacked or criticised by so-called 'advanced' Europeans. I o remember, back in 1959, when I was reading for my Ph.D. in En land, seeing many of the wives of my Muslim friends cast off their I lamichijab of long robes and head or face cover to wear Western stye dress. They felt at the time that everybody in the street would be stonished and see them as being strangely dressed, backward or reactionary. Also, committed Muslim men would feel quite emb rrassed to perform their prayers in public places. To be seen carrying ut the act of bend- ing and prostration would fill them with shame a d indignation.
I recall a meeting in 1960 in which a gro p of young Middle Eastern men and a few British Muslim converts d cided to offer mass prayers on a Sunday in the crowded speaker's cor er of Hyde Park in London in defiance of this timidity. I was honour d by being select- ed as the imam to lead the late afternoon praye. As I prayed, the crackles of the camera shutters of hundreds of ph tographers sound- ed like drops of rain on a roof of corrugated iron. Nowadays, thanks to Islamic revivalism, nobody in London's Oxfo d Street would be amused to see fully-covered Muslim women, nor is the weekly sight of hundreds of Muslims who cannot find places inside the building, offering their Friday prayers in the lawn of Park Road Mosque, an unusual phenomenon.
Thus, in retaliation to the lesbian assaul in China, Muslim women, some of them shrouded head to toe in blackhijab orchador, made their own rally, raising banners of Islam is our law and describing these Western homosexuals as people ho have forgotten the real purpose of their existence. Afaf Ahmad bdulrahman of the International Organisation of Muslim Women la hed out at the lesbians, calling them a sick group, worse than anim Is, saying that they can destroy humanity by their deviant ways. Ot er less aggressive groups of Muslim women from Malaysia reminde their Western sisters that, "today Muslims who are veiled include doctors, lawyers and professors. This should not come as a surprise because Islam does not oppress women" (the Malaysian dailyThe Sun ). These Muslim women have chosen this commitment without any outside pressure. They said that they were astonished by the outspoken Western movement which claims to stand up for their rights by attacking Islam. They felt oppressed by the very people who wanted to 'liberate' them! This indecent insult, they said, "is reminiscent of the orientalist/colonialist 1nsistence at liberating Muslim women by tearing their veils". They strongly Jmphasised that "the Qur'an contains all the elements in which the Muslims can find liberation, democratisation and humanitarian commitment" (The Sun, '1 September 9, 1995).
Later, the lesbians organised a 'workshop' in which they told stories about how they found their lovers in supermarkets, laundromats, bars, restaurants and similar places. They even advised women on ways in which they can tell whether another woman is homosexual or not. They called it "the lesbian eye thing" and "gay-dar" or lesbian radar! (Reuters). Many thought that this so-called workshop to be utterly out of cultural tune, even women who were less hostile to lesbianism. As the NGO forum ended, passing the limelight over to the United Nations Conference, "there were hugs, tears, and vows to meet again as women activists-famed feminists, lesbians..., prostitutes and little known women...from 150 nations said farewell" (Reuters, as quoted byThe Sun, September 9, 1995).
Such is the deep, irreconcilable rift between the Islamic and the 'liberated' Western perspectives on how sex should be viewed and practised. Thus, opting for a genuine Islamic paradigm of pre- vention will almost certainly create a civilisational clash. This cultur- al conflict appears in its most conspicuous contrast when we com- pare what Islam as a religion and a way of life teaches with what the extreme Western gay liberation movements and fanatic gender feminists say. However, it is true to say that many Muslims do not strong- ly follow the teachings of their religion, otherwise AIDS would not have been a problem to them. Conversely, it is also true to state that most Westerners who constitute the 'silent majority' do not subscribe to the extreme views of the protagonists of the sexual revolution, nor to the odd practices of 'liberated' gays.
Nevertheless, as we have indicated in earlier chapters, the general influence of modernity's sexual revolution on Westerners has clearly created an unbridgeable gap between East and West, or between Islamic and European countries. The silent Western major- ity has always been comparatively too silent, as gays, feminists and the protagonists of the sexual revolution continued to take out one shocking sexual practice after another from the dark 'closet'. The power of the entertainment industry and the media gradually desensitises the public until the shocking practices are first tolerated and later become the norm. No effective voices are raised to confront this erotic surge, and the average Westerner is not impressed by ethical or religious preventive strategies.
On the other hand, as we have mentioned, the younger gen- erations in almost all Muslim countries are returning to Islam with surprising vigour. Thus, as the graph of sexual abandon is rising in the West, it seems to be dipping in the East.
Civilisational clashes are, accordingly, unavoidable, and the Muslim AIDS prevention practitioner should bear all that in mind as he or she boldly raises a religious banner in fighting this lethal pandemic and the loose behaviour that leads to it, including that of a holy war against alcohol and drugs. We have already indicated the dangerous role of drugs and alcohol in AIDS aetiology. Just because the Western world treats booze differently because they failed to ban it should not influence Muslim countries into treating it as a less harmful drug and sanctioning its sale and drinking.
The AIDS pandemic should not be considered simply as a disease for which a cure may sooner or later be discovered; it must be viewed by Muslims in general as a serious sign and a grave warn- ing for adopting a lifestyle of sexual abandon and drug intake, and that even if a cure or vaccine is discovered, new viral mutations will almost certainly surface if rampant promiscuity, homosexuality and drug abuse are not checked.
The great majority of Muslims are third world people who lead a poor and less hygienic life plagued with endemic diseases and malnutrition. No high protein vitamin supplemented diets, no clean needles and syringes in most hospitals, and practically nobody uses condoms for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. According to a WHO report, 2.7 million third world victims die yearIy from a single endemic disease: malaria. For this reason, some f Muslim experts argue that the real problem of Muslims is not really AIDS, since the number of these endemic diseases presently claims f more lives than AIDS. They point out that more Muslims die nowadays from military and political unrest than from this pandemic. This kind of thinking is supported by the fact that many Muslim societies r are now protected from the massive spread of the disease because of whatever IS still practised by them with respect to an Islamic way of life. However, when the virus gets a better grip, their resistance, which has already been weakened by endemic diseases and malnutrition, will give way to an enormous outbreak. It must accordingly' be stressed that if no decisive Islamic preventive actions are taken without delay, we may soon be facing in a number of Arab and Muslim countries, the tragedy of the African AIDS belt which, as we have said, is threatening to depopulate whole townships.
But the reader may ask what are the practical preventive strategies that the Muslim doctor, psychologist, teacher or adminis- trator needs to carry out in order to Islamize his work? What exactly are the changes in his or her role as an AIDS prevention practitioner which will make his or her performance Islamically oriented? The answer to such questions cannot be precise, since different Muslim countries are culturally so divergent that no specific plan can be suitable or even acceptable to all Muslim societies. Islamized preventive methods applied in Iran, Sudan or Afghanistan will not be suitable for :' Malaysia, the Maldives or the Muslims in South Africa and Europe. However, I shall try to give broad practical suggestions on this issuein the following final chapter of this book. Some of these proposals may be more pertinent to some Muslim societies than others; nevertheless, with some genuine adaptations, they can be useful to most Islamic countries.