By Tawfik Hamid

Recently a well-known Egyptian TV show host, Wael El-Abrashi, invited a leading Islamic scholar Sheick Yasser Burhani to discuss the future of tourism in Egypt after the Jan 25th Revolution. The discussion that appeared on one of the mainstream TV channels in the country was titled: “This is the Halal Tourism that Salafi Muslims want to see in Egypt“.

Sheick Burhani is well known to promote Sharia controlled country where women are stoned for adultery, gays are beheaded, and non-Muslims are humiliated as second class citizens. On the contrary, Wael El-Abrashi is well known to be a very liberal person who believes in secularism, freedom and equality.

Sheik Burhani promoted a form of tourism that separates men from women on beaches, prevents women tourists from wearing un-Islamic dress and does not allow drinking alcohol. Ironically, Sheick Burhani’s views were based on the fact that the Queen of England showed respect to the Muslim world when she was in the UAE by wearing the hijab.  He sees that what the Queen of England did supports the Salafi Islamic view that tourists MUST respect the culture when they visit Egypt by abandoning alcohol, by wearing hijab dress, and by avoiding that women tourists wear swimming togs in public beaches.

The discussion was a clear example on how actions of some Western liberals that aims at showing cultural sensitivity became the fuel that aggravates Islamist intolerance to the values of freedom and Liberty.

In conclusion, what western liberals do as a matter of showing cultural sensitivity to Muslims can actually encourage more intolerant views to grow in the Muslim world. The actions of the West toward the Muslim world MUST be calculated on the basis of how they are perceived in mind of Muslims as what we think of as a model to show cultural sensitivity can actually be counterproductive.

Note: The discussion mentioned above is available on You Tube in Arabic and a photo of the Queen of England wearing the Islamic Hijab is shown during the discussion.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid is an ex-“radical” Muslim who educates about the doctrines of Islamic fundamentalism, as he experienced them from the inside. He has written many articles, and there are many videos of his talks on Youtube.