London, August 5 (ANI): Fears of terrorism in Europe and the United States have deteriorated into an irrational suspicion of Muslims, which will continue until the West turns its critical eye inwards, a new book has said.
According to the book authored by University of Chicago professor Martha Nussbaum, The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age, while fear is an important natural emotion, its self-centered nature makes it susceptible to irrational distortions that are harmful to others.
Any self-knowledge worth the name tells you that others are as real as you are, and that your life is not just about you. It is about accepting the fact that you share a world with others, and about taking action directed at the good of others, Nussbaum said.
She argues that in order to uncover the roots of ugly fears and suspicions that currently disfigure all Western societies, Europe and the United States need to reassess the strength of their principles of equal respect, evaluate their narcissistic responses and develop inner-eyes to more easily imagine the lives of others.
It's not rational to dismiss the fear of Muslim terrorism. That fear is rational in the light of history and current events, and that rational fear ought to guide sensible public policy, but it's simply not reasonable to believe that all one's neighbors are fiends in disguise, she said.
Nussbaum has seen attitudes toward Muslims spiraling downward in both Europe and the United States in the last decade after years of relative religious tolerance.
If we don't all insist on decency and inclusion, the nation will subtly have become a different nation, one more suspicious of foreigners, more insistent on homogeneity, she warns. (ANI)