Excerpt from an article at the English-language Pakistani new site Dawn (no reader restrictions):
There are three very important and interrelated ways in which ethical principles in Islam differ from those that are understood and practised in the West.
The first is the concept of individual freedom and independence. In Islam, one’s freedom ends where another’s physical and moral space begins. Indeed, alongside freedom of expression and liberty for individuals, society also has moral rights. Thus, how one individual behaves morally must be guided by how that behaviour impinges upon and influences the behaviour of those around him.
Secondly, Islamic teachings expand outwards with the family as the unit of society, not the individual. Islam believes in collectivism, not individualism. There is, therefore, no concept of being responsible for the self alone.
And thirdly, ethical principles, by virtue of their divine source, are not determined by the vote of the majority. If the majority in a society votes that speculation on the stock market is ethical, Islamic ethics will not accept this decision.
The writer, who is by no means on a senseless anti-Western rant, is trying to make clear just how different the tribal and clan-based societies of Muslim-majority countries are from the West. He does not discuss tribes and clans per se because he writing about Islam, not sociology or anthropology, but he is telling us about it, between the lines, as it were.
Or course, Muslims countries are not the only ones based on tribes and clans. Indeed, this was the default setting for all Homo sapiens, including Europeans, until a major switch occurred in Europe. Starting with the Catholic Church ban on close-kin marriage, which dates back at least a millennium, the tribes began to fall apart. Indeed, that was the intent of the Church.
In due time, a new social structure emerged: one in which people trusted their “nationals” (who spoke the same language and looked the same) as much as they did their close biological kin.
This eventually had a revolutionary effect on the way society developed: permitting the emergence of strong nation-states and democracies. Neither of things can exist in a society dominated by clans and tribes, explaining the utter failure of attempts at “transferring democracy” to places like Iraq and the Arab Spring countries.
So-called “honour killings” are also a tribal mechanism, designed to enforce the decision of who is allowed to marry who. The parents want (in an evolutionary sense) to pass along as much of their genetic inheritance as possible and this is much better done by marriage of their offspring to close kin than to total strangers. The occasional killing of those who refuse to follow the tribes’ rules merely causes other young people to think very carefully before they attempt such foolishness.
The issue is seldom discussed in polite circles, as it has a vaguely racist or at least Eurocentric tone. It is the very last thing the elite cheer-leaders for “multiculturalism” want to hear about. It shoots their ideas to pieces, because it suggests that large enclaves of individuals from clan-based societies might in due course destroy our current way of life.
This is a very short summary of a complex topic. Other societies (notably in far East) have trended away from kin marriage and clans recently. And in all countries, even Islamic ones, the urban and educated elites are often attracted to the Western model.
But we ignore this major difference at our peril. It is time to start talking about it.
Importing immigrants from the far East, or who are educated elites of their own societies, can work fairly well. But mass immigration of those who practise kin-marriage and continue to follow the “rule of the clan” is another thing entirely.
Islam is especially poorly placed to make a transition away from clans and tribes because Mohammed himself was a tribal leader and negotiator. Thus, Islam contains–as explained by writer above–tribal rules at its very core and is intrinsically in deep conflict with Western society.