When it comes down to it, the most acute and serious differences between the West and Islam are largely in semantics and words, not necessarily beliefs and values. The difference between “Father and Son” or “Master and Slave,” for instance, ultimately comes down to semantics and words, not necessarily beliefs and values. In fact, the Bible is an important tool for any Muslim who is engaged in a forensic or exploratory form of research and inquiry aimed at deciphering and uncovering ultimate truths. Ironically, Jesus is mentioned more than any other prophetic figure in the Holy Quran. Thus, books, speech, and words are not to be banned or incriminated, unless a person uses books, speech, and words to lie, deceive, or to harm people.
But closest to Muslims in terms of beliefs, culture, and mentality are the Jews. Although Islam is a ‘civilization’ on par with other civilizations like the West, India, and China, the similarities which Muslims have with Jews are greater than the similarities which Muslims have with the other major civilizations that have been mentioned. Hence, based on Islamic law, even the meat which is butchered by Jews is permissible for Muslims in general, and marrying Jewish women is also permissible for Muslim men. Both Jewish and Muslim men, for instance, wear skullcaps as a symbol to repel evil influences that can afflict the mind.
There is more freedom and laxness in terms of the applicability and interpretation of laws in Islam than control and prohibition. For instance, according to Islamic law, it takes a minimum of four witnesses to prove that someone committed adultery or fornication in order to punish someone for that moral transgression. Thus, according to Islamic law, the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove that they are right, not on the one being accused. Plus, the requirement of finding four people who can prove that someone engaged in an adulterous act means that the design and intent behind the law and the requirement is to make punishment difficult.
An interesting fact which I learned recently was that Jewish law allows Jews to enter into a mosque and pray in a mosque, but does not allow Jews to pray in a church. Given that both Jews and Muslims adhere to a strict form of monotheism and relate to one another through a similar chain of prophets as well as ancestry to a certain extent, the differences between Jews and Muslims comes down largely to language more than anything else, given that the beliefs, culture, and mentality are largely the same between the two groups. While colonialism and geopolitics undeniably create a chasm and a rift between Jews and Muslims, beyond colonialism and geopolitics, there is no serious cause for a chasm and rift between Jews and Muslims, nor is there anything that prohibits the two groups from mingling with one another.
However, the idea of a solely “Jewish State” where Jews can separate themselves from everyone else and live solely amongst themselves is largely an “anachronistic” idea, as argued by the French-Jewish journalist and author Sylvain Cypel in an excellent book titled “The State of Israel vs. The Jews.” Cypel argued that the notion of an exclusively “Jewish State” is “the result of a kind of outdated, anti-modern nationalism, the kind of ethnocentric nationalism that prevailed in Eastern Europe in the nineteenth century.” Cypel also wrote that the idea of an exclusively “Jewish State” is “incompatible with the evolution of a ‘globalized’ world…where crossing borders, mixing populations, and being open to the future had become the norm.” In sum, these truths and realities are undeniable, as long as we can overcome our personal anxieties and insecurities in order to acknowledge and recognize them.