Orientalismis the manner in which the differences between the Arab people, their cultureand that of Europe and the United States is compared having the differences exaggerated,emphasized, imagined and distorted. Orientalism has been structured in such away that the Arab culture is backward, exotic, uncivilized and in someinstances, it is viewed as dangerous. In his book, Orientalism, Edward W.
Said has asserted that Orientalism is a setof institutionalized differences between the East and the west and also a wayof trying to dominate parts of Middle East (Said 14). Itshould be noted that European countries including geomancy commenced atradition where conducting research on Muslim society was the norm. The studieswere not limited to the society’s imperialism, their history, culture and alsotheir way on which they conducted their politics.
It was established that theaims and ideas that were rooted in the enlightenment of the Middle East,depicted a critical analysis towards the society. The critics of Edward W. Saidfocused in such direction especially the German scholarship. Individualaccounts in writing of the Middle East between the world wars show a mixed personalitybetween the two camps. Culturalscholarship in regard to the Middle East became a thing of the past after therewas a general interest to study the contemporary Middle East.
The sudden riseof political movements in the Muslim world and the Islamic revolution in Iranchanged the trend of studying the cultural aspect of the Muslim society. Forthis reason, the demand for specialists in Muslim culture, politics, andreligion rose in different parts of the world. This led to the cooperation of differentdisciplines in studying the Muslim part of the world. Research on the MiddleEast has increased at a high rate over the last two decades. InSeptember 2002, Germany hosted The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies(WOCMES). The meeting was held jointly by the association of Middle EastStudies which was inclusive of eighteen European countries.
This ceremony washeld in respect of what happened in the United States where the twin towerscollapsed due to terrorism. Edward W. Said was honored during this event forhis tremendous contribution to Middle East studies.
Edward W. Said assertedthat the German philological scholarship greatly influenced his book in the bidto make the world realize the reality about the Middle East as opposed tobaseless assumptions. Therewas a dispute between the Islamic studies and the media and Oriental studieswhich was caused by the coming up of new Journal of Information on the Near andMiddle East, called INAMO. The journal was founded by journalists andspecialists in a bid to provide adequate information on Middle East’s currentpolitical. Socio-economical and currentcultural development. This journal was aimed to fill the knowledge gap betweenthe journalists and academic specialists.
The differences in informationalknowledge brought a lot of problems among the groups. Oneof the major changes in Islamic research in regards to Orientalism is thegeneral perspectives. Research on the Middle East has greatly expanded whereMuslims from Africa and Asia have been considered with projects and areastudies. This has greatly enriched the understanding of the Muslims not onlyfrom the Middle East but those who come from other parts of the world.