Despite the fact that the majority of the world's Muslim population is not located in the Middle East, there is no question that this region has become synonymous with Islam in the eyes of much of the West. It is worrying then that many of the countries in this region have suffered from a brand of isolationism. Since the governments of these countries often fail to integrate with the rest of the world, this task falls into the hands of Islamic civil organizations. While there are several important Muslim civil organizations, there has been a problem in taking this idea of cooperation and global perspective and applying it to the relationship between nations. In the information age, many of the staunchest conservatives will have no choice but to join the rest of the world. The Internet has proved to be an essential tool in globalization efforts. One of the main problems of Middle Eastern societies has been their people's isolation from the rest of the world. The Internet has changed that and the speed of change is astounding.
Muslims, however, do not apply Islam as something external to their daily lives. To a Muslim, faith is a fundamental part of every activity. This necessarily translates into a Muslim's relationship with the world. While many may view this in a negative way, a true reading of the Qur'an teaches Muslims that the Muslim way of facing the world is necessarily related to charity and work for one's fellow man, Muslim or non-Muslim. Here is where the role of civil organizations that monitor elections, protect the rights of women, or give to the disadvantaged comes into play. Civil organizations represent the best face of Islam, true Muslims concerned with making sure that their community is free, lives in dignity, and that no one suffers from a lack of basic necessities.
While today there is a greater need for diplomacy than ever before, it seems that the diplomatic efforts from so-called Muslim governments have proved to be futile. This is in large part due to the fact that many of these oppressive regimes and corrupt administrations do not truly represent Islam or their Muslim constituents. This results in the West gaining a skewed view of Islam, represented by the worst possible people: terrorist and extremist Muslim heretics, and hypocritical politicians that claim to defend Islam while oppressing their people. In order for Islam to return to a rightfully positive light, it is necessary that the diplomatic efforts of the 21st century come directly from the people that represent Islam's spirit of charity, peace, and community. Here is where the work of Muslim civil organizations becomes all-important – not only because of the work they do directly, but because of the positive image that they convey of Muslims and of Islam.
-- Al Arabiya Digital