Ubud, Indonesia - Western foreign policy and a tendency among some Muslims to impose their idea of truth have been key factors in the the rise of radical Islam, Muslim writers say.
"Islam is about peace and submission. But there are certain realities that we cannot hide from," said Ziauddin Sardar, a Britain-based writer best known for his book, Why Do People Hate America?
"There is a certain radicalisation of young Muslims not just in Muslim countries but also in the Muslim population in the West," Sardar told a writers' conference in the Balinese resort town of Ubud.
"One reason for it is Western policy, what's happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya. (Millions of) Muslims are very young and they feel very angry and hurt by the perpetual death and destruction in their society."
Muslim writers do not, however, pin the blame for the rise of Islamic radicalism only on Western policy, but say the Muslim world's failure to engage with the Western world is a key reason for the differences and misunderstanding.
Dina Zaman, a young Malaysian Muslim writer, who is compiling her provocative column "I am a Muslim" into a book, said moderate Muslims also need to engage with conservative Muslims to bridge the gap.
"Western policy and prejudice are a reason. But also we've been taught from young, Muslims vs Kafirs, Kafirs vs Muslims. When you have this concept of the other you're opening a whole can of worms," said Zaman, one of about 100 writers at the festival in the cultural capital of Bali.
"If we keep perpetuating these myths, we're walking on a time-bomb," she said. "When you believe that your perception is right and the other is not then how can you discuss?"
Sardar and Zaman were among many Muslim authors seeking to demystify Islam at the Ubud festival which was started three years ago to help the recovery process from the 2002 Bali bombings.
A number of Islamic militants were convicted in connection with the nightclub bombings that killed 220 people, mostly foreigners.
"Literature is a way of healing wounds," said Janet De Neefe, the organiser of the Ubud festival. "Last year we had a session on terrorism. This year we have one on Islam. It's such a misunderstood faith. We're addressing all the issues with grey areas."
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation and most people follow a moderate form of Islam. But a radical minority has become increasingly vocal in recent years in the country, which has seen several major bombing attacks in addition to the 2002 incident.
Indonesian poet Acep Zamzam Noor said the Islam taught in the country's Muslim schools or pesantrans was a moderate form which used different ways such as poetry to teach children about God.
He said if there was a clash it was between the moderate and extreme way of teaching Islam.
Others said one reason for the yawning gap was the fact that a certain section of Muslims was trying to impose its idea of the truth on the rest of the world.
They said violence, especially suicide bombings, was against basic Muslim principles because Islam forbids despair and Allah is always merciful and forgiving.
"We've acquired a particular notion of truth which serves us in a particular way. Trouble is that some Muslims think they own the truth. The idea of owning the truth is the crux of the problem," said Sardar.
"If you believe you have the perfect truth and you believe you have the right to impose it on others, then there's a problem. This notion negates the very essence of Islam."
Sugita Katyal writes for Reuters.
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