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Lifting the Secular Veil

by Donna Kennedy-Glans

“How do you conduct business in the Muslim world after Sept. 11?”

I am encouraged by this question posted to me recently by an intrepid class of university commerce students.  They didn’t ask “if” you could do business in the Muslim world–they had not, like some, fallen headlong into the wise chasm that divides the West and fundamentalist Islam.  Their question gives me hope.  The cash of civilizations theory hasn’t yet infiltrated all academic thinking.

Trying my best to sound intellectual, I shared my 20 years of direct engagement with Muslims–on their turf–first as a corporate executive and now as a humanitarian.  Bus the answer to their question was simple.  When dealing with the Muslim world, dare to lift the secular veil on your personal values.  If you want to be respected, be more transparent with your motivators, your values and your beliefs.  That’s it.

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