I am reminded of Huntington's famous turn of phrase, "the bloody borders of Islam." He was, of course, referring specifically to those regions with Muslim minorities that bordered Islamic regimes, and their apparent inability to live under non-Islamic governments (see independence movements in the Philippines, Thailand, China, Chechnya, successfully imposed in Cyprus and Kosovo, unrest in Nigeria, to name a few, and the advance of de facto Muslim self-governing enclaves in France, the Netherlands, Britain, etc.) Huntington's posited that Muslims, due to the particularities of their beliefs and culture, had trouble assimilating into non-Islamic societies, leading to separatism. I find it intriguing this hold of Islam, so much so that the educated elite--even those raised in northern Virginia--are just as susceptible to radicalism, if not more so, than the poor tribesman.
Last week, I recall listening to CNN's Christianne Amanpour interview two Muslim spokesmen about this very thing. I perked up and listened closer when I heard the phrase "cultural humiliation" tossed out. This, of course, gets at the frustration many Muslims feel, assured as they are that their system is superior, all the while forced to acknowledge the backwardness of these very same cultures.
While a valid concept, it is tiresome to hear this continually trotted out as some kind of excuse. But it does approach the real point, and one that nobody can actually really say. It seems to me that the problem with Islam is that we pretend there is no problem with Islam. There is. And I find little support for the notion that Islam can somehow be reformed. It can't really, due to the nature of the belief and the underlying document. It sounds harsh, but all we can do is limit, wherever possible, the expansion and influence of such a culture where it does not already hold sway. It has been said by many observers who we are does not motivate such madness. Rather, it is what we do. And one of the things we are doing is fighting Muslims in 2 foreign countries. While this fact alone might not be sufficient reason to change our course, it is the height of foolishness not to recognize the straight-line correlation between our foreign policy adventures and these acts of domestic terrorism. To use a over-used current phrase--"I'm just saying...."
I have attached links to a few related stories of interest.
Political Islam is an outgrowth of modern secular fascism. In the Middle East, the mosque was the only place you could discuss politics safely, where the government wouldn't touch you, so Islam became politicized. That's the model that the Muslim Brotherhood followed and brought to the United States. They were the ones who built mosques.
This has been a frustrating thing for me as a Muslim activist. Many Muslims disagree with political Islam, but they're not pressured to take on the mosque leadership. So you have discussions in the mosque going far beyond theology and the example of the Prophet; imams use the pulpit, or minbar as it's called in Arabic, to discuss politics. I've sent this over and over again in mosques I've attended.
This from an excellent interview with Syrian-American Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, here.
In 1982, the leftist intellectual Susan Sontag caused a scandal by saying that someone who read only Reader's Digest would have been better informed about the realities of communism than someone who read only leading left-liberal magazines. Similarly, a contemporary American who gets his information about American Islam from a discerning read of the blogosphere will be better informed than the mainstream media's audience.
Rod Dreher, in Will we ever wake up to Islamic radical threat? here.
Saying Islamic terrorists just “hate our freedom,” is a childish and dangerous fantasy that has already led to thousands of deaths, both American and foreign. Saying Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam is a fantasy that is just as childish and just as dangerous, which led to the deaths of 13 innocent victims in Fort Hood last week.
From Casualties of Diversity by Jack Hunter, here.
In the following link, a convert from Islam to evangelical Christianity debates a Muslim spokesman (2007). I am not at all convinced that these sorts of things do much good, but it was enlightening to see just how unused to honest debate Muslims can be. The religion of Islam has never been open to questioning and inquiry in the way that the Christian faith has--and it shows in this debate. We are often accused (rightly) of not knowing much about Islam. If this spokesman is representative, then they know even less about the basic tenets of Christianity.
Is Islam a Religion of Peace, here.
And finally, there is this. Daniil Sysoyev, a Russian Orthodox priest in Moscow, was gunned down and killed in church by a masked assailant. Fr. Daniil ministered to Muslims and believed that it was a sin not to preach to them. He had reported baptized 80 former Muslims. Official Islamic organizations in Russia condemned the killing, as would be expected. One wonders, if such a thing had happened in an Islamic country (such as Egypt), would there be any condemnation? I think not. So yes, there is a problem with Islam.