I have just read an interesting article
(link to the site
), that discusses Islam. It is not the best article I have read on the subject, mostly because the writing itself is not excellent. And, while it relies on some information on the history of Islam that is consistent with what I have read in reliable sources, like Bernard Lewis, other information may need some verification. Also, I have no idea who the author is.
All that said, the writer makes some interesting points that I have not seen elsewhere, but that are consistent with historical facts, as noted above. The major idea of the article is that Islam is a religion that was designed as a tool to support Arab imperialism and the Arab warrior culture. This strongly echoes what I have written here
. While it is very important to examine Islam while analyzing the current conflict, it is a mistake to focus on Islam as the root of the problem. Instead, one has to focus on the larger Arab culture, Islam being an integral part of it.
It is true that there are many Muslims that take part in this war against the West who are not Arabs. And it is also probably a fact that by now most Muslims in the world are not Arabs. But I would argue that they are mere followers, who do so for a variety of reasons specific to their particular situation. Also, if one looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is clear that its origins have nothing to do with religion at all. Most Palestinian Arabs and their PLO leadership were largely secular until around 80ies, when movements like Hamas and Islamic Jihad came into being.
To say that Islam is at the root of this war is like saying that Nazism was at the root of WWII. This would be totally ignoring the long history of German imperialism and belligerency, which long predated the rise of Nazism. Nazism was, among other things, a tool that served those tendencies. And the fact is that the US still has a military presence in Germany, long after Nazism has been defeated: we are there in large part to make sure that Germans don’t misbehave again, under whatever ideology/religion. What about the Japanese and the Italians? They followed for their own particular reasons, while at least the Italians adopted the Nazi “religion” to some extent.
My goal is not to vilify Arabs as a people, just like it would be a mistake to do this to Germans. Most people in every nation or ethnic group are, after all, just that – people. Most want to live their lives as happily as they can. But some cultures have traits that can be threatening to others, under certain circumstances. I believe that the Arab culture is such one now, and, in fact, has been for several centuries.
An important point has to be made here: when we use the word Arabs, we have to keep in mind that the Arab nation consists of many sub-nations and ethnic groups. While all of them have a lot in common, there are also important differences. Thus, they exhibit different degrees of belligerency and imperialism. In this context it is interesting to note that Islam, as a warrior religion, originated in Arabia, and Arabia is still at its center. We all know that this is where the problem is. My gut feeling is that Egypt is a close second – I might be wrong, of course.
And, of course, it does not at all mean that we have to attack Saudi Arabia first, and then proceed to Egypt – this is nonsense, and it has been explained extensively elsewhere. Moreover, I find it significant and even symbolic that we will start with Iraq, which may be the least Islamic, the least backwards, and even the least belligerent (current “leader” notwithstanding) Muslim Arab nation. It is the most logical place to start the reform of the Arab culture, including its religion.
if you follow the links from this post to my earlier ones, you will eventually reach a link to Steve DenBeste's
debate on the subject with Aziz Poonawalla
. And, last but not least: Charles Krauthammer, as always, nails