The Washington Post’s Fouad Ajami poses this question, and works to answer it, which is rather strange, considering that so many Liberals constantly tell us that it’s not the 1.3 billion plus Muslims who are bat guano violent, just a small minority. Ajami seems to be saying that all are like this, at least in the Middle East.
Modernity requires the willingness to be offended. And as anti-American violence across the Middle East and beyond shows, that willingness is something the Arab world, the heartland of Islam, still lacks.
Time and again in recent years, as the outside world has battered the walls of Muslim lands and as Muslims have left their places of birth in search of greater opportunities in the Western world, modernity — with its sometimes distasteful but ultimately benign criticism of Islam — has sparked fatal protests. To understand why violence keeps erupting and to seek to prevent it, we must discern what fuels this sense of grievance.
I’d suggest because so many of their values, and I’m speaking of Islamists, not Muslims as a whole, are left in the 13th century. Ajami then goes on to describe how the Muslim world went on to conquer, or, as he writes, “overran”, so much of Europe, Arabia, and Northern Africa, before
The ruling caliphate, with its base in Baghdad, was torn asunder by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century.
Apparently they’re still a little pissed about that, and haven’t been able to move on and join us here in the 21st century.
The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst — and the outsiders were unsparing in their judgments. They belittled the military prowess of the Arabs, and they were scandalized by the traditional treatment of women and the separation of the sexes that crippled Arab society.
And there you go: it’s the fault of the Western World, the 1st World, and most assuredly America, that these regressives who aren’t capable of modern military tactics, incapable of using their modern military arms correctly (let’s not forget that tiny Israel kicked the asses of multiple Arab countries multiple times), treat their women as chattel, marry off girls as young as 11, treat gays horrendously, and so much more.
Even as Arabs insist that their defects were inflicted on them by outsiders, they know their weaknesses. Younger Arabs today can be brittle and proud about their culture, yet deeply ashamed of what they see around them. They know that more than 300 million Arabs have fallen to economic stagnation and cultural decline. They know that the standing of Arab states along the measures that matter — political freedom, status of women, economic growth — is low. In the privacy of their own language, in daily chatter on the street, on blogs and in the media, and in works of art and fiction, they probe endlessly what befell them.
Yet, they aren’t trying to modernize: the Islamists are attempting to keep their culture in the 13th century while still using many devices of the modern era. They want a Renaissance of the pre-13th century, where they conquer the world and force people to either accept their hardcore version of Islam or kill them. They don’t want political freedom: they want compliance in a fascist/theological world wide caliphate. They want an ultra-paternalistic culture, where women need 4 witnesses if they are raped, where women can only be seen in public with either their husband or a male member of their family, while wearing a burka, of course. Economic growth with the Middle East is solely based on their oil: without it, what economy they have would collapse. Making IEDs isn’t a huge market force.
Ajami continues on in that vein for quite some time, but he never gets to the root of the matter, namely that in mosques and madrasas around the world Muslims are being taught the regressive, Sharia compliant, hardcore version of Islam, particularly within the Muslim nations. More and more are being indoctrinated into the culture of hate, if you will. Until Muslims stand up and say “hey, it’s time to get over the 13th century and reform,” things won’t change. In fact, they’ll continue to get worse.