Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who's Afraid of Islam?

The news story about a small Florida Christian group that plans to burn the Koran got me to thinking about all of the angst surrounding Islam. But first, some questions about their hare-brained idea. Why associate yourself with Nazism? Why pick September 11, when we should be remembering the bravery and sacrifice that prevented the tragedy of those attacks from being worse? Why give evidence to those who find a moral equivalence between Christianity and Jihadism? (Warning: Last link may induce vomiting.) Are you guys crackheads? I just can't figure out any other explanation.

But I digress. There seems to be a great fear of Islam among conservatives. My only fear is that some jihadist moron will slip through our crack security system and kill some of us. With regards to the larger issues, Western culture and religion will prevail over the medievalist interpretation of Islam for a number of reasons, religious, cultural and political.

1. Religion. Fundamental Islam has not reconciled itself with modernity. Its treatment of women is appalling, even if considered enlightened by 8th century A.D. standards. By contrast, Christianity fundamentally considers every man and woman equal in the eyes of God. Further, Christianity has thousands of years of intellectual tradition from some of the finest scholars to explain its tenets. The Bible is translated into far more languages than the Koran and there is not even general agreement in Islam that the Koran should be translated out of Arabic. Judeo-Christian values suffuse the moral compass of most of the world, even that of Western atheists, not that they would admit it. Christianity has a way of renewing itself to meet the challenges it faces in the world. African Episcopalians are leading the fight against Anglican church's acceptance of homosexuality, for instance, because they must compete with Islam for the hearts and souls the people on that continent.

2. Culture. The culture of Islam is too puritanical to succeed indefinitely. Even if Western culture is often too "decadent" or infused with the culture of pornography, it is not hopelessly so. Taliban prohibitions on alcohol, requirements for the burqa, and rules about which vegetables men or women may handle do not strike the educated as sensible. Further, Western culture is richer in content and more liberating than Muslim culture. But strict Islamists reject every facet of Western culture and cannot cope with the inevitable intersection of cultures that result from a global, networked economy.

3. Political. Fundamental Islam is antithetical to democracy. This was articulated during the insurgency in Iraq, where al-Qaeda in Iraq actually argued that they had to kill fellow Muslims to prevent them from voting, because by voting, they might commit a sin by voting against Allah's will. This is not a serious ideological challenge. No serious person, except maybe Thomas Friedman, thinks that any other form of government is preferable to democracy. How can one take seriously a political challenge from an ideology that advocates theocracy? Even Kim Jong Il call his country a Democratic Republic for crying out loud, but Islamists are unapologetic in their disdain for democracy. Are you kidding?

For these reasons and so many others, I am supremely confident that radical Islam is not up to the challenge of Western democracy, particularly as practiced in America. Fell free to build a mosque, but stand by for an onslaught of the most successful political-economic system the world has ever seen.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. B-Daddy, well said.

    But as a challenge, can jihadists possibly prevail because of the hedgehog principle?

  3. Dean,
    Good challenge. But I say no, because the hedgehog knows a true principal, I can't think of an eternal truth that is at the core of radical Islam. It seems dedicated to tyranny, anti-semitism and mistreatment of women.