Monday, October 23, 2006

Islam as the enemy - according to Mark Steyn

Through my window today . . .
The front cover of Macleans, October 23, 2006. A sea of black burkas and a defiant little girl's face, eyes glaring into the camera. WHY THE FUTURE BELONGS TO ISLAM: The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambition. The WEST is old, barren and exhausted. Mark Steyn maps the new world order, p.30.
Steyn writes about the world as if it were a conflict between Islam and everyone else, a standard worldview for the neo-cons and frightened conservatives generally. The Bush administration has used this brand of fear mongering to lead us to believe that there are only two groups in the world, ie. the freedom-hating rogue states predominantly in the Middle East and Asia (North Korea) and the freedom-loving West. (I'm not sure when or how he intends to link the communist/Islamic enemy, but the attempt wouldn't surprise me.)
Are we really engaged in an ideological struggle that Islamists are bound to win because of their rapid population growth? Is Middle East tension really about Islamic fundamentalists' ambitions to rid the world of infidels and establish theocracies around the world, ridding us finally of the plague of liberal democracy? Or is this a preferred picture neo-conservatives want us to believe in while they fight their colonialist war for economic domination? (Think oil, for instance.)
The world is not two neat camps. This I know. The "West" is not an ideological monolith, and neither is Islam. Seems to me when we do our regular daily tasks cooperatively with each other on a fair and equitable basis, we Christians (for instance) and Muslims can get along very well, without any need to expunge the other.
The American administration has got us all seeing their "war on terrorism" as a kind of Christian jihad with "freedom" and "democracy" at stake. Steyn's article tends to push us further in that direction. When will we deal with economic justice, which is far more likely to form the heart of the matter than is religious fundamentalism of any stripe? Read the Old Testament prophets again. Major and minor, they all emphasize that economic and legal justice are vital concerns to the God whom we Jews, and we Christians, and we Muslims all adore and seek to serve.
Mark Steyn, write about that and you may discover something of value in analyzing world events.

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