The greatest ideological struggle in the post-communist era is, so the media tells us, the struggle against radical Islam. Unfortunately, the media oracle feeds us conflicting messages on what the real issue is and how it can be solved. Like any issue that involves political zombies, America has two irreconcilable visions of the problem, and two radically different solutions. But, as is true with many issues in American politics: both sides are wrong. This is part two of a two-part series dealing with the problems Americans have with understanding and responding to radical Islam. You can find part one here.
I meant to post this earlier, but I was hitting the mojitos pretty hard at lunch today, and well, that has consequences.
Now for the left, which is as one might imagine, not right. Their basic response to radical Islam is that we need to recreate Islam in our own image — creating a warm, fuzzy pro-abortion, pro-gay, non-violent form of Islam that looks more or less like American Episcopalianism with the addition of The Prophet. They argue that we need to encourage Muslims to follow touchy-feely liberal types, instead of the hard-line ascetic Salafists. Ultimately, Islam cannot be saved unless it is sufficiently “Westernized” and any sort of meaningful moral authority is eviscerated.
What’s the problem with that? Well, not much, if I’m a spineless moral relativist, who believes that the role of religion is to confirm the prejudices of the current age. But if I were a devout (but not radical) Muslim, I’d be furious at the elitist snobs, who can’t be bothered to worship their own God, but condescend to tell me how to worship mine. Imagine how the secular elite would react if King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia were to say, “We need to encourage moderate atheists to abandon their old-fashioned ideologies of abortion and homosexuality and embrace ideas more compatible with Islam?” I’d wager good money they’d be furious and fill the blogosphere and new media with their ranting… and I’d have no sympathy whatsoever (what goes around comes around).
To expect that Islam will be reinvented because Uncle Sam (aka The Great Satan) says so is either unbelievable arrogant or monumentally naive. Personally, I have a fundamental problem with any government (including my own) trying to get all Caeseropapist. I don’t care whether it’s my religion or someone else’s, but I don’t want any state telling someone what the “right” version of their religion should be. To expect that the Muslim world will welcome the American vision for Islam and not brand those who share it infidel dogs who are traitors to the true faith is sheer delusion… which appears to be where the left is living these days.