What’s Wrong inside Islam?

Cartoon from irReligion.org.

I’m no expert on Islam, and with 1/3 of the world’s nations and cultures committed to this second largest world religion (behind Christianity), it is puerile to generalise.  But as I see it, there are some significant strains at work that impact directly on geo-political matters, especially in the West.

Ex-UK PM Tony Blair, for example, has established an interfaith-faith trust thats seeks detente and accord between the world’s diversity.  This is laudable, but I think flawed, as it approaches the Middle East and the Muslim world from a Christian (and Western) mindset.

Similarly US Prez Barack Obama has reached out to the Muslim world (his big Cairo speech, his Iran meetings and negotiations, his Sept. TV Ads trying to connect with the Palestinians) seeking appeasement, apology and cooperation. Again, Obama seems to be approaching these cultures from an American mindest of the value of diversity and of Christian love and cooperation that underpins Western democracy historically and culturally.

Where I disagree with them, is that emergent Islam is infused with extremism based on a deep-seated historic insecurity. Unlike Communism in China, no where in the world has Islam achieved the same level of prosperity and  social cohesion or modernity as any of the nations of the West. Most of these nations have remained backward, oppressed and ignorant on the back of nepotism, corruption, and oppressive oligarchies or dictatorships of a type reminiscent of the old Caliphates of ancient times.

Adrian Hamilton in the Independent says “Islam has the political weakness of being largely unstructured, unlike Christina churches.  But it has the strength of a common language and universal belief: Adopting the habits of an outwardly sober religious devotion is a route to belonging and a way of restoring pride. Non-religious countries do this through nationalism whereas the Arab nationalism of the post-colonial era is felt to have failed in a mire of corruption and genuflection to Western interests.” 

Newly connected educated Gen Ys in the Muslim world are seeking a new way; trying to construct a new modern Islam.  Hamilton again, “the rise of conservative religion in the Islamic world is being led as much by the educated young as it is by the less well-educated old.”

This is what I believe the Arab Spring was all about.  But into this discontent have marched extremist military groups, reactive and hurt by Western imperialism, and social and economic imbalance.  Some of them are religious.  So the reactions we’ve seen to cartoons, books, films, is a religious reaction (umbrage against their Prophet and god as Allah) but this has to also be understood as the essence of their nationalism, and social and cultural identity.  Their protests are as much a desire to re-express their own Islamic and national pride, self-worth and destiny, as religious quackery or murderous reaction to the West, which they envy, hate, admire all at the same time.

It is in to this complex mix of troubled cross-cultural but unified religious human aspirations that the West must apply itself, if we are ever to dissipate the huge geo-political forces at work in the early 21st C.

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About coNZervative

A blog about politics, life, culture, literature, music and thought from Christchurch, New Zealand [NZ] (the home of 10,000 earthquakes since 4 Sept. 2010) built because of the bullying and cajoling of Liberal opinion-makers (journalism and Hollywood) against conservative-minded people who are as entitled to opinion and a perspective as anyone; and because Conservativism has served the world well. John Stringer is a New Zealander (Christchurch) in his 40s married to an American from Taco Bell; they have 5 adult children in 3 diff. countries. John is an ex-Anglican pastor, a teacher, published author (NZ), novelist (USA) and cartoonist (Aust, NZ), and has spent the last 25 years in NZ politics with the National party (he was a parliamentary candidate in 1999). There was a stint in London working for the British Conservative party as well, where he did media minding and campaign work with several Brit cabinet ministers, including Baroness Thatcher, Baroness Blatch, Michael Howard, Tom King, among others. He has an MA (classical studies, Victoria); is a graduate of the New York Film Academy; and has various awards for writing. His passions include British bulldogs, fly fishing, and history (Ancient and WWII). Winston Churchill was mainly a “Conservative” but also a “Liberal” MP between 1900-1964. A Member of Parliament for 64 years, he contested 21 parliamentary elections (for Oldham, Manchester North West, Dundee, and Epping/Woodford). Throughout his career Churchill stood for liberty. He believed in open debate and freedom of speech, and opposed any system or ideology that tried to dictate the way one should think. Churchill felt deeply that disagreements within the democratic system should not degenerate into personal animosities. RIDER: This site is not connected to nzconservative, a Catholic site, or NZ Conservative Party, although from time-to-time I share some of the views espoused by both groups and other sites I follow, as published; I am an independent thinker and blogger.
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