Can Islam live with the rest of the World?
But Mr Bush was staking his bet on the assumption that the Islamists were not speaking for Islam; that the worlds Muslims long for modernity; that they are themselves repelled by the violence of the terrorists; that, most significantly, Islam is in its nature a religion that can be internalized, like the worlds other great religions, and that the traditional Islamic aspiration to conjoin worldly political with otherworldly spiritual authority had somehow gone away.
The question, But what if they are not? was never seriously raised, because it could not be raised behind the mud curtain of political correctness that has descended over the Western academy and intelligentsia. Ideas have consequences, and the idea that Islam imagines itself in a fundamental, physical conflict with everything outside of itself, is an idea with which people in the contemporary West are morally and intellectually incapable of coming to terms. Hence our continuing surprise at everything from bar-bombings in Bali, to riots in France, to the Danish cartoon apoplexy.
My own views on the issue have been aloof. More precisely, they have been infected with cowardice. I am so post-modern myself that I, too, find it almost impossible to think through the corollaries from our worlds hardest fact. And that fact is: the post-Christian West is out of its depth with Islam.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble 2006-03-12