Time for a episode of “Ask The Muslim”:
So, now, let’s turn to the issue of Islamic extremism. Just like neo-Nazis, Islamic extremists are ultimately responsible for their own hateful ideology and for their own actions, but at the same time, we can recognize that the West’s (particularly, America’s) tireless intervention in and aggression against Muslim societies is radicalizing people and causing them to join the Islamic extremist circus.
Bingo. Crowd goes wild. What I tend to find is that non-Muslims understand very well what Islamic terrorists have done since the Iran incident (the Munich Olympics were interpreted, correctly, as political and not religious) but really don’t want to talk about how the West has been meddling in the region, and not in a good way, since WW1.
So, the Middle East (and North Africa, for that matter) was all a set of colonial protectorates that broke down traditional tribal and religious lines. Point here is that the setting was already in place to create nations that were internally at war with one another. Iraq was a mix between Kurds, Arab Shias, Persian Shias; Syria was even more of a mess, with a 20% Christian population broken up between two Orthodox sects and some groups with Papal allegiance, Arab Shias, Sunnis, and some other smaller Muslim sects (of which Assad belongs to, it should be said).
After WW2, a bunch of artificial nations were created in the Middle East. If your parents, your children or your neighbors were killed by American bombs, you’re going to be left with lots of hatred in your heart. If your democratically elected government has been overthrown and your country is being run by an unpopular American-installed puppet (e.g., the Shah in Iran back in the day), you’re going to become a perfect target for extremist would-be-theocrats, like the Ayatollah Khomeini. This is just common sense.
Exactly. The general view in the West today is that the West has to intervene in the Middle East to keep it from becoming a warring powderkeg. However, the general view in the Middle East is that it’s a warring powderkeg BECAUSE the West keeps intervening.
Recent Example: This agreement that Obama cut with Iran late into his presidency. He doesn’t give the Iranians geopolitical rivals (Israel and Saudi Arabia) a seat at the table, and cuts a deal which fattens the bank account of the Iranians, giving them a leg up for regional domination. Most people in the Middle East simply thought to themselves “Here we go again. The US just can’t keep their fracking fingers out of our business, and things are going to get worse again, just like every other time they try to “fix us.”
The important question is less the passages themselves and more how those passages are interpreted by actual practitioners of these faiths. Today, very few Jews and Christians interpret many of the more violent and extreme passages literally. We had the Reformation. But before the Reformation, we had the Crusades, our own analogue to Muslim jihad. Islam has also undergone its own transformation, and unfortunately, the transformation has gone in the opposite direction, where the literalist and hard-line Salafi/Wahhabi branches of Islam have proliferated en masse in the last two centuries.
Exactly. The Law of Moses has just as many noxious elements as does Sharia Law. They are both examples of religious governance systems. So, why aren’t the Jews stoning adulterers?
Well, the Jews came to realize that they are not *required* to live, or force others to live, under the Law of Moses in order to live out their religion; if they live in a secular state, the observant Jew adheres to the Law to the extent that it doesn’t conflict with secular law. And everything works out from there.
Although you’re correct that Islam had a Reformation and the literalists won, we have not yet had this “second reformation” where Muslims realize that simply because it says in Sharia Law that an adulterer SHOULD be stoned, that doesn’t mean that the adulterer MUST be stoned. The Jews had two millennia to figure out how to live in nonJewish societies; however, living in nonMuslim societies is a new thing for Muslims. The instinct to hold on to religious ways is very strong in the immigrant generation; not so strong in the subsequent generations. This doesn’t mean that we *secularize*, but we *adapt*. This takes a bit of time.
But second and more importantly, the real point I’m making about admitting people who are skilled and educated and have employment lined up is that the main thing we want to avoid is what they have in Europe: big Muslim ghettos.
Bingo. Europe has allowed the development of Muslim neighborhoods which are impoverished and where high unemployment is rampant. We’ve avoided this. Our largest Muslim community, in Dearborn MI, became MORE affluent with the Muslim influx.
These are the kinds of immigrants we want, whether from Muslim societies or elsewhere, and we want to absorb these people slowly enough that they have time to assimilate into American culture and norms because we don’t want veiled women walking around on our streets or arguing about whether they get to have their driver’s license photos taken with their hijabs and niqabs on.
Well, nobody in the Muslim world allows driver’s license photos with niqabs on, either. Last time I was in Istanbul, I was in the middle of a large group in the passport line from (probably) one of the Gulf States; all the women were in black abayas wearing black niqabs. They get up to the passport officer, off comes the niqab for identification. Nobody thinks twice about it. This kind of stuff only comes from ultrapious Muslim converts, in my experience.