I am sure many of you have heard the joke: An Arab meets one of the screenwriters from Star Trek and says “Hey, how come there are no Muslims on the Starship Enterprise?” The screenwriter replies “Because the story is set in the future.”
But many of the most puritanical and intolerant Muslims have their eyes very much on the future. Over on the Social Affairs Unit‘s blog, William Ridgeway has writen an interesting piece called “Those Drunken, Whoring Saudis: Desert Islam’s problem with women”:
Encroaching modernity has resulted in an increase in the place and power of Desert Islam in everyday society. Contrary to widespread Western beliefs about the trajectory of the Middle East as a hesitant but inevitable climb to liberal democracy, the region is actually going the other way – fast. Academics call this “Islamicisation”, the spread of radical Shi’a and Wahhabi beliefs and practices throughout the region. Because of this trend, the Middle East one sees nowadays is nothing like it was, say, fifty years ago. Around the 1950s, about the time oil was being discovered in the Gulf, many Muslim nations were relatively liberal by today’s standards. Alcohol flowed freely, women went uncovered and there was lively public debate about “Ataturk’s way”, the separation of Islam and state, modernisation, and dialogue with the West. The Middle East seemed to be going in the right direction.
Saudi oil changed all that.
I still think in the long run secular western civilisation will crush radical Islam under its sheer weight but it is an interesting article. Read the whole thing.