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Discussion Point XXXIX

Putting your wishes aside – whatever they may be – what is likely to be the state of Islam ten years from now?

48 comments to Discussion Point XXXIX

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    The state of Islam will be more or less the same as it is now, just as it has remained more or less the same since the 7th Century.

    The reason for this is of course that Islam is the only religion that I have ever heard of that considers innovation a sin (Bid’ah). They have doctrinal debates about whether all innovation is sinful, but even the moderates look on newness as something they don’t quite trust.

    So we’ll still have the Imams who sound very nice in English, but who sound like homicidal maniacs in Arabic. Par for the course, then.

    The state of the world’s Muslims however may be quite different, in particular the state of the nations in which they reside. In 10 years time I suspect Pakistan will have finished it’s slide into Taliban-style extremism. Given that they have nuclear weapons, neither America nor Israel will permit this to go unchecked.

    Iran also will have to be attacked to prevent it gaining nuclear weapons. Iraq will have immediately collapsed into a chaotic trbal theocracy once the Americans leave, so they’ll need to come right back again. America may well find itself having to engage in a permanent occupation of several pockets of the Middle East in order to prevent a slide into chaos.

    Osama Bin Laden 2.0 (whoever that turns out to be) will declare a Holy War on America. Muslims will brummie accents will go “on holiday” to the Middle East a lot to join in the fighting.

    The Saudis will make all the right Anti-American noises in public while secretly supporting the American war efforts to ensure the continued flow of the Spice (ummm… I mean oil ;-))

    America will find itself massively overstretched and will begin to face significant defeats.

    This will have major implications for oil prices, potential nucelar terrorism, and the standing of America on the global stage. We may well see China in the ascendency, although their self-indiced demographic crisis may fortunately check their ambitions before long.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    Ankle-deep in blood, gore and body bits, as the Crusaders pass through the town.


  • Randolph Carter


  • Eurymachus

    Chaos and more chaos would be my prediction. They are driven by a massive civilisational inferiority complex vis a vis the West.

    The only solutions they are able to doctrinally and intellectually accept however are backward looking and reactionary and this will never result in the equality and even superiority that they seek in comparison to the West.

    And these constant failures will only result in more splintering more obscure groups, more violence and discord and more chaos.

  • mdc

    Afghanistan – US will be gone and crazies will either have taken over again or at least established practical autonomy in major parts of the country.

    Iran – Will either have been attacked (unlikely occupied) or be a key’s turn from the bomb.

    Pakistan – Will probably have broken from the US completely once Afghanistan is over, aligning with China instead. Will be faced with an increasingly precarious future as it fails to develop in the face of rapidly growing India.

    Iraq – Probably the most stable country, with continuing US oversight of a seemingly strong democratic government. Joining Saudi as a goes-along-but-secretly-hates-us quasi-ally in the Middle East.

    Arab Spring countries – Lunatics take over asylum, agitate for war with Israel but ruin their economies too much to make it happen.

    Europe – Larger % of the population and more influential voting bloc.

    In the long term, I feel that only that last one is going to have much significance.

  • Alsadius

    Basically the same as at present, really.

  • the other rob

    Just to offer an alternative, there’s always the hope (however faint) that groups of officers in the various armies will do an Ataturk and turn out the mad mullahs, leading to an era of peace and prosperity among secular states.

    It has happened before (also, to a lesser extent in Egypt) and might again, once the Arab Spring is recognised for the fundie enabling disaster that it is and a generation of Western diplomats have retired.

  • It took Europeans about 200 years to go from the reformation to the enlightenment. The Wars of Religion, the Thirty Years War and all the other conflicts of that age were pretty bloody and were often accompanied by nasty mob violence. The Saint Bartholomew’s day massacre in France for example.

    Islam will probably require at least as long to transform itself. Nuclear weapons throw a spanner into those works.

    We are in for an interesting century or so.

  • Eurymachus

    The problem as I see it Taylor is that I am not sure that a similar process is possible in Islam.

    Islam is often presented as just there different version of Christianity. But in many ways it is fundamentally different. Christianity has been from its beginning about the individual. It operated and grew from within the Roman Empire a system that alternated between uncaring neglect and brief periods of violent hostility.

    It was of course co-opted by the Empire and the elites but that germ of individualism never left it and a big part of the reformation on the part of Luther and others was a perceived return to a more individual Christianity like was practiced in its early years.

    Islam from the start was and is unconcerned with the individual. Islam is submission, submission to God but also submission to the ideal community as already revealed and documented. There is nothing as such for some Islamic ‘Luther’ to react against.

    I just don’t see the Islamic world as having the fertile ground necessary for any sort of process of reformation and enlightenment to take hold.

  • Russ in Texas

    State of Islam, 2019, my $.02.

    1. European muslim birthrates fall in line with those of society. They form a deeply conservative and occasionally restive substrate who are only really a factor b/c of the European refusal to reproduce. Metapolitics is up in the air, like everything else, depending on how and to what extent European governments can reform and strengthen their “social states.”
    2. In Canada, Australia, and the US, they gradually mellow out to a degree not seen in Europe b/c the emigres are a bit different and because they their women are accustomed to be treated politely and fairly as a matter of course — muslim women insist that their spouses should be their deep friends, not merely their husbands.
    3. England — all bets are off, as England doubles down on multi-culti behavior, with its government occasionally actively getting in the way of assimilation. Like Europe, meta-scale factors influence this heavily, in this case the ability of the surveillance-state to either mainstream or marginalize individuals at cultural fringes.
    4. Africa — Arab Africa remains more or less at war with sub-saharan Africa, but the balance of power is starting to shift notably in favor of the Sub-Saharans, whose economic dynamism and personal energy far surpasses that of the desert north.
    5. Mediterranean — similar to today, but the Saudis are beginning to have trouble funding their international terrorist network: they still have oil money, but it’s counting less and less, and the Israelis and Kurds are able to match them dollar for dollar.
    6. Iran — I’m on Long Bets as saying that Iran would be a democracy by 2015. Sadly, the Green Revolution couldn’t muster enough force to hold off the Basiji thugs, but I still hope for change here. I think more realistically will be more or less status quo, with Iran’s influence in Central Asia continuing to wane, as it has very, very little to offer.
    7. SE Asia: relatively little change except in Thailand, where conservatives force the issue in the south and then are pounded HARD by the Thai military. In the Philippines, “extremist” is now fully synonymous with “criminal gang.”
    8. Elsewhere: Central/South America sees some waning Iranian influence (not that it’s been all THAT large). Central Asia sees very little action. Xinjiang remains prostrate as the Han leadership is looking for any excuse to distract people from the PRC’s crappy governance.

  • Slartibartfarst

    Putting your wishes aside – whatever they may be – what is likely to be the state of Islam ten years from now?

    In answer: Over the next decade, and certainly judging by the way things have been going since 911 at least, the demographics of the existing and increasing migration of Islamic peoples to Western countries, and the existing and increasing growth of dhimmitude, appeasement and jizyah will help to ensure the bringing to fruition of the Caliphate and the Islamic supremacy commanded by Allah in the Koran.

    Right now, aided at last by the US and other co-operative Western nations, the previous blasphemous American puppet dictatorships and other oppressive regimes in the Middle East are being swept aside by the Arab Spring. This has now enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to proceed with its holy task of increasing the spread of the Caliphate and as long promised by Allah.

    The West is progressively acculturating to Islam. The Islamic faith and Shariah laws are seen as positive things and are progressively being accepted/adopted into Western nations’ laws – e.g., via the UN and separately including in such host countries as the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, USA, Australia and Canada. In the US, there is even a mosque to be built in New York at Ground Zero, in honour of 911. The mosque is to be aptly named Cordoba House – a reference to the city of Córdoba, which was the capital of the Islamic caliphate that controlled the Iberian peninsula of Southern Spain during the Middle Ages.

    This further enables the Muslim Brotherhood to proceed with its openly proclaimed and – in the case of the US, well-documented – mission objective of increasing the spread of the Caliphate by peaceful means, through the proper and legal mechanisms afforded by the host countries.

    In ten years’ time, Islam – “The Religion of Peace”™ – could well have finally brought about a blissful global peace and harmony that would have previously been unknown to mankind, and all this will have been accomplished by Muslims working assiduously in the service of and to the glory of Allah.

  • I agree with Taylor above, when he talks about “Reformation” as what is happening now in Islam, and “the enlightenment” as the next, and entirely different and distinct phase in the story. “Reformation” sounds so idealistic and nice. In practice it was very bellicose and intolerant, either the excuse or the reason for huge wars, depending on your preferred explanation of the motivations for all the fighting. Toleration only came later, after the various versions of Christianity had fought each other to a stand-still.

    Eurymachus, I believe that, perhaps because “Reformation” sounds nice to you, you conflate these two stages (in your defence you are only one of many, many people I have read on the www doing this), as if Luther was all about “enlightenment”, or even, God help us, toleration. What he was about was purifying the church, ridding it of corruption. He wanted a church that was far less tolerant of corruption and doctrinal laxity and worldly indulgence. He was the leader of people who were arriving at mass literacy for the first time, and studying the Bible direct, finding their own messages in it, crafting their own excuses from it for mayhem and religious turmoil.

    This is the stage Islam is at now. And I think that there is room for hope that things will calm down, much as Christianity did.

    However, I think Islam may prove harder to rebrand as toleration and enlightenment, peace and quiet.

    The Bible is a huge rag-bag of notions, written by many different people at many different times. You can make it mean whatever you want it to mean. If you want it to mean being nice to everyone, there is more than enough there to work with.

    The Koran is a much more tight and more clearly belligerent and divisive message, and as such much harder to reconcile, I would say, with “enlightenment” than Christianity was and is. In this respect it resembles Marxism-Leninism, and it has in common with that doctrine that it enthrones the proposition that whatever will advance the cause of Islam may – must! – be done, no matter how immoral you are being by all other standards. This means that Islam will never be trusted by the rest of us, and the conflict with the rest of the world will drag on for as long as Islam does.

    Perhaps the “enlightenment” phase of Islam will in fact happen, just as sketched out above, but will coincide not with the rebranding and civilising of Islam, but with millions upon millions of Muslims dumping Islam and replacing it entirely with a new and quite distinct doctrine, which (say) keeps Allah but sends Mohammed into retirement. Maybe many Muslims will convert to Christianity, and in such enormous numbers that Islam will be decisively weakened, and will never again be the force in the world that it is now.

    Communism proved in Russia, and is still proving in China, to be impossible to reconcile with being truly civilised. So, the Russians swept it away and went back to the drawing board, and the Chinese continue to chip away at what remains of their Communism in a way that strongly suggests eventual abolition of that too. The same kinds of things could happen to Islam, up to and including putting an end to the damn thing. I’m not saying anything so nonsensical as this being “inevitable”, but something like that is, I believe, at least imaginable. History has not stopped.

    Natalie: if any of the above happens, it will take much longer than one little decade. As for ten years hence, Islam will be no better, it will be much the same.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    The mohamedan world will have further cause for despondency, as Asia becomes more Christian. So expect periodic outbreaks of frustration.
    As for reform, that will always be a bad joke. Do you know who was the first muslim leader to order the assassination of a woman? to keep a slave, to wage war? It was the original leader, Mohamed. Since he was thought to embody a perfect life, the examples he set provide models for all Muslims, even if it is not found in the Koran.

  • Eurymachus

    Not at all Brian, I am aware that Luther was not about enlightenment and I am certainly aware not a particularly pleasant man for an atheist such as myself.

    In fact, that was largely my point – though perhaps incoherently stated. Luther wanted all those things that you stated, my point was that he saw the route to those things as being through greater individual awareness of the Bible and religious doctrine, i.e. greater individualism. Once the people were freed from the hierarchy of the Church then far from leading to what Luther wanted it led to all sorts of different places. One of which of course was Enlightenment.

    My point was that an Islamic reformation would NOT lead to that. A reformation for Islam, a return to its roots would lead to individualism being subsumed beneath the community. That is what all this talk of the Caliphate is about, yes the Caliphate was an empire historically but what it meant to Islam was the ideal of the perfect community. A return to Islamic roots.

  • Maybe this would be a good question for the contributors at the Jihadica blog to chew over.

  • Slartibartfast:

    I wrote my long comment above before reading your (very pessimistic) comment, posted just before I posted mine.

    You may be right about Islam being about to win, but I have far more faith than you in the resilience of Western Civilisation, as demonstrated during the last century or so. Yes, there has been lots of appeasement, and we are in another such phase now, during which the nature of the enemy is systematically ignored, and wishful thinking dominates. But when that doesn’t do the trick (mostly it does), the West then switches to attack mode, often with truly shocking ferocity. Think of how Western Civilisation appeased Communism, and then Nazism, but finally saw them both off.

    I used to meet people like you (just before the West, brilliantly lead during the decisive period by Ronald Reagan, won the Cold War), who said that Communism was infinitely powerful, bottomlessly cunning, endlessly resourceful, and we might as well give up right there. I took great pleasure in telling them that they were talking nonsense, and that they had no idea of the strength of Western Civilisation.

    This Islam v the Rest thing has been going on for far longer, and will be far harder to win. So I repeat: you could be right. But I think you are in fact going to be proved totally wrong. In a decade’s time, the West will still be here, and quite possibly on the offensive against Islam, not least because the West is getting closer to realising that Islam itself is the enemy, rather than a few nutters who are “betraying” Islam, wibble wibble.

    This kind of thing was also said about Nazism, which at first was confronted not as a major force that had entirely captured Germany and much else besides, but as a mad fringe group that the Germans could be persuaded with a few mere pamphlets to get rid of. But sense was eventually seen, and Nazi Germany was duly smashed. At which point Communism was the next box to be ticked, and that too was seen off, although in a more peaceful way, as was appropriate for the age of nuclear weapons.

    If I was a Muslim who was serious about it and wanted Islam to win, I would be feeling optimistic just now, but also (if I knew a bit about the West in particular and the rest of the world generally) rather afraid of what might be reaped in the way of a whirlwind.

    I do not mean by this that we should firebomb all the great cities of the Islamic world. I really hope it doesn’t come to that. And in general, please, if you are still reading this, do not jump to any conclusions about either how I define victory against Islam or about how I think that victory can and should be accomplished. (See my earlier comment for more about what victory for Civilisation against Islam might mean, at its most agreeable.)

    But victory should be the aim, and once we set at least some of our minds to it, there is every chance that victory against Islam will be achieved.

  • chuck

    I can’t say, but here are some possible events:

    1) Higher food prices and riots in Egypt propel Moslem Brotherhood to absolute power.

    2) Egypt makes war on Israel, outcome uncertain due to unknown degree of motivation of much large Egyptian population.

    3) Turkey, Iran, or both openly intervenes in Syria, civil war escalates with greater involvement of Saudi Arabia.

    4) Collapse of Euro and US withdrawal from region leads to power vacuum and war between the states, tribes, and clans.

    I haven’t the faintest idea what will happen in Northern Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, etc. I think a Moslem Christian war is possible along the dividing line in Africa. And pf course, let’s not forget the next ice age which will drive large numbers of former Europeans and Slavs into once Moslem areas 😉

  • RRS

    The standard lawyer’s answer probably applies: It all Depends …

    It all depends on whether Western Civilization has the beginnings of another expansion, or continues the course begun around 1898.

    It may well be that the manner of the conflicts at the periphery of Western Civilization will generate a series of “Western” reactions (similar to the intrusions into Iraq and Afghanistan, with some coming from Russia) that will reduce the flow of foodstuffs and much needed material into the current “core” areas now affected by drives to return to “purity.”

    The needs for food and material will likely stifle support from the mass of believers for conflict with the West, to which they will have to look for survival.

    Whether this will occur in the particular timeframe is by no means certain, but the stage is set. Egypt can not feed itself. The internal frictions indicate further fragmentation of (and conflicts among) the mass of believers. Islam, as we see it today, will certainly have begun to fragment within 10 years.

  • Rich Rostrom

    In ten years?

    Major changes are on the way.

    Saudi Arabia may crash into a sort of Malthusian wall. Its oil revenue will not be enough to provide its exponentially growing population with the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. Shale energy may bring real oil prices down, hammering Saudi Arabia even worse. Hyperinflation in the West could wipe out the value of Saudi sovereign debt holdings. This could lead to financial and political collapse of the Kingdom.

    The end of Saudi Arabia’s weath will overturn the financial balance in Islam. Right now most of the disposable money for Islamic religious activity comes from Saudi sources – the major reason, IMHO, for the Wahhabization of Islam in much of the world.

    The imminent crisis in Egypt will disrupt the Islamic world and its relations to the world. The Moslem Brotherhood has taken power in Egypt just as the Egyptian economy approaches collapse, with massive food shortages likely. They can’t fix this, and will be blamed. Also, in the resulting violent disorder, Egypt’s Christian population will be attacked by Islamists, producing either Holocaust-level death tolls or millions of refugees. This will be far more visible than the crimes of Sudan’s government.

    Another point goes to something I read a few years ago: Islamist rule sounds attractive to many people until they experience it. The people of Iran have already turned against it, and the regime holds power only by raw force. The Taliban made themselves very unpopular in Afghanistan. OTOH some Islamists are getting smarter and refraining from Taliban-level excesses.

    Yet another important point: fertility rates have been in major decline throughout the Moslem world (with a few exceptions). In another ten years, most Moslem countries will be at or below replacement fertility. Of course one question is whether this change is across the board or applies to some segments and not to others, which will reproduce faster and take over (i.e. relatively liberal urbanites being outbred by rural traditionalists).

    A final major point: Over one third of Moslems live in India and Indonesia. Islam in these countries is subject to special conditions applying nowhere else. In discussing the fate of Islam in aggregate, these populations loom far larger than say Libya or even Iran.

  • lucklucky

    The West continue to repeat the same mistakes…over over and over. Rewards the extremists and the thugs against the moderate muslims like the West rewarded the reckless Hitler against the prudent Generals in Reichskriegsministerium. The political victories Hitler got over West in 30’s made it possible for him to dismiss the Generals concerns. The Generals keep saying that Hitler gambles would end bad, in the end Hitler pretty much won all gambles due to Western stupidity and cowardice.
    When Hitler choose war there wasn’t any general left that could resist his winning political reputation.
    For a good primer http://www.wargamer.com/article/3188/book-review-shattered-genius-the-decline-and-fall-of-the-german-general-staff-in-world-war-ii

    Unless the moderates Muslim rise, then the Islamic Totalitarians will keep winning and extending power.
    The Western world has the Left that wants to destroy it, it pretty much dominates the culture, media, academy, and now the Government. The Right is mostly a Socialist Right since the only thing it does consistently is to rise taxes and or debt. It only exists a token.

    Expect to see much more pictures of western women with the veil.

    The choice of the Telegraph and most media to post Princess Kate with hair hidden is not innocent.
    It is a chosen dhimmitude.

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Brian Micklethwait: Well, I remain sanguine by nature, and, by the way, I decidedly do not advocate that:

    “we might as well give up right there.”

    “Molon labe” is my response – based on principles, not beliefs or opinions – but I do not forget that those words were uttered before the speaker’s army suffered a major and permanent, obliterating defeat, which he knew was coming and unavoidable.

    I have no opinion regarding the views expressed with such certainty by others in these comments, and of course I have no idea whether events might one day prove my irrational “forecast” to be right. I hope they don’t.
    As @RRS said:

    It all Depends …

    It would be irrational for me to suggest that my imagined forecast is how things will pan out and then try to substantiate it with further irrational statements, predictions or opinions.
    Incidentally, I had intended it as a pragmatic forecast rather than a pessimistic one.
    And 10 years may well be likely to be too short a term for major change in any event, but then it might not. For example, Russia’s Communism – which had to be economically infeasible over the long term – seemed to collapse with surprising rapidity once it started, so there you are, you just never can know what the future holds. Like the collapse of the buildings on 911. How did that all happen so fast? How could the US Defence forces be so unprepared? How did the French manage to think themselves into actually building the Maginot Line?
    The really consistently dependable things are our old friends human arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and bigotry.

    The viewpoint I expressed was merely derived from a perspective of the way things could seem to have panned out and developed over the past 10+ years since 911, as I said.

    Things like Western civilisation, Capitalism, Communism are in their infancy by comparison to Islamism, which has stood the test of time (QED). Islamism is a fiendishly well-designed religio-political ideology, a tool for human enslavement that has shown its resilience and strength over 1,400 years. It incorporated a very effective Fascism before the term was even invented in modern English. I don’t like to gamble, but If I had to lay bets on it, my money would be on Islam.

    IMHO, the potential saving light could be the US (because of its civilising Constitution), but they seem to have been so intent on eviscerating that Constitution and eating their own entrails out of corruption and greed that I think that Empire seems to be following the Roman pattern of collapse. So maybe no hope of help from that quarter.

    Islam has already been through periods of “reformation and enlightenment”. For example, the Córdoba period was known as the “Golden Age of Spain,” or what’s called the convivencia – “the coexistence” – when members of the three Abrahamic faiths lived side-by-side in peace, prosperity, and astonishing cultural and intellectual creativity.

    The Fascistic, intolerant and extreme Wahabism promulgated and funded worldwide by the Saudis cannot allow for that. It’s a cuckoo ideology. Any non-Wahabist branch of Islam must be, and has been or is being, expunged, and there is only the powerful, compelling construct of a clear distinction between the world of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the world of heresy (Dar al-Harb) – they are antithetical. Are you with us or against us? And by the way, if you are against us, then that = death for you. Sorry about that, but it’s the Word of Allah. For example, the pogrom of the Christians is already well underway in Egypt now, with whole communities being bombed in their churches, murdered and harassed, and thousands fleeing – euphemistically called “refugees” by the MSM who apparently have continued to support the whole thing with a cone of silence. A veritable reporting blackout.

    The Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone once brandished the Koran in the House of Commons, announcing with great authority and prescience:

    “so long as there is this book, there will be no peace in the world”.

    On another occasion, Mr Gladstone referred to the Koran as:

    “this accursed book”.

    If he was right, then it is that book that should probably be the focus of our attentions. For example, why do we continue to allow this life-hating ancient Arabic Mein Kampf to be published and used in our societies to indoctrinate and condition the thinking of children and adults in Islamic homes, mosques and Islamic faith schools, and in ordinary universities? It would seem to be that it is the Koran and its use as a so-called “customary religious scripture” that needs to be banned/prohibited (together with the Shari’ah law that supports it and which is being incrementally introduced into British and other societies).

    I could be wrong, of course, but I wouldn’t put any money on that ban happening, not even in 10 years.

  • Alisa

    ‘Putting your wishes aside
    – whatever they may be –
    what is likely to be the
    state of Islam ten years
    from now?’

    The state of continuing to be the least of our problems. Collectivism is the problem – Islam is just another brand of it, a mere sticker a Chinese factory worker puts on a sneaker to make it a Nike or an Addidas.

  • Cane607

    To answer this question, I will paraphrase Daleks “Exterminate!” “Exterminate!” “Exterminate!”.

  • Joe

    Indonesia continues to trend towards Sunni extremism with the encouragement of petrodollars.

    India continues to enjoy commendable relations with its Islamic citizens, despite intermittent conflicts about real estate and the unpleasant reality that Hindus aren’t of the Book

    Turkey over plays its hand. The new Ottoman presence in the middle east proves difficult, overwhelming their economic resources and diplomatic abilities.

    Egypt officially nullifies its treaty with Israel and the us; suffers severe economic contraction from loss of us aid and tourism. Tries to confront the Wahbist States but too economically feeble and assumes the extremist yoke.

    Pakistan becomes Somalia after us and uk institute cold war era monetary and immigration controls simultaneously. The kleptocracy becomes mildly less dysfunctional.

    Overall ‘Merica happily leaves that benighted section of the globe and threatens the rest with invasion and indiscriminate death. France bitches about its impotence. U.K finally cracks down on its star wars bat Islamic freak show and assimilates the subsequent generation. France continues to live In fear of the suburbs. Ugly scenes of violence in the Netherlands and the remaining Muslims of Bulgaria and Zromania are kicker out.

  • For example, why do we continue to allow this life-hating ancient Arabic Mein Kampf to be published and used in our societies to indoctrinate and condition the thinking of children and adults in Islamic homes, mosques and Islamic faith schools, and in ordinary universities?

    Freedom of speech.

  • MakajazMonkee

    You can never say but I’m hoping for a positive influence from Turkey on the Spring countries. I’ve always been impressed with how Turkey has kept out extremism.

    Its funny how many completely non-religious people come from the region. One of the pubs next to my house (in downtown Pretoria SA) is run by Algerians and there’s quite a lot of North Africans in the area. The attitude towards religion with all my mates from the region varies from atheism to mild adherence to some tenets. Like some of the Egyptians quit drinking for Ramadan.

    Hopefully people with this sort of attitude will be the future but we’ll see

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Natalie Solent:

    Freedom of speech.

    Yes, eggsactly. The correct answer to the rhetorical question.
    If we changed/reduced that principle, then we would become less free than we are, by definition. So we can’t.
    This (Freedom) is regarded by Islamists as one of the many corrupt weaknesses of the West, and one that will enable stealthy Islamisation to succeed.
    Not for nothing that you sometimes see photos of Islamic activists holding up signs that say something like:

    Freedom go to Hell.

    It makes a lot of sense and is consistent with Islam (“submit”) – submission to the will and dictates of Allah, as embodied in the Koran – which is the absolute and infallible word of Allah, containing a collection of vile and hateful speech to indoctrinate children with.
    Islam – “The Religion of Peace”™

    Bit of a bugger, that.

  • TDK

    During the immediate post war period the prevailing ideology was based upon Nationalism. When that failed to provide the anticipated catch up to the west, then the ideology had to change. The fact that Nationalism was a western import emphasised the belief that regional backwardness was caused by the west. It was natural then that a home grown solution be sought and not surprisingly Islam provided it.

    The emergence of Islamism is driven by two factors. First the perceived success of Iran in casting off Western dominance. Second by increased spending by oil rich arabs (particularly from Saudi) on fundamentalist visions of Islam.

    Both of those factors are transient and would be easily defeated if it were not for the third factor: Western loss of confidence. There’s a whole essay on this but we all know the symptoms: post modernism, post colonial guilt etc.

    This is the factor that matters. If we were a confident society who believed our way of life was best we would laugh at Islamists. They would be ridiculed into irrelevance.

  • llamas

    My major concern is one that is being massively and egregiously overlooked in the current official US response to the latest eruption in the Middle East, namely, that the West persists in thinking that all of the bad things taking place in Islamic countries are directed exclusively at the West.

    Islam is actually extremely factional and some of the factions hate each other about-as-much as they hate the West, and sometimes more so. The Islamic countries that go nuclear are actually just-about as likely to use their weapons to attack each other as they are to attack the West. An in-theater ‘false-flag’ attack is also highly possible – one faction attacks Israel, for example, in such a way as to cause Israel to strike back against that faction’s enemies – an effective appraoch if you have only one or two nukes, but can trick Israel into deploying twenty, or fifty. I count this highly-unlikely, as the Israelis have excellent intelligence and are unlikely to be fooled by such a ruse.

    Bear in mind that the longest and by-far the bloodiest war in the Middle East in living memory was between two Islamic nations, and one an expressly theocratic one at that.

    No player in his right mind would attack the US militarily, and in any event, none of the players want the US involved at anything more than the current Obama hand-waving level. The US is a merely a useful foil, when led by useful idiots like the current crop, for the major action, which is going to be primarily inside Islam and between the Islamic countries.

    The role of humor in turning back the tide of Islamic extremism has been seriously under-explored. Nothing p*sses them off more than being made fun of or mocked. We would get a lot further ahead in spreading Enlightenment values if we would increase our efforts to relentlessly ridicule their C7 death cult at every opportunity, instead of caving like snivelling schoolgirls every time they claim to be offended. The most egregious failure in this latest debacle has been the detention and ‘perp walk’ of the alleged maker of the movie which allegedly sparked the whole mess. The US should have come out and said ‘we neither know, nor care, who made this movie, and we’re not going to spend one thin dime finding out. If it upsets you, that’s on you, not us.’ Instead, they provided the perfect images for the instigators of the violence to exploit – look, the Yankee deveils are dancing to our tune! We made them arrest the blasphemer! He shall know our vengeance and power!

    I swear, the current US administration is both incompetent and tone-deaf in these matters. They do not appear to have the slightest sense for how the game is played with the Islamists, and how what they do wioll be played for an islamic audience. The only one who appears to have even the suspicion of possessing a funtioning pair of testes and a sense of how Arab politics really works is Secretary Clinton, and she is and will remain an employee. Her boss mouths platitudes and truly thinks that they will love and respect him because he once lived in Indonesia and he says kind things about Islam. You have to wonder just what the Islamists would have to do to persuade President Obama that they don’t actually give a cr*p about his life story, and persuade him to start looking out for US interests beyond waving his biography at them.

    And he can do what he likes, but he cannot stop Luca Brasi, which in this case is Israel.



  • Alisa

    Nail on the head, TDK.

  • Alisa

    Llamas: do you have anything concrete to support your assertion about Hilary – other than a gut feeling, which I happen to share?

  • llamas

    Forgot to add link. This content reflects what I have been hearing expressed all around me – in solidly-Blue-state Michigan, nota bene – the last couple of days.


    Many people see this one event as coalescing their suspicions that the President is more than willing to dispense with basic American values whenever it is momentarily expedient for him to do so. Where is the ‘beer summit’ over the detention of this citizen? And don’t feed me some BS line about how this was ‘voluntary’ on his part – there’s nothing voluntary about it when dozens of armed agents of the state show up on your doorstep at midnight.

    +1 @ TDK, our posts crossed – I did not intend to step on his observations about the importance of ridicule.

    Alisa – I don’t know. It’s just a feeling I have, from listening to Secretary Clinton’s remarks on and around the latest outbursts. I think she is holding back, like a good subordinate. She comes across as altogther-more-serious than the President, whose response so far has consisted of throwaway platitudes tossed over his shoulder as he rushes from fundraiser to fundraiser.

    Governor Romney is allowing a golden opportunity to pass, once again, because of his sense of propriety and respect for the office.



  • Jim

    As one or two others have mentioned, oil/gas prices will be the deciding factor. If the West develops both shale gas and/or other methods of producing power (thorium reactors etc) then the Arab world is stuffed. Pull the rug of cash from under their feet, and all the religious fanaticism on the world will not prevent populations rising up against their rulers because they are starving. In fact the fact that the Islamists are in charge in so many Arab nations now is actually a good thing – when the crash in oil revenue comes, its the incumbents who will get slung out.

    If, and its a big if, the West pulls its finger out, says ‘F*ck you’ to the eco-loons, and goes hell for leather for energy self sufficiency, then in 30 years time the Middle East will be irrelevant. When we no longer need their oil, they will be cut loose, and any ‘bad behaviour’ will be quickly dealt with.

    If on the other hand we continue down the ‘renewables’ path, while in reality depending on imported oil and gas, then we give the Middle East the whip hand, and we will be screwed.

  • RRS

    The range of thinking shown here so far is very telling.

    There seems to be an underlying sense that the driving motivations behind what is perceived to be the “Islam” of today are Re-active and not Pro-active.

    They are, as Bernard Lewis wrote in his The Sources of Muslim Rage back in September 1990 (Atlantic Magazine) the reactions to the intrusions of Western Civilization, with its changes to the structures of social orders. The “Islam” of today has no objectives other than defense of what remains of those cultures which share a common ideology. The masses sense that further decay of the cultures (the human relationships within those social orders) will destroy the ideology, leaving the individuals adrift.

    The defense takes on the form of attacks (which are always shaped as “counter attacks“), which is indicative.

    The “Islam” of today has no objectives as it did some 12 or 13 centuries ago; or even after the “Sword of Ossmon” was raised (the militarized politicization of the ideology).

    There is no evidence that the next 10 (or 30) years will see the evolution of ideological objectives as “Islam.”
    It is not seen in the diaspora.

    That is why it all depends on the continuing impacts of Western Civilization on those cultures, which as those cultures continue to erode (and become more “westernized”) and the ideology fragments without destruction, but is retained in separate formats, by the diaspora, and elsewhere, how the “shape” of Islam will evolve.

  • Mike James

    If it were up to me, the state of Islam would involve a half-life of around 5,000 years.

  • RRS

    Mis-citation; should be:

    The Roots of Muslim Rage

    Still accessible via Google

  • TDK

    RRS is looking for ProActive

    I’ve worked in Saudi (twice), Egypt, Tunisia, Morrocco and longest of all UAE (Dubai once and Abu Dhabi once). All on software projects.

    The Arabs are heavily dependent on ex-patriots. The technical and management grades were once wholly western but are now dominated by people from India, Malaysia and the Philippines. In Saudi I arrived to a routine of: introduction to the Arab Director who after a chat would hand you on to his assistant who would thereafter be your only contact. The assistant was never arab. ie the Arabs were the owning class and didn’t get involved with the nitty gritty.

    The second group of ex-patriots are labourers and they came from Pakistan, Philippines etc. Treated appallingly badly (in UAE there were daily newspaper reports of workers not being paid for 6 months), they come solely for the money which is largely remitted back home.

    The point of all this is summed up by a story told me by an Arab colleague: “We Arabs have a saying: my father rode a camel, I drive a 4×4, my son will fly a helicopter, my grandson will ride a camel”. The Arabs are painfully aware that they have had a lucky break and that they need to turn that advantage into something permanent but fear that they will just waste the opportunity. You can see it in the building work going on in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and less so in Jeddah and Riyadh. They want to diversify from oil.

    Now the success of this is going to depend on
    1. Modern Education
    2. Developing Markets for other goods and services

    Item 1 is tough because Islamism is pulling in the opposite way towards Madrassas

    Item 2 is tough because the demand for oil is such that foreigners are willing to abase themselves to get it. That won’t be true for say Banking or other things. Dubai’s goal of becoming a regional hub is fairly sensible but can it survive if the airport is the only thing there?

    Moreover the Arab way of trading is very strange to the west and to others. On any sizable contract money must be placed by the seller (and buyer) in a escrow account up front. It’s not unusual for sellers to find themselves unpaid and also losing some of the escrow funds. You need a lot of Capital to afford that. Plus payment terms are frequently ignored. A commercial traders’ willingness to take risk is dependent upon the potential rewards and with oil that is large enough to take a gamble. That’s not so certain with other business where the trader can go to a much more amenable environment like say India.

    Add to that the sheer arrogance of the Arab ruling elite – they are not easy to do business with.

    So the ability to survive the end of the oil with wealth secured is very much in doubt.

    Having said that, it’s easy to treat Islam and Arabs as synonymous. In fact I would rate much of the rest of the Muslim world’s chances much better.

  • TDK

    If it were up to me, the state of Islam would involve a half-life of around 5,000 years

    Do you really want to murder 1000 million people?

  • lucklucky

    “It’s just a feeling I have, from listening to Secretary “Clinton’s remarks on and around the latest outbursts. I think she is holding back, like a good subordinate. She comes across as altogther-more-serious than the President, whose response so far has consisted of throwaway platitudes tossed over his shoulder as he rushes from fundraiser to fundraiser.”

    Search for a Clinton questions and answers in an African University from students. I never saw someone being more feckless and repelent than her.

  • RRS


    Sorry to be unclear. I am not expecting or looking to see “Pro-active.” I am simply trying to express an underlying sense of perception (hopefully objective) of the nature of what passes for “Islam” in our time (which was not always so).

    How and Why it became not to be so may help us see the possible future trends depend on whether the forces of that How and Why (Western Civ.) expand again or continue to weaken through internal conflicts (read, 1898-1950) and withdraw.

    The Islam Jurists determined that their scriptures, and hence the structure of the ideology (which is not simply Arab or Arabic) rests on specific cultural structures.
    As those cultures vary, “Islam” varies among the diaspora.

    As those cultures erode, the determinations of the Jurists lose their authority, currently the basis of Shi’a power (Jurists as Guardians of the Faith).

    What you recite of the external influences on the older Arab culture (Pastoral and broad-ranging commerce) is an example of the erosion of the culture that the Jurists established as the foundation of the ideology.

  • David Gillies

    TDK: “Do you really want to murder 1000 million people?”

    Straw man. We didn’t need to exterminate every German to end Nazism. We needed to kill enough of them and destroy their ability to be a nuisance. Defeating Islam will almost certainly involve killing a very large number of people, but not defeating it will, too, except those people will be us.

    Where we’ll be vis-a-vis Islam in ten years’ time is very hard to predict. Barring some act of Moslem over-reach, like detonating a nuclear weapon on US or Israeli soil, not grossly different from where we are now, is my guess. If a genuine WMD attack occurs, then all bets are off.

  • RRS

    My post correcting the Bernard Lewis citation was smited [??].

    It is The Roots of Muslim Rage

  • TDK:

    Dubai’s goal of becoming a regional hub is fairly sensible but can it survive if the airport is the only thing there?

    I wonder about that, too. Using Dubai and Abu Dhabi as aviation hubs is broadly sensible given the location (but it is not a unique advantage – anywhere within at least a thousand miles would do equally well), but this industry is extremely capital intensive, both in terms of the airports and the airlines. The nasty little secret is that everything both airport and airline-wise is state owned, and therefore has an unrealistic cost of capital due to all Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth. Remove this, and the airports and airlines become pretty marginal operations, like airports and airlines everywhere.

    Having said that, it’s easy to treat Islam and Arabs as synonymous. In fact I would rate much of the rest of the Muslim world’s chances much better.

    Quite. Go to Istanbul and there is plenty of economic activity going on there, and a lot of rapid growth. (There would be a good deal more if governance was less chaotic, but there are still lots of reasons to be optimistic). You mentioned Malaysians working in the UAE in your comment. A question: are these mostly Malays or ethnic Chinese?

  • Paul Marks

    Remember the greatest strength of Islam – the thing that enabled it to defeat the Persian Empire and the Byzantines and ……

    In Islam EVERYONE FIGHTS – in some ways this is a return to Classical world (the Greek city states and Republican Rome), whereas (starting in India – but then spreadinig to Persia and to the late Roman Empire) only a small caste of people were really fighters in the civilizations the Muslims faces.

    ALL MUSLIMS FIGHT is the core of Islam.

    And it is effective.

    And will continue to be so.

    They do not have to fight well – because there are so many of them (and they do not care about casualties).

    Quantity is its own quality.

  • Jobrag

    If the west was as evil and manipulative as the more paranoid Muslims think we are, we’d encourage divisions between Sunni and Shia and then when they’d wiped each other out walk in and take over the ruins.

  • Petronius

    A couple of people have commented about Islam’s alleged expotential birthrate, but I’m hearing different. Their birthrate is falling faster than Europe’s. There was a spike in Iran’s rate in the 80’s up to 7 kids per family, but since then it has dropped down to about 1.7, lower than that of France. Lebanon is at 1.6. Fertility rates of Muslims in Europe are dropping to near their non-Muslim’s rates. Morrocco and Tunisia are close to replacement. And in the West Bank the Jews are reproducing at double the rate of the Palestinians. More here.

  • Much depends on how stupid the U.S. continues to be, and whether or not the various flavors of socialism can be seen as foreign influences (and therefore worth exorcising for something more libertarian- and traditional to their culture). I think the religion is used as an excuse- much like the very secular and socialist Israeli government pretending to be Jewish and democratic, which anyone could see wasn’t true when they decide to kick all the Jews out of Gaza- a move that was neither Jewish nor democratic, nor did it address Palestinian property rights anywhere. The politicians like to play the religious/ethnic card so they can play collective games- if they didn’t have this red flag to incite people with, well the people would notice that no government will uphold their individual property rights. It wouldn’t matter so much what the religion/ethnicity of the government official was, provided property rights were actually upheld. The global political class doesn’t care about the rest of us, and they like to play us against each other so that they can continue to take our stuff in the name of helping whoever is supposedly the underdog today.
    The state of Islam in ten years? Well it is slouching down the same path as Christendom did. Our leaders merely dress it up in the boogeyman costume when they want to scare us.