Somewhere on A1A...

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Thomas Friedman writing as if he were The President:

You say all this is happening because we support Israel. I know we need to do more to bring peace, but I don't think that nurse was shot, or that Bali bomb was made "holy," because we support Israel. I think it has to do with the rise within your midst of a deeply intolerant strain of Islam that is not simply a reaction to Israel, but is a response to your failing states, squandered oil wealth, broken ideologies (Nasserism) and generations of autocracy and illiteracy. Armed and angry, this harsh fundamentalism now seems to totally intimidate Muslim moderates.

But the values it propagates will bring ruin to you and conflict with us. As Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute wrote in National Review, "No faith will make rote memorization of ancient texts, suppression of critical inquiry and dissent, subjugation of women, and a servile deference to authority the recipe for anything other than civilizational decline."

The decent, but passive, Muslim center must go to war against this harsh fundamentalism. Yes, we have our intolerant bigots too. I just publicly distanced myself from those Christians who smear Islam with a broad brush. But our moderate majority and press regularly denounce them too. They are not dominating our society. We've had our civil war against intolerance. Now I'm urging you to have yours. Don't tell me you can't. Look at those courageous Iranian students who are now taking on the extreme fundamentalists within their own society — risking their lives to fight those who want to take Islam, and Iran, back to the Dark Ages. God bless them.
I only disagree with Mr. Friedman, because I think he is in denial... It appears to me that his "civilizational war" started as early as 1979. Others can argue that September 11, 2001 was the beginning of the war.
Whether or not we in America recognize it, much of Islam is, in fact, engaged in a civilizational war with us and has been for years. Mr. Friedman is right that it is not yet too late for Moderate Islam to save us from all out war, but their silence is deafening.


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