Tuesday, June 07, 2005

On Knowing Your Enemy

Plato's Stepchild points us to an article about The Western Mind of Radical Islam.
Hasan at-Turabi, the effective ruler of Sudan, the man behind the notorious "ghost houses" and the brutal persecution of his country's large Christian minority, often flaunts his knowledge of the West, telling a French interviewer that most militant Islamic leaders, like himself, are "from the Christian, Western culture. We speak your languages." In a statement that sums up this whole outlook, an Islamist in Washington asserted, "I listen to Mozart; I read Shakespeare; I watch the Comedy Channel; and I also believe in the implementation of the Shari`a [Islamic sacred law]."

. . .

The Islamist leaders are not peasants living in the unchanging countryside but modern, thoroughly urbanized individuals, many of them university graduates. Notwithstanding all their talk about recreating the society of the Prophet Muhammad, Islamists are modern individuals at the forefront of coping with modern life.

. . .

Revealingly, militants compare Islam not to other religions but to other ideologies. "We are not socialist, we are not capitalist, we are Islamic," says Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia. Egypt's Muslim Brethren assert they are neither socialists nor capitalists, but "Muslims." This comparison may seem overblown-socialism and capitalism are universal, militant Islam limited to Muslims-but it is not, for the militants purvey their ideology to non-Muslims too.
We assume a western, liberal education is the answer. Apparently, some ask a different question.