Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Ideology of Terror or the Peace of Islam?

Is Islamic terrorism better understood as a return to Islam at its core or as an ideological version of Islam, a culture politicized? I would contend that ideology is a rationalistic distortion of reality and the product of literacy and Western thought.

Yale University Press has published a new book by Ali Allawi, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization. Judging from the reviews, Awawi the political route followed by the Islamofacists is untrue to Islam and Islam must reach into its own resources to deal wit the challenge of modernity.

The Economist writes: "Mr Allawi calls his new book an 'attempt to understand the factors behind the decay of the spirit of Islam'. He locates this decay not in the personal piety of the world’s Muslims—which remains vibrant—but in the collective failure of Muslims, over the past 200 years, to come up with an adequate and effective response to Western modernity. The problem is not that Islam is incapable of finding its own path to modernity. Mr Allawi wholly rejects the popular notion that Islam is inherently incompatible with tolerance, democracy, women’s rights—in short, all that the West holds dear.

"The difficulty, he says, is that the predominant Muslim response to the Western challenge has been narrowly political instead of being rooted in the inherited ethos of Islamic civilisation. Seen in this light, the Islamist movements which have received so much attention since the Islamic revival in the 1970s are shallow and passionate. For all their pretence of offering an 'Islamic alternative', they represent, or so he argues, nothing more than Western modernity in Islamic garb.

Mr. Allawi is an experience politician in the post-Sadam government and worldwide bestselling author.

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