Where is Islam Going?

The chapter I just finished reading in David P. Goldman’s How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too) entitled The Islamist Response was not at all what I expected.

Two Islamist academics, Suha Taji-Farouki and Basheer M. Nafi, observe, “Massive urbanization altered patterns of living, of housing and architecture, of the human relationship with space and land, of marketing, employment and consumption, and of the very structure of family and social hierarchy. […] 
A Muslim sense of vulnerability and outrage is further exacerbated by the seemingly unstoppable encroachment of American popular culture and modes of consumerism, and the transparent hypocrisy of the American rhetoric of universal rights and liberties. It is also stoked by Western ambivalence towards economic disparities in the world.”
- David P. Goldman, How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too)

So when Mr. Goldman does ask a Muslim, he asks a jihadist. Professor Nafi was indicted in Florida for “conspiracy to murder, maim or injure persons outside the United States.”

The more I read Mr. Goldman, the more I disagree with him! His arguments seem a little one-sided. I can totally see the demographic problem. I do believe that Islam as it is today will have a lot of trouble surviving the transformation of Muslim life in modern times. Just like Martin Luther gave Christianity a chance to survive in modern times (and indeed flourish in the United States), I believe there can be a reformation of Islam. My article yesterday touched on this as well: wife-beating, honor-killings, genital mutilation, and cousin marriage don’t have to be a part of Islam. Islam is not going to die because those things can’t be reconciled in modernity. Islam does not have to be “frozen” in time because its Koran has some bad rules. The Bible has some pretty bad rules!

I see a way out. Mr. Goldman sees destruction. He has lost faith in humanity. (too many scholars lose that faith… sad)

Iran has failed as a society in the face of the modern world. It embodies a fatal combination of modern demographics — that is, a rapidly aging population — with a failure to assimilate modern productivity. Without military victory (in other words, without nuclear weapons), the forces that rallid to the banner of the Islamic Revolution can look forward only to a relentless pulverization of the traditional society whence they came. Such is the stuff of military strategy inspired by religious mysticism. When there is no retreat, nothing to which to return, Destiny beckons from the enemy’s lines, and the army leaves its trenches and flies forward into the cannons.
- David P. Goldman, How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too)

So Mr. Goldman sees the last of the muslims dying in a suicide mission because their way of life opposes the Western path to modernity. He sees only one path to modern times: the path we took. In anthropology class in college I learned not to examine every culture in the same way, especially an ethnocentric way. Progression of humanity has not been a single linear pathway. Get over yourself Mr. Goldman.

In the long term, the great demographic freeze will leave the United States the only man standing among the industrial democracies. But population collapse in the Muslim world is more likely to aggravate security risks during the next generation than to attenuate them. A nuclear-armed Iran, and a follow-the-leader game of nuclear acquisition by its neighbors, drastically increases the likelihood of nuclear war as well as nuclear terrorism. America will prevail, provided the Muslim world does not take us down with it first.
- David P. Goldman, How Civilizations Die (And Why Islam is Dying Too)

This seems really rude and self-centered. I’m trying to keep an open mind to Mr. Goldman, but after reading paragraphs like that one, it’s getting hard.

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