The Islamic Revival
During the century of colonial influence, Islam had atrophied into a ritualistic practice that was marginalized by the educated Westward-looking members of these societies. A confident West, triumphant in every realm and morally self-assured, appealed to the best minds in emerging nations while at the same time undermining backward stultifying traditions. The magnitude of this dynamic is evident by the abolition of the Caliphate.
Unfortunately, Muslim nations didn’t choose the liberal model best exemplified by the individualism of the Anglo-sphere but embraced the authoritarian regimes and totalitarian movements closer to Arab and Islamic dispositions. Eventually the failures of these regimes and the self-loathing in the multi-cultural West sparked a return to a vigorous practice of the original Islam. In origin, this is a totalitarian warrior ideology -- an imperialist supremacist creed.
This revival is sweeping the Islamic world. We first noticed its return in Iran followed by Taliban Afghanistan. It’s clear that Saudi Arabia is spear-heading the revival among Sunni Muslims with Iran achieving major successes in Southern Lebanon and among Palestinians. Let’s also remember that Algeria would have elected a fundamentalist regime if the military didn’t stop the elections. And Pakistan not only has the problem of Madrassahs but fundamentalism even pervades the government education system.
Egypt was long considered the most cosmopolitan and moderate of Islamic nations, which by having one of the largest Arab populations dominates Arab culture. Here, too, the Islamic Revival is becoming the dominant cultural force. Even the New York Times can no longer deny the trend. A recent article explains how "Islamism" has supplanted Arabism. The Arab defeat in 1967 was seen as “a punishment from God because we drifted far from the teachings of Islam” and the perceived defeat of Israel by Hezbollah a reaffirmation of the religion.
I argued that the Islamic attack of 9/11 was in essence a religious act reaffirming the religion and galvanizing the faithful. The religious nature of 9/11 was unimaginable to the Western mind. Now, however, even the Times is taking note of this dynamic. Or at least one writer (with a few Arab assistants) has started to notice. Have we finally overcome the politically correct prohibitions? Can we finally say that Islam is the problem?