Islam- reformation or an army on the march

Islam- reformation or an army on the march November 14, 2004

Is Islam going through its own reformation? You would think so according to what is often said in the media. I totally understand the attempts of the western establishment to assist any attempt to reivent islam in the minds of the masses as a peaceful secular religion. If we cannot win the hearts and minds of the millions of muslims who live among us, then the ‘war on terror’ will risk an escalation into full-scale civil war throughout much of the west.

Unlike Christianity which can sometimes disengage itself almost too much from politics, many muslims believe that Islam MUST by its very nature be political. The Guardian reported earlier this week that ‘The West needs to understand it is inevitable: Islam is coming back’. The piece goes on by quoting a UK leader of Hizb ut Tahrir, an islamic group banned in Germany “‘They want us to redefine Islam to fit the agenda of the west,’ he intones, and the audience murmurs. ‘Islam is going to be political, no matter how hard they try. Islam itself is political. Allah has not remained silent when it comes to political matters.’

The drive to re-create the single Islamic state, the caliphate, is not one that many in the West would relish. Will the next world war be between the Islamic block as a whole and the west? Could we win such a war cut off from most of our sources of oil? Why are we not taking more seriously the desparate need for us to become less dependant on oil as nations? Certainly, democracy and freedom need to take root in the islamic world for the stability and peace of all of us. Surely in this much most can agree. Can we really afford to be agnostic about what is best for the nations of the world any more? Surely what we now know is that Blair and Bush are right to attempt to spread democracy around the world.

In their recent joint press conference Bush welcomed Blair as a “statesman and a friend back to the White House. Prime Minister Blair is a visionary leader. I’ve come to know him as a man of unshakeable convictions. America’s alliance with Great Britain has never been stronger, and we’re working closely every day to spread that freedom that leads to peace…… Prime Minister Blair and I also share a vision of a free, peaceful, a democratic broader Middle East. That vision must include a just and peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict based on two democratic states — Israel and Palestine — living side-by-side in peace and security. ”

Thus, with the American people emphatically endorsing their president we are set up for the real war, the war of ideas. Will democracy set root in nations that are dominated by Islam? In that sense a nation like Turkey in its desire to enter the EU becomes as much part of the battleground as Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine. Will democracy bring peace to these nations? Will we suceed? We better hope so as the alternative is too terrible to imagine.

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