By Fouad Ajami, Published: September 14
“Why is the Muslim world so easily offended?
“Modernity requires the willingness to be offended. And as anti-American violence across the Middle East and beyond shows, that willingness is something the Arab world, the heartland of Islam, still lacks.
“Time and again in recent years, as the outside world has battered the walls of Muslim lands and as Muslims have left their places of birth in search of greater opportunities in the Western world, modernity — with its sometimes distasteful but ultimately benign criticism of Islam — has sparked fatal protests. To understand why violence keeps erupting and to seek to prevent it, we must discern what fuels this sense of grievance.
“There is an Arab pain and a volatility in the face of judgment by outsiders that stem from a deep and enduring sense of humiliation. A vast chasm separates the poor standing of Arabs in the world today from their history of greatness. In this context, their injured pride is easy to understand.
“In the narrative of history transmitted to schoolchildren throughout the Arab world and reinforced by the media, religious scholars and laymen alike, Arabs were favored by divine providence. They had come out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century, carrying Islam from Morocco to faraway Indonesia. In the process, they overran the Byzantine and Persian empires, then crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, and there they fashioned a brilliant civilization that stood as a rebuke to the intolerance of the European states to the north. Cordoba and Granada were adorned and exalted in the Arab imagination. Andalusia brought together all that the Arabs favored — poetry, glamorous courts, philosophers who debated the great issues of the day.
“If Islam’s rise was spectacular, its fall was swift and unsparing. This is the world that the great historian Bernard Lewis explored in his 2002 book “What Went Wrong?”The blessing of God, seen at work in the ascent of the Muslims, now appeared to desert them. The ruling caliphate, with its base in Baghdad, was torn asunder by a Mongol invasion in the 13th century. Soldiers of fortune from the Turkic Steppes sacked cities and left a legacy of military seizures of power that is still the bane of the Arabs. Little remained of their philosophy and literature, and after the Ottoman Turks overran Arab countries to their south in the 16th century, the Arabs seemed to exit history; they were now subjects of others.
“The coming of the West to their world brought superior military, administrative and intellectual achievement into their midst — and the outsiders were unsparing in their judgments. They belittled the military prowess of the Arabs, and they were scandalized by the traditional treatment of women and the separation of the sexes that crippled Arab society.
“Even as Arabs insist that their defects were inflicted on them by outsiders, they know their weaknesses…”
The article above is well written, penned by a respected author. It touches directly upon the explosive content of the matter. “The Arabs once ruled the Mediterranean basin and much of South Asia. They became the dominant culture in that region. Then they were thrown from power and prominence. They’ve never gotten over the defeat.
Western culture was able to divorce itself from many aspects of religion that dominated political power. European recognition that science explains the real world allowed Europe to defeat societies that use magic and myths to explain the world. There has been little scientific discovery by Arab cultures since the Spaniards threw the Moors out of Europe.
Missing in the explanation by Ajami is the tribal culture and attitudes that hold the Middle East in thrall to a destructive pattern. The belief that asking for help brings shame to one’s entire family keeps hundreds of thousands as essentially stateless victims of their own histories. The thousands currently fleeing Syria for Jordan will be held in minimally livable compounds. This is exactly what happened to would-be Palestinians in 1948. The “refugees” were held separate from Jordanians while Jordan annexed the land that was to be Palestine. Every Arab state that lost to Israel in 1948 built cannon fodder compounds to hold and house brother Arabs and brother Muslims who could then be pointed out as evidence of how Israel stole the lives of Muslims.
But the lack of civility and rationality began long before Israel’s renaissance; It will not be resolved until the tribal culture and the stranglehold of Islam are stripped from the political realities of self-destructive tribal cultures that must be dragged into the 21st century, one bleeding pseudo nation at a time.
What needs to be heard throughout the Arab and Muslim world is “goodbye Mohammed!”