Sunday, March 06, 2011

Kristof on "The Problem of Islam"

Is Islam the Problem? is the title of a Nick Kristof Op-Ed in the Sunday Times.

Randa the Egyptian girl above gave an interesting explanation of how Egyptian deelopment was retarded by British colonial policy. However, the Chinese could have made the same argument that the Sinaitic jump to warpspeed modernity was forever retarded by the Opium War and severe trading restrictions.

Jumping to the cause of the slowness of Arab Development problem from a wider perspective, the nub of Mr. Kristol's article might be summarized with one paragraph of his article:
The Muslim Brotherhood has often used the slogan, “Islam is the solution.” And to the West, the unstated feeling upon looking across the bleak Middle East landscape has often been: “Islam is the problem.” Professor Kuran’s research suggests that, at least looking forward, the more correct view is: Islam isn’t the problem and it isn’t the solution, it’s simply a religion — meaning that the break is over, there are no excuses, and it’s time to move forward again.

Kristof may have studied Arabic and he may have studied Islam, but "Islam is simply a religion" doesn't cut it for an overall explanation. To every self-righteous Muslim of the billion or so rabid members, Islam is THE religion.

Timur Kuran's studies on Islamic law might explore one corner of Islam's failure to confront modernization. As The Economist has mentioned often in the UNDP reports on Muslim
failure to modernize, there's a lot more out there to ponder about the Arabs' religion and its deleterious effect on modernity.

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