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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Brave, Young and Muslim

Usually I don't care much for this guy, but today's NYT op ed by Thomas Friedman is pretty good in its basic concept. He immediately segues into a paen for Irshad Manji, who is the darling Muslim "reformer" for the left. I wonder how much an open lesbian/feminist can REALLY represent a muslim reform movement. I see her as more of a Rushdie type, on some death lists and considered kind of an oddball, but not reaching the heart and soul of average folks. Nevertheless, the analysis of the US view of the Middle East as a "gas station" where we did not care what happened as long as the price was low and they were accepting of Israel is a very good one. I also like the concept of the "noise out back" in the Arab world now being stirrings of DEMOCRATIC nationalism, rather that nationalistic impulses for Sharia law and religious fanaticism. I believe the "muslim revolution" which began with the overthrow of the Shah is not so much a religious revival of Islam as it has been a political desire for power. Islam was a defining character of these political entities and many though it sufficient to guide these states to depose corrupt rulers and empower the people. If Afghanistan showed anything, it is that Sharia law is a one way ticket to mediaevalism. The successful elections of Iraq and the ability of the Arab Street to boot Syria out of Lebanon may have just started a ball rolling that wll transform the muslim world in a VERY good way. I hope so.

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