Photo: El Marco
It has been happening so slowly, almost imperceptibly so, that what actually is occurring is difficult to perceive, at least by those unable to see the truth. People have become so caught up in the political correctness of the war on terror, and the anti-war rhetoric of what they categorize as an immoral and unjust conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they've failed to notice that it goes far beyond simply fighting a bunch of terrorist insurgents (in some far off, Middle Eastern region of the world) who they believe are trying to defend their land from the evil U.S. imperialists. They are unwilling to admit, for fear of being labeled Islamaphobic or because they're just too blind or stupid to notice, that the fine line between terrorists and the conservative Muslim movement has become almost indistinguishable, these days. The extremists, terrorists and conservatives are now one and the same; or so it seems. And the moderates, though not that far-removed from extremist ideology themselves, are joining their ranks in alarming numbers. Since the 1970s when the energy crisis prompted the formation of OPEC, and the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Persia (Iran ) to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state, there has been an Islamic resurgence, that no-one seems to want to acknowledge.
Prior to the 70s, when Islam remained the somewhat exclusive territory of the Middle East (and certain areas of the Far East), the repressive, intolerant, often violent nature of Islamic Law had very little direct affect on western society; and fortunately some of the countries in that region were (and still are) considered secular, or at least nominally so. However, many of those once secular governments are becoming progressively less so, with greater numbers of conservative Islamists being voted into office. And by whom? The Muslim citizens of those countries, themselves! So the blame for an increasingly fundamentalist Islamic Middle East can't necessarily be placed on the leaders of those lands, because the people are the ones electing those same leaders. Okay, so you make your own bed, you lie in it. If they choose an overwhelmingly Islamist government, then that's their right, right? If they want their lives strictly ruled by Sharia Law, and all it encompasses, that's their choice. I might think it barbaric and backwards, but who am I to judge? As long as all that fundamentalism remains in that area, I have no problem with that. But, with the large influx of Muslim immigrants into Europe and elsewhere, and their unwillingness to integrate into western society, Islamism is being foisted upon the rest of the world, and that I have a problem with. Many people scoff at the idea of a 'clash of cultures or civilizations', but that's exactly where we are headed.
Indonesia, once predominately influenced by Hindu and Buddhist theology, now boasts the world's largest Muslim population. Of the over 220 million people that inhabit the islands of Indonesia, approximately 85 % or 194 million are Muslim, 11% are Christian with 2% Hindu, 1% Buddhist and 1% Other. And though once secular, Indonesia is quickly being overrun by the conservative Muslim movement, and the secular government is hanging on by a very short thread.
While the country's secular president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, may be tough on terrorists, there is little he can do to stop the Islamists from gaining political ground. The winner of the struggle between proponents of a secular state and radical imams calling for a theocracy stands to capture a valuable prize -- one of the world's most strategically important countries. All major shipping routes connecting Europe and East Asia pass through the waters off this island nation. It is precisely here, in this archipelago between the Straits of Malacca and the Celebes Sea, that a new front in the battle of cultures is emerging.The province of Aceh, in the northwestern tip of Indonesia, has been ruled under Sharia Law since 2001. Conservatism is spreading throughout Indonesia and there seems to be an almost fatalistic attitude amongst the non-religious Muslims there. Izabel Jahja, 30, editor of a magazine entitled A-Plus, at a party of trendsetters, toasted with the following: "Let's enjoy life, as long as our country continues to allow it. We are on the brink of a comprehensive Islamicization of Indonesia." A strict anti-pornography law has been debated in parliament for months. One would think, at first glance, nothing wrong with that. But if the law passes, it will ban not only X-rated films and books, but parties with alcohol, along with kissing in public. 'Lascivious clothing' would be punishable by law. And what would be their definition of 'lascivious'? Anything less than a Chador or Abaya? Again, nothing wrong with a little modesty, but dictated by government, and prison time for immodest clothing? I think not. Apparently, it would also spell the end for the Arts: Theater, films, art and music would no longer be allowed.
And it's not just the poor, ignorant disenfranchised of the world that are flocking to fundamentalist Islam, it is also the educated, middle class. And it's now no longer in predominately Islamic countries that this is occurring. It's happening in almost every country in the world that has a large Muslim population, particularly in Europe.
Islamicization of the western world starts by continuously caving in to their demands, by placating them, by censoring ourselves, by becoming so afraid of offending that we start removing certain historical references like the Holocaust or the Crusades from history lessons in British Schools (see post at Blazing Cat Fur), or changing the Three Little Pigs, to Three Little Puppies. Why a Church school would change the name to 'Puppies' is beyond me, considering they abhor dogs as much as they do pigs. But the more we do this, the more empowered they become, because they know that westerners will do anything to avoid the violence that has become part and parcel of their religion.
Alarmist, maybe. Realist, definitely! At least I will be prepared.