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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

February 2017

Crisis for the Muslim World

Laina Farhat-Holzman
February 25, 2017

Islam is said to be the World?s fastest growing religion, but it may not be. We are seeing the frantic activity that precedes collapse. In history, religions either evolve or die out.

The elements of decline are threefold:

? Theological
Sharia law stopped evolving in 1200. There was to be no more modification, no more discussion. It was frozen in time. Islam, unlike Christianity or Judaism, Islam never had a reformation enabling them to modernize, which left them out of the currents of Western history.

? Intellectual
The great intellectual contributions under Islam took place in Baghdad 800-1000 AD and in Spain 1000-1300 AD. The primary scholars were largely Persian, Byzantine Christian Greek, and Jewish. Some of them converted to Islam, some did not. Medical and practical sciences flourished among North African and Spanish Arabs and Jews. The famed "Golden Ages" were only vibrant so long as Caliphs patronized them with money and defied religious fanatics who did not want them. By 1300, the fanatics prevailed.

When Islam?s intellectual contributions declined, the knowledge was passed on to the Christian world. When the Turks overran Byzantium, Greek scholars fled to Italy. When Christians re-conquered Spain, Spanish Jews brought ancient knowledge to Europe. The Arab world entered a long sleep.

? Militarily
The Muslims actually won the Crusades when the Ottoman Turks (new converts) seized all Arab lands and pushed the Europeans out of the Holy Land. But from 1300 on, the Europeans began taking back piece after piece from the Ottomans. The Ottomans? final thrust into Europe was defeated in 1529 at the gates of Vienna. They declined slowly, losing their empire during World War I. Modern Turkey was born, and all Ottoman holdings not already in European hands were liberated.

Newly Western-educated Muslims awoke from their sleep and flailed around for a new direction. After World War I, they briefly had statehoods, none of them successful as democracies. Almost all have been, and are still, repressive dictatorships.

The birth of Islamic fascism.
After WWI, as new states struggled with political ideas and former backward Muslim states struggled with modernity, one small group of Egyptian Muslims came up with a new idea, the marriage of traditional Islam with Fascism. They believed that emulating the life and values of the Prophet Mohammad with the muscle of state Fascism could revive Islam and complete Mohammad?s vision of spreading the religion around the world, producing a utopia. (Fascism, along with Communism, are both utopian visions of the perfect world.)

The Muslim Brotherhood spawned Osama Bin Laden, ISIS, and all of the other splinter groups that are roiling the world today. What they all have in common is that their model is what they think is the original model of the prophet?s life. The problem: Which life: his first ten years as missionary or the last ten as warlord? They have chosen the militant model, the warlord.

This model produces the perennial Arab problem: divisiveness. Modeled after Bedouin tribalism, there is no cohesion outside of tribe. An international community that has no common language (most Muslims do not speak Arabic), disdains and persecutes women, and appeals to youth seeking adventure but prevents them from leaving when disillusioned, cannot succeed.

Militant Islam that cannot govern, cannot hold what it takes, has no vision of a realistic future, and cannot make anything useful, cannot thrive. Their only product is murder. Many young Muslims are alienated and have few options for a good life. There are already reports of European Muslims converting to Christianity. Persian Muslims are doing this in numbers, despite the risk of death if found out. Militant Islam, like other cults, welcomes converts but kills defectors.

Muslim-majority countries have failure-to-thrive problems. They suffer from Islam?s perennial bad work ethic, bad governance, rampant corruption, misogyny, and until now, population explosion. This population explosion is now in reverse due to geographic issues (climate change), cultural issues (close-cousin marriages), and political chaos.

If Islam can modernize anywhere, it will take place in the United States, particularly if American Muslims secularize, as have all our other religions.

675 words

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.