From Fatwa to Jihad
Is multiculturalism to blame for further alienating Muslims who live in Western countries?
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But Malik is mistaken in describing this censorious violence as uniquely Muslim. In March and April of this year, for instance, two Texas performances of the play “Corpus Christi” (which features a gay Jesus character) were cancelled because the theatres received threats. More prominently, artists from Sinead O’Conner to the Dixie Chicks have been the subject of violent taunts for their controversial words. Muslim extremists hardly have a monopoly on the urge to use force to censor, as they appear to in this book.Skip to next paragraph
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Malik does score some jabs at multiculturalism, describing how it becomes its own worst enemy by permanently isolating communities from one another. Treating diverse, heterogeneous communities as if they are hierarchical monoliths is both inaccurate and unsound. The North American assimilationist model, though not without problems of its own, seems to be better at integrating minorities into the dominant social fabric than the separate-but-equal models of the West and Northern European nations. Muslims are having trouble integrating into Europe, and the problem only seems to be getting worse.
But “From Fatwa to Jihad” treats both anti-Islamic prejudice and Western attacks on Muslim majority countries as irrelevant or non-existent, obscuring much of the explanations for the anger Muslims have towards the West. “[F]or most Islamists their understanding of these conflicts rarely goes beyond TV footage or video clips,” Malik writes, as if one must have a PhD in Arab History to oppose carpet bombing.
The fact is that poll after poll has shown that the world’s Muslims overwhelmingly admire Western science, technology, institutions, and ideas, but despise Western military interventions in Muslim countries. Muslims are not seeing things when they imagine US support for Israeli actions, the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and material support for autocratic governments in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Ceasing these actions, along with Malik’s prescriptions of maintaining essential free speech liberties and abandoning multiculturalism, will go a long way towards more smoothly integrating Muslims in Western countries.