Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not Very Accomodative Islamists

There's an interesting op-ed in the WSJ today by a gentleman named Sadanand Dhume. He is writing about the American hotel bombing in Indonesia. Specifically, he makes the case that American hotels are signs of Western influence that Islamists want destroyed. The writer makes the refreshing argument that Islamists' preference for attacking Western hotels is based on deeper premises than the sheer practicality of sneaking weapons into a place designed to be accomodating. He writes:

For Islamic radicals, who seek to order all aspects of 21st century life—from banking to burqas—by the medieval precepts enshrined in Shariah law, the secular nature of a hotel is galling enough. But perhaps this would not matter as much if it weren’t appealing to local elites. In a place like Peshawar or Kabul, and to a large degree even in Jakarta or Mumbai, a five-star hotel represents an island of order and prosperity in a sea of squalor. It hints at the prosperity promised by free markets and a culture of individual liberty. It is living proof that the worldly can successfully be split from the divine.

I'd say that's pretty much on the dot. He also discusses the necessarily secular nature of hotels, as they cannot display any religious preference, lest they lose a sizeable chunk of international clientele to competition.

Here is another example of how globalization is bringing the civility of capitalism to the Muslim world. At the same time, however, the dark ages philosophy prevalent in those societies is growing more and more violent in its resistance.

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