Mohammedan and infidel ambivalence

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 02.40.49Dalrymple says he has found himself swinging like a pendulum between taking Islam as a threat seriously and not taking it seriously.

Reasons for taking Islamism seriously

  • much of humanity is Muslim
  • an aggressive and violent minority has emerged in that population with apparently very widespread, if largely passive, approval
  • the leadership of Western countries is very weak and vacillating in the face of this, or any other, challenge

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 02.11.14Reasons for not taking it seriously

  • in the modern world, Islam is intellectually nugatory
  • the disproportion in power between the rest of the world and the Islamic world appears to be growing rather than contracting
  • behind the bluster about the certain possession of the unique, universal and divinely ordained truth is anxiety that the edifice of Islam, while strong, is brittle, explaining why free enquiry is so limited in Islamic countries
  • free philosophical and historical debate could quickly and fatally undermine the hold of Islam on various societies. Fundamentalism might be a manifestation of weakness
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