Thursday, February 26, 2015

Zone of decency shrinking

Tom Friedman --

Islam has no Vatican to decree whose Islam is authentic, so it emerges differently in different contexts. There is a moderate Islam that emerged in decent political, social and economic contexts — see Indian Islam, Indonesian Islam and Malaysian Islam — and never stood in the way of their progress. And there are puritanical, anti-pluralistic, anti-modern education, anti-women Islams that emerged from the more tribalized corners of the Arab world, Nigeria and Pakistan, helping hold these places back. That’s why ISIS is not just an Islam problem and not just a “root causes” problem. ISIS is a product of decades of failed governance in the Arab world and Pakistan and centuries of a calcification of Arab Islam. They feed off each other. Those who claim it’s just one or the other are dead wrong,

The news here is that previous Friedman usages of "decent" in discussing the Arab world had allowed for selected examples of decency there; the list varied but it tended to include Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates.

Now none of them are mentioned, all Islamic decency is apparently non-Arab. He's heading in a direction very much the opposite of the iconic Muslim Brotherhood slogan Islam is the Solution. For him, Arab Islam is the Problem. Given his role as a marker of the conventional wisdom, that's noteworthy.