Islamic Society is Changing

Harper’s Magazine – This is not an Islamic Revolution

Americans are not going to be interested in this. It is a complicated story about a world they will never see on television.

I had to force myself to read it – to look at many lines of text instead of all the pretty girls getting on the bus. The author is a professor in Florence, and the article is translated from the French. Here are some excerpts:

That said, a revolt is not a revolution. The new popular movement has no leaders, no structure, and no political parties, which will make the task of anchoring democracy in these former dictatorships difficult. It is unlikely that the collapse of the old regimes will naturally lead to the establishment in their place of liberal democracies, as Washington once hoped would happen in Iraq.

It is a mistake, therefore, to link the re-Islamization that has taken place in the Arab world over the past thirty years with the political radicalism of Al Qaeda, which concentrates its energies on Western targets. If Arab societies are now more visibly Islamic than they were thirty or forty years ago, what explains the absence of Islamic slogans from the current demonstrations?

The paradox of Islamization is that it has largely depoliticized Islam. Social and cultural re-Islamization—the wearing of the hijab and niqab, an increase in the number of mosques per capita, the proliferation of preachers and Muslim television channels—has happened without the intervention of militant Islamists and has in fact opened up a “religious market,” over which no one enjoys a monopoly.

Interested? You can easily read more for yourself.