I’ve been meaning to say something here about Charles Hill’s brilliant book Trial of a Thousand Years: World Order and Islamism. Published in 2011, Trial is a profound meditation on one of the most pressing questions facing the world community: whether Islam can integrate itself into the secular international order of states.
There are abundant reasons to conclude that the answer is probably “No, Islam cannot integrate itself into the secular order without ceasing to be Islam.”
Abundant reasons and going on 1500 years of historical example.
P.S. My friend Andrew Bostom writes to ask what we should call the “the 88% of ordinary Egyptian Muslims who favor killing ‘apostates’ from Islam? Are we to call them all ‘Islamists,’ whose ‘ideology’ is ‘Islamism’? Or simply pious, traditional Muslims abiding the normative, mainstream Sharia of Islam?” (See his post on why deposing Morsi won’t end the rejection of secularism in Egypt.) He suggests that we simply dispense with the “fig leaf” of the Islam/Islamism dichotomy — is there, he asks, really a difference?
No. I figured that out a good while ago, and quit using the euphemism “Islamism” for the normal and historical activities of Islam and Muslims.
As I acknowledged above, the record is not encouraging, yet alongside that 88% in Egypt there are millions upon millions of Muslims outside the Mideast who have made their peace with modernity.
And the huge majority of Muslims would murder them, or stand by silently while they were murdered for their apostacy. Nor does that answer the question “Are the millions of Muslims outside the Mideast who have made their peace with modernity” still Muslims in the eyes of the rest? Or even in their own eyes?