As author Samuel Huntington stated “As the pace of modernization increases, however, the rate of Westernization declines and the indigenous culture goes through a revival.”
While this seems impossible, much of the Muslim world holds religious and cultural values that are directly opposed to those of an American or a European making integration between the two factions quite difficult.
According to historian Bernard Lewis, in Islam and the West, the Islamic restoration is guided by a feeling of “revulsion against the West, frustration at the whole new apparatus of public and private life.”
Lewis says it is this “vision of a restored and resurgent Islam, through which God’s law and those who uphold it would prevail over all their enemies.”
Writing in The New York Times last week Roger Cohen commented, “The honest answer is that we don’t know why a 20-something Briton with a degree in computer engineering or a young Frenchman from a Norman village reaches a psychological tipping point.”
It is a fundamental Islamic philosophy – Islamism – which is being slotted into the brains of would-be jihadists from their clergy or the internet.
Commenting on Cohen’s argument – that the western Jihadists are “yearning to be released from the burden of freedom,” – Daniel Pipes, scholar and president of the Middle East Forum think tank, said, “I disagree.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Pipes said, “The establishment’s analysis of Islamism suffers from an inattention to the power of ideas. Neo-Marxist efforts to blame economic deprivation ruled for a while but shattered on the rocks of inaccuracy.”
Explaining further, Pipes said, “The simple explanation is that the Islamist vision – like the fascist and communist visions before it – has compelling attraction, especially for educated youths who seek to devote themselves to a great cause.”
According to Pipes, the difficulty for those opposing the Islamist movement is to marginalize and defeat this dream so that Islamism – again, like totalitarianism and socialism before it – loses its attraction.
Philip Carl Salzman, an expert on Arab ethnic culture and a professor of anthropology at McGill University feels that Muslims immigrating in large numbers to Europe have not been able to take in the European culture.
Salzman went on to say “Young Muslims see Islamic State and al-Qaida as successfully and openly implementing Muslim principles, such as enslavement and murder of infidels that are difficult to apply in Europe.”
In his concluding remarks, Salzman said, “Above all, they see Islamic State and al-Qaida as conquerors, which is what their Muslim ancestors were, and which would provide them with the honor and glory that they feel Muslims deserve.”