This is Part IV of the interview ‘Dialogue Between Bigots’
EDITOR: Whereas I agree with you that there is nothing inherently ‘Islamic’ about laws in many nations i.e. your statement is prima facie true. However, the question is what is the source of the common law of the land in Pakistan, in Iran, In Saudi Arabia? You will, of course, find examples of secular law or behavior, but the common law springs from the Koran, just as the common law in Christendom (the West) springs from the Bible. To me the question is not whether a system is secular or not, it is where its common law derives from. Even Sweden, with its famed secularism, derives its common law from the Bible, so that even if Swedes don’t know they are Christians, for the most part they act according to Christian law. It is the historical tradition and culture that determines whether a country is Muslim or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist.
Only Islam (and to a lesser extent, Judaism) offers a complete system — religious and political. Because Shari’a cannot be superseded by and other law, it ultimately shapes societies into an Islamic image. This is not true in Christianity. From the beginning Jesus articulated a distinction between church and state, i.e., Christianity does not offer a political system.
When you speak of the influence of religion on American politics and law I don’t know what supreme court decisions against family planning laws you are referring to. I assume you mean abortion. The issue for Christians is not family planning, that is a red herring, the issue is taking a human life. If you believe that the fetus is a human being with a soul, then you cannot support abortion, because that is murder. No one argues against family planning. There are a hundred different ways to do that (i.e., condoms, birth control pills, natural methods, abstinence, &c.).
I don’t claim that America is not a religious state, it is (segments of it, at least). There is nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with an Islamic state. If that’s what the people want, more power to them. The issue is tolerance of others. When different religious groups live with each other, there should not be religious violence. If there is proselytizing, let it be peaceful and let the merits of the arguments determine the winner. But that has not proven to be the case historically with Islam. See ‘Symposium: Islamic Cultural Genocide’
Now, blaming unscrupulous leaders may be true for the immediate past, i.e., in the post-colonial era, but how do you account for the persecution of minorities in previous eras? This persecution started almost immediately after the Caliphs established themselves in Baghdad, and has lasted since. Again, one cannot ignore the history. I think we may be speaking at different levels. I am not so much concerned with geographic states as much as nations, which may span borders. Nations conform to a code of behavior (i.e., Hindu, Christian, Muslim), and that is what concerns me. Looked on in this light, one sees the larger patterns in history.
As for your comments about the Christians in Lebanon; Lebanon was destabilized because Yasar Arafat and his PLO moved into Beirut. What choice did the Christians have but to fight? There is no excuse for the Sabra and Shatila massacres, of course, but that is not germane to what happened to Lebanon.
As for Europe, I will say that Europe is firmly a Judeo-Christian civilization, it is not an accident that it is called Christendom. Europe is now losing this, and that is why it is beginning to ask questions. It should not lose its heritage, of course, because it is a proud heritage, it is part of the mosaic of cultures that make up our world. I think as Islam is practiced now by the majority of Muslims, it is incompatible with most of the world. It needs to modernize, it needs to catch-up.
And as for why America is in Iraq, I can tell you my opinion about why America is in Iraq. This is my opinion, of course. The Iraq war is to contain Saudi Arabia, which is the real backer of Islamic extremism. Saudi Arabia has spent $80 billion dollars to date on spreading Wahabism. The war on Islamic fundamentalism will be won only when the ideology is defeated. This is a long range plan to modernize the Middle East, liberalize Islam, introduce democracy and raise the standard of living in the area so that the people will have other outlets beside fundamentalism. There is also the divide and conquer strategy. Look for Iran to become a nuclear power (with covert or tacit support from the US) so that it will stand opposed to the Sunni states. The funds spent on spreading Wahabism will be redirected to defense spending.