Thr real battle is not between Islam and the West but between moderate and radical Muslims. Siddiqui urges Muslims to rescue their faith from hardliners:
In an essay on the “Arabisation” of Islam, Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies at the University of Edinburgh, argues that there is no single Islamist threat. There is no unified vision of implementing sharia . . . the battle is among Muslims themselves; a battle for the very soul of Islam.
Selbourne paints a bleak political landscape and although many might disagree with his tone they will agree with his warnings. For me, as a Muslim, the issue is the conversations that Muslims are not having. Notwithstanding the current fears around terrorism and the power struggles in so many Muslim countries, there is a reluctance, even fear, of diverse ways of thinking and living in Islamic societies. There is also a propensity among many people in Islamic societies to undermine any kind of intellectualism, or critical inquiry about beliefs, traditions and institutions. The willingness to equate modernity with westernisation, and regard only certain cultural norms as the true expression of Islam, ensures a fear and control over people. People are either silenced or threatened.
Generosity and the spirit of intellectual inquiry, once hallmarks of Islamic civilisation, are being eclipsed by a gradual intolerance on so many levels. These are not symptoms of a yearning or a nostalgia, but a malaise that has made Islam appear a social and political anomaly in the eyes of many outside and inside the faith.