Emmett Tyrrell
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Yet why do the religious parties tolerate the desecration of sacred places like mosques and libraries containing holy treatises? Supposedly the desecrators were from the Salafi school of Islam. Most Libyans follow Sufi teachings. The Salafi derive their strength form the Arab Gulf countries. All of northern Africa is generally Sufi. Is this a power struggle by members of Islam from outside the region, aided by the Libyan ministries of the interior and defense? Do power struggles in holy Islam involve destroying each other's places of worship? The Sidi Al-Sha'ab mosque was centuries old and is unlikely to be restored. It looks to me from the pictures that it was reduced to rubble.

The problem with Islam as I see it is that it has never reformed itself to accord with the modern world. Of all the great religions, it looks not to the future but to the past. Its impulse comes not from reformers looking to a future living in comity with Westerners. Its impulse comes from fundamentalists looking backwards to centuries long gone, and the fundamentalists want to impose their vision of the world on all civilizations.

If there are modernizers in Islam, they do not speak up. They do not even protect their ancient mosques. While the fundamentalists blow things up and savagely slaughter people for failing to observe one or another of their arcane rules and regulations, the voices of modernity hunker down, if they even exist. When will the voices of modernity speak up?

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Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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