Mona Charen

Qutb was offended by everything about America, from its food to its delight in football and money, and particularly by what he saw as sexual libertinism. "Jazz is the American music," Qutb wrote, "created by Negroes to satisfy their primitive instincts -- their love of noise and their appetite for sexual arousal." Attending a church social in (dry) Greeley, Colo., in 1949, Qutb was revolted by what he saw: "Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips, and the atmosphere was full of love."

So the America Qutb despised was one that most conservatives consider pretty tame. Yet it was to his eyes a sewer. This suggests the cultural divide between American conservatives and Muslim conservatives is more like a chasm. D'Souza speaks approvingly of traditional Muslims seeking to "preserve the innocence of their children," perhaps forgetting that throughout large swaths of the Muslim world, child brides are quite acceptable. When Khomeini took power in Iran, the marriage age for girls was reduced to 9. It has since been increased all the way to 13.

There are other troubling aspects of traditional Muslim family life that D'Souza glosses over. The tradition of honor killing -- husbands, brothers and fathers killing their female relatives who engage in immodest behavior -- is widespread and uncontroversial in Muslim lands and even in Muslim communities in Europe. Temporary marriage permits Muslim men to "marry" any number of women, for as little as a couple of hours -- a barely disguised form of prostitution, which they piously condemn in the West. Rape victims are stoned to death, and so forth.

But even if the radical Muslims are truly enraged by American decadence and see it as an assault on traditional Muslim values -- by what stretch of the imagination do they take to suicide attacks as a response? That's some movie review. Besides, no one holds a gun to their heads and forces them to buy the output of Paramount and Time Warner. One can easily imagine a country in the Middle East excluding such things, unencumbered as they are by a First Amendment.

D'Souza is on far firmer ground when he analyzes the de facto alliance between leftists and Muslim extremists. Both need America to fail, and D'Souza is surely correct to point out that a defeat in Iraq will be far worse for conservatives and for America than Vietnam was.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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