I walked to the local post office to mail some stuff to colleagues, and wound up in line behind some guy explaining to his friend that the current violence in Iraq is due to the fact that “terrorists hate freedom.” Since I’m not nursing a black eye or broken nose, you’d be correct in thinking that I kept my peace. Yes, I was a wuss.
Like a lot of people, I find that regular mantra about as stupid as it’s possible to be in the face of such a serious and nuanced set of issues. But it sometimes seems as though there’s a dearth of interesting analyses out there for those of us who don’t speak Arabic. This article has given me some pause; it’s a way of seeing things new to me, but one that meshes well with what understanding of the Islamic world I’ve been able to wrest from books like Karen Armstrong’s excellent Islam: a Short History. You can find an excerpt of her book here. I’ve found reading it to be really helpful.
In a similar vein, here is a fascinating article on recent developments surrounding the interpretation of Shari’a, the Islamic legal code. Having reading like this (and this available to us is a great antidote to a lot of the ignorance that characterizes current discourse. Let us bless all those who light the candle rather than cursing in the darkness.