However, the prevailing image of a confrontation between the West (as the standard bearer of freedom) and the Islamic world (as the champion of religion) is, in many respects, a distorted one. Due to globalisation we are seeing not a clash of civilisations, but rather a manifestation of the clash between the secular and non-secular worlds. If we look beyond the cartoon controversy for a moment, we can see that these days the secular tendency to ignore or even denigrate religion is leading to alienation instead of reconciliation.No!
Why do some in the Christian segment of Dutch society, of which I am (an at the moment not very proud) member, have this insufferable tendency to side with the forces of evil, just because it cloaks itself in the mantle of religion? Our Dear Lord Himself warned us: 'By the fruits of their labor shall you know them'. Looking at the fruits of labor around the muslim world with regard to 'those' cartoons, one would think the choice between good and evil isn't all that complicated. Apparently I am overlooking stuff.
I know the secularisation of the 60's and 70's have traumatized a lot of them. All of a sudden they had to accept people taking the freedom to question and even mock their believes after decades of having the right, the Truth on their side. Now that not everyone shares or obeys their version of the truth anymore, especially in the political arena, for some reason or other these weaklings think they can opportunistically use the furore created by the RoP(tm) to re-establish some special status for their own, apparently not entirely self-sufficient faith.
This is not a clash between the religious and non-religious. It is a clash between one religion in particular against all others, including the godless ones. If I may quote Wafa Sultan for a moment:
The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war.It really is a total denial of the burden of proof that has been gathering for the last 10 to 15 years to state that the current uncomfortable world situation is somehow attributable to secular ideologies. The gory videos mailed ot Al-Jazeera did not depict secular fanatics snuffing poor wretched believers. It was followers of the 'Prophet' that made them. And it was the followers of the 'Prophet' that sliced the necks of Christians, Jews, atheists alike, while chanting that Allah is akbar.
The constant threat to freedom is one ideology somehow gaining the upper hand and forcing its tenets and standards on the rest of society, in a bid to somehow establish paradise on earth. That is why seculars think religion at large is dangerous. And it is why many Christians in the west fear the 'fundamentalist seculars'. Both have their examples to point out the validity of their fears. And none is free to claim innocense where oppression and persecution are concerned. If history proves anything, it is the abortive nature of ANY utopian undertaking.
But none of that matters a great deal at the moment. In the west, across the board, except at the fringes, political movements and ideologies have internalized the four freedoms van Aardenne refers to in her piece. Both religiously inspired as well as secular political parties will, without reservation, underwrite the principles of individual freedom. That much can simply not be said of the muslim world at large. The west does not have a monopoly on freedom, but the muslim world doesn't even have a market share. Moreover, Arab powers are bankrolling those that would export the most vicious and oppressive version of an already dehumanizing ideology to the birthplace of the concept of individual freedom.
Van Aardenne apparently sees the greatest danger in 'ignoring and even denigrating' religion. And subsequently seeks to ally herself with those that would outright surpress *any* religion except Allah's. An ally that already has a track record of 1400 years of murder on a mass scale, torture and 'denigration' to the point of persecution anyone dissenting from their own misbegotten 'truth'. If this is crunch time, if it really is now that the lines are drawn, van Aardenne has just sided with the enemy. One just hopes she does not represent the view shared within the Christian Democrats as a whole.
PS. Also read De Winters excellent response.