Thursday, April 10, 2008

Exhausted By Islam

Who is exhausted by Islam? The young in Iraq are exhausted by Islam.

BAGHDAD — After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.

In two months of interviews with 40 young people in five Iraqi cities, a pattern of disenchantment emerged, in which young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.

“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.”

Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: “The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore.”

The shift in Iraq runs counter to trends of rising religious practice among young people across much of the Middle East, where religion has replaced nationalism as a unifying ideology.
As usual the New York Times misses the point. It is exposure to the unbending nature of the Islamic revival that is turning people away from Islam.

Islam brings murder and repression. The West offers Liberty and wealth. Which is more popular to the young and old? Which is better for business?

Samizdata is discussing the brittleness of Islam. The author of the post thinks that Islam can't stand up to rational examination.

I think one of the commenters had an even better idea. Ridicule. You believe What? And women should do What? And no popping down to the pub for a pint? And what is this about Mohamed marrying a nine year old girl? And authorizing brigandage? And Mohamed is to be emulated? What a larfer.

HT Instapundit .

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Joseph Sixpack said...

Wow, 40 youths. Amazing extrapolation. I did 3 tours in Iraq, over the course of 31 months, interacting with hundreds and perhaps thousands of Muslims young, old, and in-between and I can't recall meeting any who were frustration about Islam or religious leaders. They were more disgusted with militant radical Islamists and politicians of all religions/nationalities/ethnicities.

The good news is that the NY Times is read almost entirely by leftists, none of whom will care much about this (only Christianity can be criticized - other religions are off limits for now).

M. Simon said...


When was your last tour?

They were more disgusted with militant radical Islamists and politicians of all religions/nationalities/ethnicities.

I think that is more on point. However, a change in beliefs and political orientation takes time.

These people may be the leading edge of a trend. Or they could just be a blip.

It is something to watch.

M. Simon said...

BTW who doesn't hate politicians?

That sentiment is universal.

Joseph Sixpack said...

I got home just in time for Halloween, though I skipped out on trick-or-treat and opted to lay in a hotel room bed, eat pizza, and drink beer while watching The Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

speaking of ridicule...

...they this burka on for size.

It's an IslamoFashion show, and it's funnier than Hillary under fire.

Snake Oil Baron said...

The twin trends of secularization and covert religious conversions are happening all across the Muslim world and in Muslim communities in the West but it is easy to overlook because a small but growing trend, seen against a large background, is difficult to detect.

Many factors are interacting here. Christian evangelistic broadcasts in many middle eastern nations are sending content in all major Middle Eastern and North African languages via satellite channels and many local missionaries are being trained and covert house churches are being set up. Revivals of hidden remnants of Hinduism and Buddhism in newly and incompletely Islamized lands like Indonesia and the Indian subcontinent are continuing. Disillusionment with theocratic states like Iran and Saudi Arabia and violent theocratic aspirants in Iraq and elsewhere are being expressed and spread. Many of the notably public apostates from Islam mention 9-11 and other examples of extremism as factors that began them on the road to reconsidering their faith. Combine this with the modern ability to spread religious criticism and satire between and among populations like never before and you have the makings of an interesting trend.

It is always wise to view actual numbers with suspicion since both Islamists and their opponents have reasons to over hype the numbers of Islamic apostates and given the controversy over the issue you are unlikely to see much overt public discontent with Islam yet. Also, since we are still talking about a minority of Muslims who are Apostates and "nominal" Muslims, we should not mistake this for a Berlin Wall style collapse of Islam. The trend will be slow for some time yet.

As urbanization challenges traditional values and growing economies continue to erode any demographic advantage that Islam has, it will eventually become apparent that the left's choice of allying with Islam is another example of hitching their wagon to a tree stump.

M. Simon said...

another example of hitching their wagon to a tree stump.

Cracked me up.

Joseph Sixpack said...

"... it will eventually become apparent that the left's choice of allying with Islam is another example of hitching their wagon to a tree stump."

If the left were allying with Islam then it would support our actions in Iraq. Iraqis are the face of mainstream Islam and they don't like the prospect of us withdrawing and leaving them to the mercy of militant radicals, Iranian influence, and inevitable civil violence.

M. Simon said...


From a distance (having no personal experience) I see you are correct.

However, what people mean by Islam in this country is the face they see on TV. The radicals. At least that is what I took the statement to mean.

BTW you might like the blog:

Muslims Against Sharia. I have posting privileges there. Good guys. With your experience in Iraq you might like to visit there and give them a boost.