Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An interesting observation from an unexpected source

Muslim scholar Khalid Duran, quoted in Steven Emerson's deeply disturbing book, American Jihad:
"The odd thing about Islamic fundamentalism is that it's always had its strongest appeal among engineers," he says. "There's even a joke about it in Arabic. The words 'al-ikhwan al-muslimun' mean 'Muslim Brothers' and 'al-ikhwan al-muhandisun' means 'Engineer Brothers.' In Egypt they always say the Muslim Brotherhood is really the Engineering Brotherhood."

Duran attributes this to shortcomings in education. "Engineers don't exercise their fantasy and imagination. Everything is precise and mathematical. They don't study what we call 'the humanities.' Consequently when it comes to issues that involve religion and personal emotion, they tend to see things in very stark terms. The Muslim Brotherhood has become very conscious of this. They've set up special programs in the universities to try to recruit students in the humanities, but they never have any luck. Having an education in literature or politics or sociology seems to inoculate you against the appeals of fundamentalism."
Duran's point aside, this observation would also seem to explain the quality of much of the discourse on the internet.

Anyway, if you're looking for a good book to scare the willies out of you, check out American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us. And if you're having trouble understanding that this whole "terrorism" thing is not just some clever ploy cooked up by neocons to empower the Bush administration, check out Steven Emerson's web site, or at least his blog.