Since I was summoned…
I am fairly appaled by some things here. Sometimes ignorance just comes along and whacks ya right up side the head.
A few observations:
(1) I would hazard the observation that illiterate Yemanis with “ugly knives” are the majority of fundamentalists. Imagery is nice, but not accurate and in the end quite deceptive.
(Insofar as its fairly hypocritical for Americans to critique others for idiotic shows of manliness, can we say ‘SUV’ and hot-rod?)
(2) My experience leads me to conclude that much of the leadership and even the audience for Islamists is not the uneducated (whose whacky religious customs are often criticized by the Islamists) but the educated without real opportunities. A kind of lower-middle class reaction againts the corrupt pseudo-secular regimes. Often our allies for better or worse. Ergo, 28 could not be more wrong in his/her understanding of the Fundamentalist understanding of their economic problems. Of course, the problems run deeper than mal-distribution of oil wealth (and guess what, not all countries have oil wealth either.)
(3) The average fanatic is not stuck in a 1000 year old lifestyle but rather is finding new, and unpleasant in my opinion, interpretations of modern lifestyles. A modernness reacting against our modern life-style. Their interpretations and lifestyles, however, are not 1000 year old choices, but often radical new interpretations. Good or bad, it ain’t the old game. So, another fundamental misunderstanding. (The Taliban are an exception to be sure. They are in fact primitives. However, they are not, in my experience representative of the main movement of Fundamentalism which remains a modernist movement.)
(4) If the USA were to pull out of the Middle East – and I neither think that is a good or realistic idea – I do believe that regardless of media, their interest in us would drop dramatically. Most fundamentalists I have come to know are really much more interested in internal problems. CDex’s comments in that regard are somewhat unfortunate exageration --excepting Israel.
(5)Clothing. Well, 28 is just… I’ll censor myself here. Again, the Gulf is not the entire Islamic nor Arab world. Colorful clothing, you’ve seen fucking nothing until you’ve seen an Egyptian gellabiya party. Frankly, the color combinations are a bit extreme. Colorful. Even in the Gulf, outside Wahhabi areas folks put on some color.
Nor do I think that liberty per se means dressing skimpily. Everyone has their own standards. It ain’t my cup of tea, but frankly we attach way too much meaning to whether a woman wears a short skirt or not --and frankly from a certain perspective that doesn’t reflect well on the pressures Western society places on women.
(Again, I exclude Taliban folks and the Wahhabis in the Gulf from this, but they’re not the only Islamists around, in fact they’re not the majority. Most influential is the Muslim Brothers in Egypt. Don’t care for these folks, but they’re the real agenda setters.)
Further, although it may seem strange, I’ve noted a strong feminist strain in the most modernist sections of the Islamist movement. Not our kinda feminism, but it might be a plant which grows and develops more naturally in the culture. Maybe.
So, 28, learn some more before promoting fairly comic-book depth ideas.