25.12.07

There won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime

Several months back, James Pinkerton wrote a cover story for one of my favorite publications, The American Conservative - a paleoconservative magazine. The piece was called "The Once and Future Christendom", and it outlined the familiar "Clash of Civilizations" between Western culture and Islam.

I found this article to be somewhat alarmist and divorced from reality. Apparently I wasn't the only one. At the John Randolph Club meeting in late September in DC, a few of the other attendees were equally puzzled by its content. When your pro-Christendom strategy is questioned by supporters of the Rockford Institute, maybe it's a bit much.

Here was the most bizarre element for me:
What of Africa? The Christian countries of Africa...need to be embraced with tough love. The immediate mission is to delineate a Christian Zone and a Muslim Zone, dividing countries if need be. All Christians, and all Muslims, have a stake in minimizing conflict; the obvious way is by separating the combatants. So a wall should go up between the warring faiths, and then a bigger wall, until the flashpoint risk of civilization clash goes away. Then, and only then, might we hope to find workable solutions within the Christian Zone.
As my readers know, I spend a good deal of my time in Senegal, in West Africa. Senegal is a Muslim country, well over 90% of its inhabitants practice Islam. Yet, its government is very secular in nature (it's a democratic republic with an elected President and Parliament), and thanks to its French colonial past, retains a strong Catholic influence. The Feast of the Assumption is a national holiday on which government offices and banks close. Ditto Good Friday, Easter Monday, etc. The pics here are of Christmas lights at Independence Square in Dakar, and sheep ready to be slaughtered for the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha (known in Senegal as Tabaski), commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son.

This is why I found Pinkerton's article unrealistic. How do we separate a Christian Zone and Muslim Zone in such a case? And why would we want to, when people get along just fine? I continue to subscribe enthusiastically to the adage الدين لله والوطن للجميع - "Religion is for God, the nation is for all."

1 comment:

Abu Hatem said...

Yes, George. I too am a Syrian American conservative - and I enjoy your blog.

Muslims like me, and Christians like you, have been living together for thousands of years. This is simply a reality which cannot be denied.

One only needs to take a trip to Homs, Syria to find Arab Muslim-Christian marriages all over the place!

With regards,

Abu Hatem.