Friday, 4 December 2015

A Terrestrial Religion II

Poul Anderson suggests here that resurgent Islam is neither a single movement nor merely an Arab phenomenon. Maybe we can discern four groups.

(i) Many Muslims live peacefully within existing societies.

However, some of those who are dissatisfied or disaffected:

(ii) aim to seize control of existing states in order to impose sharia law on entire populations;

(iii) or aim to overthrow existing states, modelling themselves on Mohammed's military campaign against Mecca;

(iv) or seek common cause with secularist campaigners against perceived injustices.

I know Muslims in groups (i) and (iv). Group (ii) needs to be opposed politically. Group (iii) is a security threat. All groups should be recognized as responding in different ways to current circumstances, not as implementing a centuries-old plot or conspiracy - any more than the present Pope is secretly advancing an ancient scheme for a global theocracy! (I refer here to some sectarian Protestant thinking. And, by the way, the Queen of England, having privately met a previous Pope, is now secretly preparing to return the Archbishopric of Canterbury to the Church of Rome...)

It is good to move between the current real world and future fictitious worlds. History is one even though we can only speculate about the part of it that is our future: the "shape of things to come." News media inform us about Islamic State. Poul Anderson's History of Technic Civilization informs us about Aycharaych's diabolical machinations on Aeneas and also about Olaf Magnusson's disaffection from the Terran Empire and consequent loyalty to the God.

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