Even the least observant among us can see that there are large numbers of Muslims who hate Western culture to the depths of their souls. Many have hypothesized a variety of reasons for this visceral hatred, ranging from the existence of Israel to the election of George Bush in 2000. Obviously, some of these involve more thoughtful analysis than others. In my opinion, none of these are adequate and many are foolish or self-serving. The source of this hatred can be found in something as simple as Star Trek.
Consider the crew of the original Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701). We have James T. Kirk (American), Hikaru Sulu (Asian), Nyota Uhura (African), Pavel Chekov (Russian), Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Scottish), and Spock (Vulcan – an alien). No Moslems or Arabs. Since one of the themes of Star Trek was that the Earth was united, clearly this should have been remedied in the other Star Trek Series. This is not the case, however. Later series included characters that were British (Malcolm Reed in Enterprise), French (Jean-Luc Picard in Next Generation), Hispanic (B’Elanna Torres in Voyager), Native American (Chakotay in Voyager), Ukrainian (Tasha Yar in Next Generation), and many others. And of course, many alien species and mixed-species were represented. But there were no identifiably Arab characters. A complete list of the ethnicities and backgrounds of the Star Trek characters and actors can be found at http://www.adherents.com/lit/startrek.html.
Only one character, Dr. Julian Bashir of Deep Space 9, could be remotely considered Muslim as the actor who portrayed him, Alexander Siddig, was born in Sudan and is half Sudanese. His birth name, Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig Abderahman Mohammed Ahmed Abdel Karim El Mahdi , obviously has Islamic roots. All indications are, however, that he is not a practicing Moslem. Nor does his character appear to be so in the show. Rather, he seems to favor his mother’s British upbringing, especially in his accent.
Am I concluding that the terrorists are seeking revenge for not being included on the set of Star Trek? Of course not. If that were the case, it would be a simple matter of applying some odd type of affirmative action and the Jihad against Western Civilization would end. It is far deeper than that. In the interest of completeness, I should acknowledge that there was an episode of the animated Star Trek Series entitled “The Jihad”. In that case, however, the Jihad warriors more closely resembled walking pterodactyls than humans.
What I am attempting to show with the example of Star Trek is twofold:
1) We do not see a place for Arabs and/or Moslems in the future.
2) We do not consciously realize that this is the case.
The first point is clearly shown in Star Trek. It can also be shown in a wide number of science fiction movies and television series. Consider Star Wars. There were no Moslems found on the sands of Tatooine. But that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, so perhaps that is expected. Stargate (the movie and the television series) visited many worlds. They found worlds that worshipped the Egyptian Gods, Christ, and even the Norse Gods. But none worshipped Allah. The closest race to the Arabs was found on the planet Abydos (seen in the movie), and they were enslaved Egyptians from 5000 years ago. Furthermore, they were portrayed as backwards and ignorant, without the use of written language, and lived a life of enslavement and abject poverty. Not exactly a positive portrayal.
Although I am sure that someone will be able to identify a counter-example, the point remains that Arabs and more generally Muslims are almost completely absent from our vision of the future.
I would point out that I would not consider the “Dune” books to be Islamic, although there are certain Islamic elements. Furthermore, I am more concerned with popular movies and television series. Other than the appearance of Sting, the 1984 movie version of Dune was rather unremarkable. Bit parts by Patrick Stewart (with long hair!), Jose Ferrer, and a very young Alicia Witt may also be of interest. But the point remains – it was not portrayed as either Islamic or Arab.
Our vision of the future tends to be one where all the races live and work together in peace and harmony – except for the Arabs and Moslems.
As for my second point, that we do not consciously realize this to be the case, I think that is also clearly demonstrated by the absolute dearth of discussion of this issue. Odds are that most who read this are only now realizing that they have never or rarely considered this aspect of our relationship to the Islamic world prior to today.
So, how do we view the future of Islam? I would venture to say that we believe that, over time, Islam will become irrelevant. This will take place through the following process:
1) All oil will be removed (and hence all income eliminated) from the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, Libya, and other Islamic areas.
2) Without a source of income, the adherents to Islam will no longer be a threat.
3) Eventually, they will assimilate to Western culture.
I am not saying that this will happen. Rather, I am stating that this is our unconscious (and overly optimistic) view of the future of the Arab world. How else could the future of Star Trek come to pass?
My next statement may be shocking but I believe it can be supported:
The Islamic World knows that our vision of the future does not include them – and they believe it too.
That is why they are so angry. They know that we are destroying their religion and culture. They know what will become of Islam through our actions, intentional or not. They know that we do not care what happens to their culture and would, as a whole, be content were it to disappear forever. This hurts their pride, and pride is certainly not something that the Arab or Islamic World lacks. Their culture is dying and we are supplanting it with our own. How many Afghans dug up satellite dishes after the Taliban was removed from power?
There are elements in the Moslem World that will hang on to their culture desperately. They will be prompted to extreme acts, from terrorism to honor killing. Terrorist acts lash out against those who would change their culture. Honor killings lash out against those who betray it. They will promote their extremist views in an effort to save their culture from all outside influence.
This is a logical reaction to a culture where the political and religious doctrine, Islam, literally means submission. If one has submitted oneself completely to this worldview, one must do everything possible to defend it.
They do have several advantages in this struggle. The first of these is demographics. The growth rate in the Islamic world is staggering compared to the Western world. This may have a dramatic effect in Europe, where just in the past few years, unemployed “youths” (Moslems), have taken to burning cars throughout France. In Norway, there are reports of young women (not Moslems) who wear bhurkas to avoid being raped by Islamic immigrants.
The second advantage that they have is oil wealth. The important concern here is not the wealth, but how it is spent. I would much rather have the oil wealth spent on private 747’s and artificial islands in the Persian Gulf than on supporting Hamas or developing nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the tendency in the past three decades has shifted to more of the latter. One can only hope that collectively we will have the will to contain and destroy any terrorist threat. As for nuclear weapons, Pakistan has already acquired them and Iran seems to be well on its way to the same end.
If we are to succeed, their culture must be eliminated. I am not saying that it is right and just. There is simply no room for both of our cultures in the future.
I will discuss how we can survive in the second part of this discussion.