Muqtedar Khan writes: Muslims were told that if they embraced modernity they would become free and prosperous. But modernity has failed many Muslims in the Muslim World. It brought imperialism, occupation, wars, division and soul stifling oppression by home states and foreign powers. Today the most important element of modernity, the modern state, is crumbling across the Arab World, precipitating chaos and forcing Muslims to seek refuge abroad.
For Muslims in the West, unjust foreign policies of their new homes, persistent and virulent Islamophobia, state surveillance, discrimination and demonization can be at best alienating and at worst radicalizing. Perhaps it is those whom modernity has failed at home and abroad who are tempted by the fatal attraction of extremism.
But why Muslims only you might ask? My answer: Open your eyes and look, modernity is failing non-Muslims too. Egregious income inequalities, police brutality, rampant institutionalized racism, mass-killings, drugs, gang violence, sexual predatory behaviors, militarization of police, diminishing civil rights as the state becomes more intrusive and rising rhetoric of intolerance from mainstream politicians — they are symptoms of institutional failures, extremism and even domestic terrorism.
We can combat extremism only by recognizing and resisting it everywhere. But we must make the promise of modernity a reality for all in order to render the appeal of radical utopias less attractive. [Continue reading…]