|The three children of Abraham, namely followers of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths, have been fighting and waging war for the last two centuries.Many terms like crusade, jehad, radical Islam, paganism, and kafir have become a part of contemporary discussion, thanks to the Abrahamic hold on contemporary debate.Of the three, the two younger children are in the news, both in
Europe as well as in the US.
There is a ban on the construction of minarets on mosques in Switzerland, thanks to an overwhelming vote by the people.
There is a move in Belgium, France, Holland and Denmark to ban the burkha in public places along with hefty fine.
In Europe, local municipalities and cantons are fining veiled women, as indicated by a recent case in northern Italy. Geert Wilders — who could be the prime minister in the next poll in Holland — is an atheist and has called for a ban on the Koran.
He and many other European intellectuals are arguing that the issue is that of the religion itself and not the people professing it.
Earlier, Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, Oriana Fallaci, the late Italian journalist and author, and Andrew Bostom, an author on Islam, have talked about Eurabia developing in the heart of Europe and the UK becoming Londonistan.
It is interesting that godless and secular Europe is suddenly turning antagonistic to Islam. Most of the major churches in Europe are tourist attractions with small attendance, even on Sundays.
Radical Islam is as much upset about modern godless Europe as it is by the evangelical part of the US. The fastest growing Christian evangelical groups like the Pentecostals and Mormons are in conflict with various strands of Islam in many countries in Africa like Nigeria and Kenya.
The evangelicals are also spreading fast in many Latin American countries and impacting the traditional Catholic church. The traditional church is facing a crisis due to lack of interest by youngsters in joining seminaries and nunneries. Actually they are outsourcing the priestly functions to youngsters from India in many places in the US as well as in Europe.
Radical Islam is flush with funds due to oil money and global aspirations. A combination of Saudi funds, Pakistani foot soldiers and London as asylum facilitates the radicals. Radical Islam is totally against the covenants of westernism (which is passed off as modernism), namely living together, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, women’s liberation, et al. Radical Islam finds all these obnoxious and hence its fight is with the church as well as the secular modernisers.
Europe is a tinder-box which could flare up in a couple of years, or even earlier, if the economic crisis accelerates. The near-collapse of Greece is a symptom of Europe’s growing crisis. In a downturn, the blame is always on the “other” — in this case the Muslims of Europe, of Moroccan, Algerian, Somalian, Turkish or Kurdish origin.
Also, Europe which had over 20% of the world population during World War I, is down to 10% now. It could fall to just 3% in another three decades.
Demography is destiny and the Muslim population in Europe will reach 20% in another two decades. US president Barack Obama is trying to bring a rapprochement with his tele-prompter speeches by speaking half-truths.
He claimed in Cairo (June, 2009) that algebra, the decimal system and printing technology were the inventions of the land of sands when these accomplishments owe as much to India and China.
Obama does not have a good rating in his own country and, in the larger Islamic world, his credibility is low due to the continuing war in Iraq and Afghanistan and a threatened one in Iran. The recent Times Square bombing attempt is not helping him win his own people over.
But the 21st century belongs to India and China, both belonging to the non-Abrahamic traditions. For a change, the non-conflicting, non-proselytising Asian civilisations are becoming the economic axis of the world and power is shifting. This is an inflexion point in world history.
What should India do in the context of the wars between the children of Abraham? The best thing is to keep quiet and observe. We have groups within India which will try to push India to one side or the other. The radical Islamists will try to localise global issues like the Danish cartoons. Similarly, the politically active church groups will try to globalise local issues like the Orissa riots or the feeble attempts to prevent conversions. But India should stand firm and maintain that we will take care of the problems of Indians internally. Period.
Our attempt should be to become a $5 trillion economy from the current $1.5 trillion over the coming decade. We should be part of the top four or five global economies. A $5 trillion gorilla will be muscular and no one will try to mess around with it, including that failed terror-sponsoring state on our west.