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Because Islam is one of the things that "the West" is defined in opposition to at the moment. It's part of "Them" not "Us". Judaism is currently in the "Us" club (at least in polite society), after a couple of millenia very definitely not in it.

In fact, the further I get from my childhood Chrisitan indocrination, the less difference I can see among the various branches of the Abrahmaic religion.

In fact, I've just realised that if you want to run around splitting the world up into cultural groups then Europe and the Mediterranean basin and stretching through the Arab world is a natural grouping: shared religion, significant ancient trading and political links,  shared philosophical and political heritage to a large extent until very recently. Then you'd end up with Asia as the other significant cultural group with India as a bridge between the two.

I suppose you'd then need American and Australian groupings, both of them significantly less linked to the rest of the world than the mainstream  Asian and  Western groups.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 06:03:02 AM EST
the less difference I can see among the various branches of the Abrahmaic religion

I read a novel called The Last Templar by Raymound Khoury, a "The Da Vinci Code"-esque religious conspiracy thriller (and thus of little or no historical accuracy), in which the author speculates the Knights Templar were attempting to unite the three religions into a single religion. I thought it was a pretty interesting plot line.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 06:17:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Concerning the Knights Templars, they were known to deal with the local Muslim populations through negotiation and dialog quite often and more so than is popularly known.  

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 09:28:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The West and the Muslim world share a history of intense hostilities as well. Stalin would keep them closely together.
by das monde on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 06:28:43 AM EST
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Family feuds are always the worst.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 06:30:56 AM EST
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Because Islam is one of the things that "the West" is defined in opposition to at the moment.

I would differentiate between Islam and "radical Islam.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 11:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, and various different legal and cultural traditions and different branches and sects.

The West™ doesn't. Oh, they try to be polite about it, talk about "radicals", "rotten apples" yada yada, but basicially it's Islam  that's "them", except for some suitably innocuous examples that can be embraced to show unprejudiced the West™ is.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 12:59:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I personally do not see all of Islam as responsible for the things the radicals have done.  I do believe that common and ordinary people of various sects and religions (and no religion) can get along together if not provoked by someone with malicious or political/economic intent.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 11:03:34 PM EST
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I have no allegiance to The West™. Their war of civilisations is not my war.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 12:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, I've just realised that if you want to run around splitting the world up into cultural groups then Europe and the Mediterranean basin and stretching through the Arab world is a natural grouping: shared religion, significant ancient trading and political links,  shared philosophical and political heritage to a large extent until very recently.
Including the Arab world here is a hill too far for me.  political heritage is very hard to see--autocracy vs. democracies primarily.  philosophy greco/roman through all of the western schools, how does that link to arab philosophies.  politics--treatment of women certainly doesn't tie in.  certainly not today, but not 400 years ago either.  yes the religion is grounded in some ways with christianity and Judaism, but the tracks the religions have taken are totally different.  acceptance of new trends, secularism--pretty big difference.  importance of education, economics--totally different.  Arab world still stuck on interest charges being a sin.  I just can't see it.
by wchurchill on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 05:38:30 PM EST
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Greek democratic heritage ? You mean the greeks that reinvented the divinity of rulers after Alexander and passed it to the Romans ?

Greek philosophy was kept alive in Arab (and persian) lands for centuries before they communicated it to the Europeans in time for the Renaissance.

Secularism ? See Turkey, and a fair share of the Arab world was ready to secularize 50 years ago. Except the people willing to secularize were commies, so the west funded the religious fundies.

Treatment of women? 30 years ago a wife couldn't open her own bank account without the husband agreeing, in France.

Most of the Arab and muslim world is undergoing a fundamentalist propaganda campaign funded by Saoudian oil. If a similar amount of money was poured into religious organisations in the West, it would very quickly unsecularise.

I'm not sure about 400 years ago, but

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Mar 30th, 2007 at 09:16:06 PM EST
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Historical perspective.  Facts.  Reason.  How refreshing.  How unusual.
by cambridgemac on Sat Mar 31st, 2007 at 11:59:13 PM EST
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