Thursday, January 06, 2005

Islam & Liberalism

One of my graduation requirements is a thesis-like Graduate Research Project. Since this is a technical school, most of topics are atrociously boring, like these no kidding projects:

- "Registration techniques for speckle suppression in 2-D LADAR image

- "A Probabilistic Method for Evaluating Uncertainty in Low-Altitude High Energy Laser Effectiveness"

Yawn and Yack! It took me several extra weeks but I was able to find an advisor to support my barely-"PC" research project, "Using Information Technology to Marginalize Radical Islam".

My thesis boils down to this: if America wants to prevent the next generation of terrorists what needs to happen to Wahabbi Islam is exactly what happened to Protestant Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Liberalism was a terrible thing for Christianity, it sought to destroy the authority of our sacred text. But if we can use Information Technology to spread a more "liberal" view of Islam in the madrassas and other educational institutions, liberalism may mean that our children and children's children won't have to fight an increasing number of anti-Western Islamic terrorists.


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding?

Pastor Friend

Tim said...

Ewww. I hope my thesis committee doesn't respond that way. I'll think on this some more.

According to the State Department in the recent past there has been a large increase in madrassas that teach the Wahabbi form of Islam (in the thousands). The kids in those madrassas now are likely to become the terrorists our sons have to protect us against a generation from now. From what I've gathered, the Wahabbis have a high view of the Koran yet they do not represent historic, "orthodox" Islam.

On the other hand, the moderate Islamic scholars describe their view of the Koran in similar terms that liberal Protestants like to use. They see "openness" in the Koran for pluralism, democracy, etc.

Since the US gives $X billion to Pakistan and elsewhere why not stipulate that it's to be used for more than training and equipping soldiers? If the US is going to give funds, that and other public diplomacy efforts should go towards marginalizing the radical madrassas and "seminaries" by funding more liberal ones. Right now many parents in that society have no choice but to send their children to the Wahabbis. If instead they could send their children to a state-of-the-art traditional madrassa that has a full-orbed curriculum for free, we may see some stability.

Also, Information Technology (such as TV, internet, radio, etc) should attempt to subtlety marginalize the radical's message. Islamic governments (many of which we already subsidize) should set up policies to displace the virulently anti-Western cable networks and newspapers by supporting ones of more "moderate" perspective.

If this all sounds hokey, please somebody tell me before I brief this to my thesis committee!

Anonymous said...

No, no, I think it's genius...I'm just surprised they'd let you do it. Pastor Friend

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty clever, myself, but I kinda squirm at the thought of my tax dollars being used to promote Islam of any variety.

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

That was me, BTW

Tim said...

Valerie, I agree. But I don't see any indication that the USG will cease giving billions away.

Since Islamic nations are without separation of "church" and state I suspect we're supporting Islam whenever we give money to any Islamic nation. I'd rather subsidize the kind of Islam that doesn't increase the risk to our nation's children.