Friday’s tragic mass murder in Paris needs to be seen in context. And yes, the context is financial. Traditional Islam imposes a medieval lifestyle on its followers; a lifestyle that, without oil money, yields bare subsistence at best. Islam’s mullahs can see that their support will quickly erode over time as even devout Muslims will not accept such a basic lifestyle when the wealth of the modern world is clearly apparent to them. As the oil money inevitably goes away, Islam is left with two choices. The modernist choice is to join the modern world, accepting pluralism and other necessary compromises in order to build a modern economy. The medievalist choice is to take over the modern world, justified by the Islamic view that God has chosen Muslims to rule the world and religious tolerance is conditioned on that rule.
The modernist view is primarily identified with the Shia faction and Iran, while the medievalist view is mostly identified with the Sunni faction and Saudi Arabia. As I have mentioned before, this is leading to a factional conflict somewhat analogous to the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, which was also marked with horrific atrocities but opened the way to the Enlightenment and our modern world.
It is clear the the medievalists have chosen to fight on two fronts – internally to overwhelm the modernists, while seizing the opportunity to infiltrate and intimidate modern Europe. Europe has not come to grips with the medievalist strategy, which is to eventually overrun the secular states. It seems that politicians, especially Angela Merkel, are in denial, while the electorate instinctively understands what is happening. The Paris massacre seems to have opened President Hollande’s eyes – and if he does not take action he well knows that Marine Le Pen is waiting in the wings. President Obama’s outreach to Iran clearly is intended to support the modernist faction, and rightly so. But more is needed to actively isolate and suppress the medievalist view, not only in a military sense but by winning “hearts and minds.”