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by Gary Larrabee
Saturday, Dec. 08, 2001 at 1:51 AM
Unlike Christianity, Islam is concerned with seeking to regulate, not only man's relationship with God (through his conscience), but human relationships in society as well. Therefore, there can be not only an Islamic "church" but also Islamic law, and an Islamic state. The dual religious and social character of Islam sees itself as commissioned by God to bring its own value system to the world through the jihad.
The New Islamic Empire
By Ronald L. Dart
They are people of the desert. To the western eye, they appear backward, undeveloped, fanatical, even bizarre. Yet they are the remnants of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known. And they are destined to effect your life more directly than you can ever imagine.
They are the peoples of Islam. There are 800 million Moslems in North Africa, the Middle East, Middle Asia, the far east and the rest of the world. The followers of Mohammed are five million strong in the United States, and by now, there may be 100 million Moslems in the Soviet Union.
Drop by your local bookstore and browse the current affairs section. Here you should find something on all the major issues that face our nation in the twentieth century.
Well, nearly all. In my bookstore, I found nothing dealing with Islam or the Arab peoples. Perhaps it is of small moment to Americans that Moslem fanatics held 48 diplomats hostage and nearly wrecked the presidency of Jimmy Carter. Maybe the two major oil shocks of the seventies that brought our economy to its knees have faded from our memory. Was it just a bad dream, or were we all lined up around the block for a tank of gasoline not long ago? Wasn't it because of an Arab oil embargo? And what were our armies doing in Iraq during Desert Storm?
Islam is an Arabic religion, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia. As an accident of fate, or as a result of divine providence, Saudi Arabia sits on roughly one fourth of the world's oil reserves and supplies about 18 percent of the free world's oil.
When we add the rest of the Arab world, plus Iran and Iraq, North Africa, and the oil producing Islamic nations of the far east, it is plain that the followers of the Prophet have a stranglehold on the most strategic commodity in the world. When they can agree on policy, they can bring the world economy to its knees. When OPEC decides it will be so, even a powerful nation with its own oil reserves can end up with shortages of heating oil, lines at the gas pumps, and raging inflation.
Ask any American. Well, ask any American in his thirties.
It seems strange, in a nation that has already experienced two severe "oil shocks" at the hands of Islam, that we know so little about these people, their religion, where they come from, and where they are going. We look upon them as backward, illiterate, inept, "camel drivers," and hold them in contempt. We have no idea what drives them because we know little or nothing of their history. Many assume there is little history to know.
How wrong they are.
The Arab peoples are brothers to Israel. They are the descendants of the firstborn son of Abraham. When Abraham and Sarah were old and despaired of having children, Sarah suggested they try something not entirely unheard of even in our world
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