Many, many times people have told me that I need not be concerned about the global jihad, because the jihad ideology will ultimately bow before Big Macs and Britney Spears. But I am not so sure that American pop culture is really all-conquering, and even less sure that it should be — there are ideological weapons in the West with which to beat Sharia, all of them superior to soulless and self-centered materialism. In any case, there are abundant indications already that the comforts and attractions of modern society do not in fact defuse the jihad impulse. In Islam Unveiled I tell the story of American journalist Charles Glass, who was held hostage in Lebanon by young men who whiled away the hours listening to Michael Jackson records.
And here is a story that shows how some Muslims already perceive Western pop culture as an active enemy of Islam. From Reuters, with thanks to Fjordman:
Ban Sawo Hilir, Thailand, August 30: In the wilds of southern Thailand, where people believe Islam first took root in Southeast Asia, plans to dish out cable TV with free English soccer to quell ethnic Malay unrest have not gone down well.
“The kids will just watch TV and leave the Koran and their school books behind,” said Haji Mustafa Bin Haji Abdul Latif of Ban Sawo Hilir in Narathiwat, one of three provinces rocked by 20 months of violence in which more than 800 people have died.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he says, taking a long drag on a hand-rolled cigarette at his run-down tea-shop in the exclusively Muslim village deep in the jungle.
Around him, a handful of customers give similar verdicts on the proposals by Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana to use Thai TV, karaoke stars and European soccer to wean Muslim youths away from violence….
In Ban Sawo Hilir, where there is no mobile phone reception, villagers say they can get Malaysian terrestrial TV, but the reception is fuzzy and they claim to watch it sparingly.
“During the fasting month, people like to watch the Koran reading competitions or classic Malaysian movies,” said Midbin.
Despite this, everybody at the teashop confesses to supporting either Liverpool or Manchester United and can reel off a list of top-flight players — suggesting a slightly greater love of European soccer than they would like to admit….
Underlying it all is the fact that Buddhists from Bangkok do not understand or appreciate the Malay Muslim way of life, said Adun, a non-Malay Muslim from the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, 250 km (155 miles) to the north.
“How can those who drink beer solve the problems in a place where people only drink tea?” he said.