Dinesh D’Souza recommends the American conservatives ally with what he calls “traditional Muslims,” who are actually cultural Muslims who have little acquaintance with or interest in violent jihad. The problem is that such people are always susceptible to the jihadist appeal, based as it is on the Qur’an and Sunnah. Here is an example of this happening in D’Souza’s native India.
“Austere version of Islam finding a home in India: Migrants returning from the Persian Gulf with stricter views are altering the melting pot in an Indian province,” by Borzou Daragahi in the Los Angeles Times, with thanks to Looney Tunes:
VENGARA, INDIA “” The change came several years ago for Maryam Arrakal. Her husband brought a black, all-covering abaya back to this steamy, subtropical town from the desert sands of Saudi Arabia.
It contrasted starkly with the pastel saris she normally wore.
But in the 12 years that her husband, Kunchava, had been running a Saudi fabric shop, he had become detached from this melting pot of Muslims, Hindus and Christians, and more drawn to the Saudis’ strict version of Islam.
“I used to dress much more colorfully,” said Arrakal, standing amid diesel fumes and frenetic auto-rickshaw drivers in Vengara’s one-street downtown, a 7-month-old baby in her arms and a black cloak shrouding her figure. “But my husband brought this for me and prefers me to wear it.”
The migration to oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchies of as many as one in five men from India’s Kerala province has brought an influx of money that pays for food, shelter and education. It also funds dowries for their daughters and gifts for their wives.
But like many of the world’s millions of economic migrants, the men bring back more than money.
In this case, they brim with provocative ideas about the proper way to worship. And they pay for plain green mosques with minarets and Arabic writing that are far different than the ornate and bulbous temples where Muslims have long worshiped here.
In Kerala, where Muslims are traditionally the poorest residents, those returning from the Persian Gulf say they are building pride in their community and connecting its members to the broader Islamic world. But others see the growth of sectarian politics and scattered religious violence as warning signs….
From the moment they arrive, migrants from Kerala are introduced to attitudes unknown at home. Some housing is for Hindus only; some employers openly prefer Muslims over Hindus or Christians.
Some migrant workers are invigorated by living in a country with a Muslim majority. Others less enthusiastic about their new home cling to their faith out of loneliness and a sense of isolation. But they find a different interpretation of Islam.
Arrakal’s husband, Kunchava, 49, had little to do in his free time in Saudi Arabia but attend prayers and read the Koran. He gradually changed his views about life and faith, including how his wife dressed.
“In traditional Indian garb, the woman’s stomach is bare,” he said. “Islamic dress covers up all the body parts.”
In study groups and at prayer gatherings throughout the Persian Gulf region, men such as Abdul Rahman Mohammed Peetee hammer away at Kerala’s traditions. For them, paying homage to local saints or anyone other than God is sacrilege: The Koran and the sayings of the prophet Muhammad contain all that any Muslim needs.
“You must study the Arab culture,” Peetee, a Kerala native, told a gathering on the sixth floor of an office tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The men howled in protest.
“Some Arabs behave worse than us!” one cried. “Why should we study them? We have our own practices and culture.”
Peetee, a stout man with a collarless shirt buttoned to his neck, was relentless.
“These practices are established by society,” he said. “Not by the Koran.”…
“I am scared,” said one moderate Muslim newspaper editor, who asked that his name not be published because it could harm his community standing. “The liberal Muslims, the moderate Muslims, are scared.”
The religious awakening also has given rise to a new political assertiveness.
Critics say Muslim organizations have set up de facto political machines, forcing parties on the left and right to woo extreme Islamic groups funded by Persian Gulf riches….
“Social life has been politicized,” Narayan said. “Muslim community organizations found that they could corner all the Muslim votes.”
Many worry that the status quo has begun to unravel.
In January 2002 and May 2003, 14 people were killed in riots between Muslims and Hindus in Calicut. And in February 2005, suspected Hindu nationalists attacked a mosque in the town of Vallikunnam at the end of evening prayers, killing one and injuring two.
“Muslims themselves are worried by the rise of the militant Islamic organizations,” said Ajai Mangat, Calicut correspondent for the Malayalam Manorama, the province’s largest daily newspaper. “If they become more powerful, the Hindu nationalists become more powerful.”