Ian Buruma, in an article for Project Syndicate, discusses (with implied approval) the decline of “multiculturalism” as a dominant ethic in Europe (especially the Netherlands) as increasing secularism has blurred traditional religious distinctions, and some consequent challenges arising from the relationship between secular Europe and its Muslim immigrants. He argues, as I have, that “Liberal democracy and Islam are reconcilable”, and further that “By defending Enlightenment values in a dogmatic way Europeans will be the ones who undermine them.”
“The reason for defending Enlightenment values is that they are based on good ideas, and not because they are ‘our culture.’ To confuse culture and politics in this way is to fall into the same trap as the multiculturalists.”
In this view it appears that the real culture war is not between Christendom and Islam but between enlightenment and darkness. That there is much that is dark in the modern Muslim world should not lead us to forget that is arguably the brightness and (relative) tolerance of the ancient Muslim world that sparked the European enlightenment. And conversely, we surely cannot fail to see the rising tide of darkenss represented by Bushite fundamentalist Christianity in America.
Perhaps the forces of darkness on both “sides” are, once again, proclaiming and using the East-West split to divert attention from the entirely different direction on which the real “war” is progressing.
“We” all understand this but seem to consider it too obvious or trivial to mention. And so we still let it happen.