Islam's Choice

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse in the Middle East, along comes another coup. Not just any coup, but a power grab in Cairo, the most populous Arab capital. Not that precipitous regime changes are novelties in the Muslim world; coups have a better history than democracy in Arabia and elsewhere. Indeed, the Roman Empire may have been the last memorable vestige of tolerant republicanism in North Africa and the Mideast.   The advent and spread of Islam (557-632 AD) was not good news for the enlightened Greco-Roman polytheists of the littoral and the Levant, and today, Islam still cuts two ways. Religion is both the tie that binds and the wedge that divides.   Hence, the fellaheen of contemporary Egypt are again impaled on the horns of that raging bull of Islamic history, a Hobson's choice. Such is the simple truth of much Muslim history, a millennial struggle between religious absolutism and secular oligarchy. If generals are the occasional problem in...(Read Full Article)