Oil wealth is hardly evenly distributed across the Middle East, and except for Arabs in the oil rich Gulf States, the vast majority of the people are poor. Even in the oil rich states, the great wealth has produced an odd society of many wealthy people with little to do. I'm not sure that's a fully healthy situation either. Bored rich kids looking for meaning in their lives can be as dangerous as the radicalized poor. Combine the two and you get a wealthy bin Laden leading a terrorist militia recruited from impoverished backwaters in Afghanistan.
Then what about other poor countries? Where are the suicide bombers from other poor countries that aren't Islamic? Or I guess your also saying being rich is the problem now. Easily disprovable statement made by you and backed with no evidence again.
"The belief that suicide bombers are poor, uneducated, disaffected or disturbed is contradicted by science. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, found in a study of 400 Al Qaeda members that three quarters of his sample came from the upper or middle class."
So now it's the middle class also. Yes, we will solve this problem by getting rid of the poor, middle class and rich people.
But let's cut to the chase here. I'm willing to look at Islam and the Middle East as a complex place with many different currents, some good some bad, that we can influence positively only if we recognize and respect what is good and focus on that at least as much as we focus on whats bad.
You are not focusing on what's bad, you are denying it, which contradicts this statement.
You seem to be unable to find much at all good in Islam or the Middle East and view Islam with great skepticism as an "ideology" that has an inherent and apparently dominant violent streak.
We keep going in circles. To say "Islam today is an ideology that has a large part that is violent" is frankly just plain common sense. But that statement makes you uncomfortable so you say "No, that's not Islam." So I show you the Quran passages that are violent and are followed by Al Quada and Hezbollah and the Muslim brotherhood to preach violence (which are huge groups with many followers) you get uncomfortable so you tell me Bible passages are just as violent so you don't have to admit those are parts of Islam. When I point out to you that there is no equivalent in Christianity or any other religion to the violence commited by extremist Muslims today you talk about Christians from hundreds of years ago. When I tell you we are addressing problems of the present you go into some malarkey about "complex socio-economic situations and poverty" which is already disproven.
Let's assume for a moment that you are right and Islam is a failed and corrupt religion that is more in line with ideologies like Nazism then with other religions. What then? How do you propose we change it? Do you think Westerners preaching to Muslims about the flaws of their religion and culture will work?
Yes, I think it will work.
Do you think you can convert them?
Convert them to what? Non-extremists, yeah. That's the point, spread the peaceful message because a great deal of time and money and effort is being spent to spread the hateful one and it is working.
Or is your approach to consider them enemies and use force to contain or subdue them?
Lets ignore the fact that I have repeatedly said the solution is a public conversation and suggest I'm advocating war.
I just don't know where you can go from where you are unless you want to go to war.
Then you are not very creative. Heck, I even gave you an example of how we defeated the KKK by winning a war of ideas through peace, but for some reason you think this couldn't work for Islamic extremism.
Did we iradicate (essentially) the KKK by saying, "only a few are committing violence."? Did we say "It's a poverty issue, it's a political issue, we need to focus on what's good and not criticize them."? Did we say "Only a few hundred years ago my ancestors were also racist, so who am I to judge"? No, we confronted it, we said "Your ideology is hateful." When they replied "This bible passage says I'm right" we brought in our own Bible scholars to show they were wrong. And it worked, people believed the peace message (I like to think because people are inherently peaceful). But we didn't just leave their message out there, leave them to be the ones to teach their own versions of hate, we put another message out. That is what we do with extremist Islam.
What you seem hesitant to do is to label this a problem within Islam. I guess you feel it sounds bigoted. I don't know when criticizing an ideology became bigoted, perhaps it's because it's a religion (though people don't seem to have trouble criticizing other religions), most likely it's because many people associate Islam with a race even though it is not.
If you came to my house and I told my wife she could not work, could not leave my house without my permission would you confront me? What of I beat my wife, what if I said "The people in the world trade centers got what they had coming." Would you confront me? Of course you would (I hope). And if I told you it's my religious belief and showed you my book for evidence what would you say? You'd say, "I don't care, your wrong and your belief is wrong." If you knew others who shared my religion peacefully, you'd get them to tell me why I'm wrong. You wouldn't make excuses for my behavior and leave saying hopefully the socio-political climate changes in that house one day. It's not your problem, heck the bible says the same thing.
But when I ask you to make the same statement about women in Saudi Arabia, you won't. "No, you say, I believe in women's rights but we can't judge an entire culture, we need to focus on the good to bring about change." Let's not talk about the doctrine they use to justify oppression, that's irrelevant. Lets not tell them they're wrong.
So I believe the difference is that you are worried about what people will think of you. I believe you would tell someone they were wrong in their house, but add witnesses and "people might say I'm a bigot if I say Islam is used to opresses women in Saudi Arabia" (and many other places) even though we all know its true. So lets dance around it, excuse it, equivocate it.
Why don't we tell them they're wrong, tell them that it's not acceptable, get peaceful Muslims to specifically refute their claims in the Quran justifying women's oppression. I think it's because your afraid of what people will think and say. And you should be, because people like yourself will do that. You will try to paint me as a racist or bigot and twist my words despite my clearly sane reasoned responses. I'm asking that you stop. Stop denying reality, and stand up for human rights.