In his book The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis, one of the foremost historians of the Middle East and the Islamic world, says:
"By now there is an almost standardized litany of American offenses recited in the lands of Islam, in the media, in pamphlets, in sermons, and in public speeches... It [cites] the enslavement, importation, and exploitation of the blacks…and of immigrants in the Untied States… More broadly, the charge sheet includes support for Middle Eastern and other tyrants, such as the shah of Iran and Haile Selassie of Ethopia, as well as a variable list of [other] Arab tyrants..."
Lewis continues: "Yet the most powerful accusation of all is the degeneracy and debauchery of the American way of life, and the threat that it offers to Islam. This threat, classically formulated by Sayyid Qutb, became a regular part of the vocabulary and ideology of Islamic fundamentalists, and most notably, in the language of the Iranian Revolution. This is what is meant by the term the Great Satan, applied to the United States by the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Satan as depicted in the Qur'an is neither an imperialist nor an exploiter. He is a seducer, ‘the insidious tempter who whispers in the hearts of men' (Qur'an CXIV, 4,5)." (pp. 80,81)
Do you ever wonder why other cultures so distrust the West? Perhaps the answer lies not in the opinions of progressive talking-heads on cable TV or in the "wisdom" of our politicians in Washington, D.C., but in the mirror as we watch ourselves thoughtlessly listen to the "whispers of men" rather than the mandates of God and, thereby, foolishly abandon the very values and virtues that used to earn us respect rather than hatred of the Arab world.
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