Published 9/17/02 in The Tennessean
To the editor:
To Islamic fundamentalists, for a "materialistic," godless nation such as America to attain such preeminence is a slap in the face of their non-material, mystical belief-system
You see, Allah promises to reward the righteous and punish the wicked. America's success, therefore, is a mystery to Islamic extremists. For after centuries of doing God's alleged bidding¾ of untold millions praying 5 times daily, heads down and bottoms skyward (an appropriate position for humility)¾ Islamic nations rank among the most squalid and depressed in the world.
This comes as a great shock to fanatical Muslims. They can't quite figure out why humility doesn't generate anything to be proud of, why being anti-material doesn't produce material abundance, why being otherworldly doesn't better their place in this world, why faith doesn't create reasonable conditions, why self-sacrifice produces sacrifice of selves.
In short, Muslim extremists are confounded by this mysterious, almost conspiratorial connection between cause and effect.