Saturday, September 11, 2010

9 / 11

. . . Islam had evolved a response to the challenge of a world populated with strangers, though one that has proved fragile under the stresses of more recent centuries. That fragility is not accidental, though. The fact that Islam rapidly acquired impressive military and political strength within a few years of its foundation meant that—unlike Christianity—it never needed to develop a philosophy of compromise with secular authorities and could indulge the ambition of a comprehensive regulation of social life. Its periods of tolerance were, therefore, the product of vast self-confidence and the absence of any real internal challenge rather than an ideology that had adapted to the permanent presence of strangers.

~ Paul Seabright (2010) The Company of Strangers

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