“Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert’s worldview alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his. The disturbance for societies is immense, and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again and again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of the converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil.”
- V.S Naipaul
V. S. Naipaul has written two books on contemporary Islam:
Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples
Islam started as an Arab religion.
As Islam spread throughout the world, other countries were forcefully converted to Islam, choosing to submit rather than face destruction at the hands of the Mujahideen. Consequently, as the Islamic world absorbed these non-Arab cultures, the Islamic world lost some of its Arab flavor.
In many ways, Islam was an instrument of Arab imperialism, but that aspect diminished in importance as the Arab world lost control over the caliphate.
Now, however, flush with petrodollars, Saudi Arabia, the place of Islam's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, is again spreading its own peculiar Wahhabist brand of Islam -- a very violent and radical form of Islam, one that seeks to weed out of the Islamic world any impurities. The new Arab imperialism is a financial, intellectual and mental jihad, an attempt to re-Arabify the Islamic world, even as it spreads Islam to more infidel lands.
Radical preachers of hatred, ostensibly leaders of the Religion of Peace, trained in Medina and funded by Saudi Arabia, radicalize mosques the world over; these mosques then become the hot points in their host society, bringing the countries that tolerate their intolerance to a violent, rolling boil.
There are Muslims who are truly peaceful. They lead peaceful lives, and really believe that Islam permits peaceful coexistence with other religions. They are not "moderates" -- they are very serious about their religion; they merely are not violent terrorist criminals. They can point to many passages in their holy texts to support their belief system.
The violent terrorist criminals make takfir out of those who believe in peaceful coexistence. They make a convincing argument, based on the totality of Islamic texts, that Islam must rule the world; anyone who disagrees with them is an infidel or an apostate, and must be violently subdued.
It is this latter view of Islam that is prevailing, thanks in very large part to funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; decent people in the Islamic world are being shouted down, intimidated, and murdered. Islam's borders are bloody, but so is Islam's interior.
The human, earthly battle against Islamic conquest is today, first and foremost, a battle against Arab imperialism that has been "reinvigorated" with the addictive hits of petrodollars, and that is now so "high" that it feels invincible.