Muslims are not a homogenous entity. Far from it. Like all other faith communities, we are divided along sectarian, ethnic, class and political lines. Even a casual tourist to the Muslim lands will vouch for these divisions.
Whether it is Acehnese fighting Javanese domination in Indonesia or the secularists lined up against Islamists in Turkey; be it the Leftists of Pakistan facing up to the Ultra-Right religious parties or the Egyptian "Enough" activists debating the Muslim Brotherhood, Muslims are as divided in their vision of the future as are Christians or Jews.
Yet despite this clear evidence of ethno-social diversity and political division, many Western observers often view all of Islamdom as if it were a monolithic Islamist mob. At times their fears are grounded in ignorance, but quite often it borders on an alarmist fear of the Muslim world.
Among the authors paying particular attention to this supposed war of civilizations is Maclean's columnist Mark Steyn. Last year Steyn published America Alone, a bestseller that raised the spectre of a Europe that would soon drown in a sea of radical Muslims committed to turning the clock back to the Middle Ages. Excerpts from the book then appeared as a cover story in Maclean's, "The future belongs to Islam."
Steyn predicts nothing less than the end of Western civilization as we know it, thanks to an invasion by Muslims deploying the womb as a weapon of mass destruction. His thesis is that Muslims in Europe are failing to integrate or embrace the values of the Enlightenment, freedom and secular democracy, choosing instead to create their own enclaves, which often become hotbeds of fundamentalism. Worse, the numerical growth of Muslim communities in the West, he contends, will allow radical Islamists to dilute the political, social and cultural values of the West beyond recognition.