The horrible events in Paris appear to tell us a number of things about certain puritanical aspects of Islam and the relentless nature of modern global culture. Relentless? Yes, modern culture is relentless, that’s how it arrived here, why we can’t do anything about it but watch and learn. We also have to look at the medium to long term and avoid personalities. They don’t count.
ISIS appears sincere in its determination to go back to a seventh-century religious, cultural and legal environment. Insane nostalgia with a Kalashnikov in one hand and early medieval literature of dubious provenance in the other. How does that vision stand up to a multi-trillion dollar global economy armed with cruise missiles, military satellites and multi-billion dollar surveillance technology? The short answer is that it doesn’t.
We seem to be witnessing the tragically painful demise of an ancient puritanical sect unable to cope with the modern world and all that it requires - because the modern world has its requirements and they are not optional. The emancipation of women for one. Not optional.
Something has to give and the irresistible power of global bureaucracy, business and consumer culture suggests it will not be the modern world. The puritanical soul of Islam will be sucked dry and recast into the approved norms - a hunger for jobs, houses, cars, smart clothes, entertainment and all the usual goodies. For many it has already happened because accommodation is so easy, so appealing.
Even worse barbarism may be waiting in the wings before we are done, but the seventh century has gone and isn’t coming back.