VIEWSrnInsurgent Islam and American Collaborationrnby James George Jatrasrn^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ t e « p ^rnli§^^^mm^^^^^^^^^^^'”rn^^^”^^^^^^m^/Z/^^^^^^^^wiiMrnW^-“”^^^^//^^^^^^-^/-^^^^rny^^^0^^^00^m&^rnThe cultural schism between the Western and Easternrnhalves of European Christian civilization —marked principallyrnb}’ their respective religious traditions, Roman Catholicrnand Protestant in die West and Orthodox in the East, may orrnmay not prove fatal. One issue stands aboe all others in determiningrnthe outcome: the Islamic resurgence that has rapidlyrncome to mark the post-Cold War era. For the East, which bordersrnon the Muslim world, the problem continues to be, as itrnhas been since Islam first appeared in the seventh cenhiry, primarilyrnone of direct, violent confrontation, which today stretchesrnfrom the Balkans to the Caucasus, and throughout CentralrnAsia. For the West, on the other Iiand, the problem today is primarilyrninternal, a result of ideological confusion (which inrnmany instances leads to active collaboration), coupled with demographicrninfiltration.rnLast year, the county board of Loudoun County, Virginia,rnjust a few miles down the road from the federal capital, grantedrna zoning variance, over vigorous local opposition, to facilitaternthe construction of a new Islamic academy. The institution isrnone of a number being constructed nationwide, and it will coverrnsome 100 acres, include elementary, middle, and highrnschools, feature an 800-bed dormitory, and grace the rollingrnhills of the Virginia horse countr)’ with a 65-foot mosque domernand an 85-foot minaretrnCounty residents opposed the academy on a variety ofrngrounds, notably the loss of tax revenue on land that was otherwisernzoned for business uses and the securit)’ threat posed byrnthe school, either from Muslims who would be attracted to therncount}’ or from the possibilit)’ that anti-Saudi Islamic groupsrnmight see the academy as a templing target. But the critics’rncentral issue—and the one that highlights Western incompre-rnJames George Jatras is a policy analyst at the United StatesrnSenate. The views expressed here are his own and do notrnrepresent any Senate member or office.rnhension of the phenomenon in question—was the character ofrnthe Saudi regime, which, according to the school’s bylaws, exercisesrntotal control, to the extent that the school is part of thernstructure of the Saudi Ministrv’ of Education: an establishmentrnof a foreign sovereign on American soil. Indeed, the Saudi ambassadorrnis ex officio chairman.rnPredictably, as soon as Saudi Arabia and Islam became the issues,rnprogressive opinion responded that rejection of the schoolrnwould be intolerance of “diversity.” One county resident displayedrna crescent and star in the window of her home to showrnsymbolically that “Islam is welcome here.” The ever-vigilantrnWashington Post weighed in with an editorial blasting oppositionrnto the school as “religions intolerance” and “the worst kindrnof bigotry” on the part of retrograde denizens of the Old Dominion.rn”Ugly statements that have been made in public meetingsrnon the issue have run the range of mean-spiritedness,”rnsniffed the Posf, “with some residents asserting that the schoolrnshould be rejected because ‘the Saudis execute their own peoplernwho convert from Islam.'”rnIn point of correction to the Posf’s sarcastic quotation marks,rnthe 1997 U.S. Department of State Report on Human RightsrnPractices states the following about Saudi Arabia:rnFreedom of religion does not exist. Islam is the officialrnreligion and all [Saudi] citizens must be Muslims.. . .rnConversion by a Muslim to another religion is consideredrnapostasy. Public apostasy is considered a crime underrnShari’a law and punishable by death.rnSo which is more “ugly” and “mean-spirited”—the fact that thernSaudis do indeed behead those who abandon Islam or thatrnLoudoun citizens have been tactless enough to take note of thatrnfact? One witness before the county board testified that herrndaughters, who are U.S. citizens, have been prevented fromrnleaving Saudi Arabia for over 13 years because, as women, theyrn14/CHRONICLESrnrnrn