Do Islamists Want “American Freedom?”

I missed this very smart article when it first came out, but it’s well worth reading. Apropos of Alana Goodman’s comments yesterday and using Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an example, Burak Bekdil, one of Turkey’s most talented columnists, examines how so many Islamists talk about their desire to embrace “American freedom” when it suits them but ignore such freedoms when they contradict Islamist precepts. A few excerpts:

…At his party’s historic congress, the prime minister lamented once again that his daughters had to study in the U.S. because they had not been admitted to a Turkish university due to the now defunct headscarf ban on campuses. Similarly, a small Chinese-army-size army of his cheerleaders in the media have invariably hailed American democratic culture and civil liberties in the hope that these freedoms would one day blossom in Turkey too. They have glorified American freedoms and exemplified American secularism over French laicite. In short, “we wanted American freedoms in Turkey!”

He continues:

It is not a secret that Islamists always defend pluralism and minority rights in lands where Muslims are a minority and strictly practice majoritarianism where they constitute the majority. Looks like a smart strategy, but fails to impress. A decade ago, the same strategy, if put in a nice gift wrap, could have found buyers among the West’s “useful idiots,” but these days there are only a few enthusiasts and many who shrug it off, thinking it is too obviously childish and selfish.

Alas, while those facing the imposition of Islamist mores by intolerant rulers now believe that the West’s “useful idiots” have fallen by the wayside and  “only a few enthusiasts” ignore the hypocrisy inherent in Islamist complaints, they are wrong: Saudi, Qatari, and Emirati donations to universities like Georgetown, Columbia, and Harvard ensure that new generations of useful idiots accept the “childish and selfish” as smart and sophisticated.