Terrorists, would-be terrorists and terrorist sympathizers come up with all sorts of reasons to declare us the Great Satan: U.S. troops being in Muslim countries (the fave of Osama bin Laden and incompetent bomber Faisal Shahzad), support for Israel, the immodesty of our women, rock-‘n’-roll, beer, what have you.
Of them all, the only excuses that strike any sort of resonance in me are the cultural ones. I do sympathize with people of a religion that values sobriety and modesty feeling beleaguered by the global assault of the tackier, baser elements of American popular culture. If you’re trying to keep the young men’s minds on the words of the Prophet, Lady Gaga cannot be seen as helping one bit. It doesn’t justify violence, but it could certainly be maddening.
But now, Western influence has gone too far. Check this out:
KUALA LUMPUR—The U.S. has “American Idol.” Britain has “The X Factor.” Malaysia, one of the world’s more progressive Muslim nations, has something rather different—a televised search for the country’s most eligible young religious leader.“Young Imam” might look familiar at first glance. Ten good-looking male contestants in sharp-looking suits are assigned to sing and complete a series of complex tasks. At the end of the show, the studio lights dim, the music drops to a whisper, and a clutch of young hopefuls step forward nervously, waiting hand-in-hand to find out who will be sent home that night.Instead of a record contract or a million-dollar prize, though, the last imam standing wins a scholarship to the al-Madinah University in Saudi Arabia, a job leading prayers at a Kuala Lumpur mosque and an expense-paid trip to Mecca to perform the Haj pilgrimage.The sole judge who decides who stays and who goes each Friday in prime-time isn’t an aging pop star or talk-show host. He’s the turban-wearing former grand mufti of Malaysia’s national mosque, Hasan Mahmood. Last week Mr. Hasan stifled a sob as he eliminated 25-year-old Sharafuddin Suaut from the show for stumbling over some of the finer points of Islamic theory…