On a recent BHTV Jeff Sharlet and Amy Sullivan discuss a recent trend in the conception of Islam among the military:
As I listened to them I got really annoyed. It is not accurate to say that Islam is an ideology and not a religion, but it is also not without foundation. Many Muslims would assert that Islam is a “total way of life.” Analogous to the lifestyles of Haredi Jews or Roman Catholic monks (the same “total way of life” is also used by conservative Protestants and Hindus, so it isn’t limited to Muslims).
Now listen to a more recent BHTV segment:
The attitudes described in this segment reflect perfectly the reason that some individuals might assert that Islam is not a religion, but a political ideology. They’re wrong, insofar as it is a religion, and can also be a political ideology. But the inference of American conservatives is not purely a product of their own fervid paranoia. If liberals (of which I am not one) want to communicate and persuade conservatives they would best actually understand the roots of right-wing logic, instead of dismissing it as pure fantasy.