On Google News at this moment, all three main world stories and one of the two top stories are about Islam in one form or another:
Hamas Assumes Control of Parliament
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Feb. 18 -- The radical Islamic group Hamas took control of the Palestinian parliament Saturday during a somber swearing-in ceremony, and legislators from the new majority quickly made ...
Libyan interior minister suspended after deadly riot
Libya's General People Congress (parliament) suspended the interior minister from post after at least 10 Libyans were killed in protest against cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, an official statement said on Saturday. ...
Nine foreigners abducted in Nigerian oil attacks
By Tom Ashby. LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigerian militants launched a string of attacks on the world's eighth largest oil exporter on Saturday, abducting nine foreign workers, bombing a major oil tanker terminal and sabotaging two pipelines. ... In this case it's important to remember that Nigeria suffers from a struggle for power between a mainly muslim ruling party and a population of mixed ethnic background who live in the southern delta region who are attempting to gain some degree of power.
Russia to host crucial talks on Iran nuclear program
MOSCOW (AP): The spotlight on Tehran's nuclear program shifts Monday to Moscow, where Iranian officials are expected for talks on a proposal to move their uranium enrichment to Russia in a bid to ease fears the Mideast nation will develop atomic weapons. ...
When the new world was discovered by Columbus, both Protestant Portugal and Catholic Spain laid claim to the new world. A series of Papal Bulls and treaties were passed which essentially divvied up the New World by drawing a north/south line through the newly discovered lands. While the precise location of that line varied and was variously reinterpreted by both parties, it is interesting to note that today the land granted Protestant Portugal evolved into the single country of Brazil, while the holdings of Catholic Spain fractured into many different countries.
In the United States we have a very strong notion of a strict separation of Religion from not just State, but from aspects of Culture, Government and History as well--as if Religion is not just separate from State, but somehow orthogonal to all other pursuits as well. This notion seems to have evolved from the multi-cultural notion that somehow all religions and all cultures are equal--and to suggest otherwise is to incur the wrath of the politically correct.
The reality is, however, religion affects culture. It affects how societies evolve. And from the story of the settlement of the new world, even something as relatively minor (to most Americans) as the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism has had a dramatic effect on the very map of the world.
Regardless of the specifics of the faith of Islam, it is clear that Islamic belief and faith is now shaping the entire world's geopolitical reality. It can also be argued that Islam has been shaping the world's geopolitical reality since it came onto the scene in the late 600's, and has had a major effect on Europe since the Moores conquered the southern part of Spain and held it until it was pushed back in 1492--simultaneous with the start of the Renaissance and the discovery of the Americas by Columbus.
But like our unwillingness to recognize the fact that Religion has shaped the New World in dramatic ways--Protestant Brazil verses a bunch of Catholic banana republics who are only now joining the twentieth century as we move into the twenty-first--we seem completely unwilling to recognize the major fault line between the West and Islamic culture.