A series of regressive acts in parts of the Islamic world in recent weeks shows how much hold a doctrinaire brand of Islam has on the minds of people. Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Brunei are caught in this fundamentalist storm.
There is a tinge of irony in all this. Saudi Arabia, which originally exported these medieval ideas, is adopting measures that point toward moderation, at least superficially. On the other hand, Indonesia and Brunei – thus far considered havens of Islamic moderation – have become increasingly fundamentalist in the last few years, leading to these measures.