Nearly fifty countries have Muslim majorities but just four of them, clustered in a relatively compact geographical region, have special importance in determining Islam's future. They are:
- Turkey, which leads the way to Islamism 2.0, a more democratic and sophisticated version of the supremacist and totalitarian ideology forwarded by Khomeini and Osama bin Laden.
- Iran, which leads the way out of Islamism even as its apocalyptic leaders build nuclear weapons.
- Pakistan, which hosts the most volatile mix of problems on the planet, from catastrophic floods to a Taliban insurgency, with nuclear weapons always in the background.
- Saudi Arabia, home of the Kaaba, Wahhabism, and sovereign fund wealth, and where the leadership is taking tentative steps to join the modern world.
(January 1, 2011)