Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Pakistan and the Middle East, along with the shooting tragedy at Ft. Hood, has put radical Islam under the microscope again. Around the country, bloggers, journalists, military leaders, and the FBI are trying to make sense of, and explain, the Ft. Hood shooting.

However, there is a bigger issue for U.S. policy makers to consider that appears to be lost in the rhetoric about the shooting and potential links to radical Islam. Secretary Clinton addressed this issue indirectly both in Pakistan and in Jerusalem during her recent tour. Radical Islam has more to do with troubled geography than with religious ideology, and herein lies the problem.

A lack of understanding about Islam’s geography continues to hinder any real progress in finding solutions to big problems like terrorism, authoritarianism, and miserable socio-economic conditions for millions of Muslims.

Islam’s position at the geographic center of world trade from the 10th to the 16th centuries played an important role in its scientific, economic, and political influence.

Islam’s diverse constituent societies mediated trade and communication between East and West, notwithstanding the threats to religious and territorial integrity from orthodox

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