While I was lying on my bed of pain this weekend, I spent the awake hours reading Chechen Jihad by Yossef Bodansky. What a thoroughly dispiriting piece of reading.
The Chechen region started off, during the breakup of the Soviet Union, about exactly as nominally "Muslim" as I am "Baptist". Once the shooting started and the outsiders began marching to the sound of the guns and the insiders needed something to use to give themselves a "brand identity", things went from secular to sharia in five years.
Watching that transformation happen around you has got to be creepy; that is, if you manage to keep from getting caught up in it yourself. One minute your neighbors are making cuckoo clocks and BMW's, and the next thing you know they're punching the time clock at Auschwitz and you just know somebody's got to stop and think, every now and then, in between loading the people in boxcars, "Hey, whoa... How did we get here? When did all this happen?"