One of the greatest struggles that Islam will have in the following decades is breaking the hold that extremist Islamists have taken on the religion, starting from the middle of the twentieth century. For many Muslims, the return of the ethics and way of doing things in the Mecca and the Medina of the Prophet's time should be the way Islam should follow. This, of course, including modern technology and scientific advancements. While for Westerners this may be a somewhat strange idea, one must understand that Muslim culture was vastly more liberal centuries ago than it is today. In many aspects, mainly the way in which Islam interacts with followers of other religions and its treatment of women, a change to those ideals of the past is preferable to the barbarous and ignorant traditions that many of today's Arab leaders have embraced.
There is quite a lot of hope for the future, regardless of what has happened in the past. Due to many factors, both economic and cultural, Islam is in a position to play a very important part in the future. While an ugly aspect of Islam that has worried many westerners is present in the politics and way of doing things of many governments of Islamic nations, the younger generation has embraced a form of practicing Islam that is more in line with the original teachings of the Prophet and the text in the Qur'an. While it is unfortunate that this change in the status quo has had to come about through acts of violence, especially the revolts and protests in Muslim nations during recent months, it is a strong sign that Islam is changing and getting ready to embrace modernity and become a leading force of progress in the future.