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No Fear- Reply to Ianus #2

Reader comment on item: Shoeless George Bush
in response to reader comment: Realism vs dreams

Submitted by Chris G. (United States), Jul 24, 2007 at 12:27

Thanks for the reply. Hopefully I can adequately answer or respond to your statements and questions.
Lets see…

>>Not saying that Islam is a perfect inncoent religion is far from seeing it for what it is - a malicious totalitarian mind control in the service of a hedious death cult bent upon the physical conquest and spiritual enslavement and degradation of this world.

Well, having lived in several parts of the Islamic world I have not seen a malicious and hideous death cult or any more spiritual enslavement then any other religion. I am a deist myself and have a background in psychology (B.A.). I fully aware of the ability of any religion to be used as a tool for the mass manipulation of entire populations. To me however it is the same with any potent ideology that people will blindly follow. Communism is one. Even capitalism (dare I say it) can be followed blindly and used to oppress millions of people. Let me add that I am not anti-capitalist or a marxist. I am just stating that many horrible deeds have been done in the name of ideologies which in my framework of thinking, also includes religions. Religions however have the added benefit in that they do not rely on factual evidence, or at least very little factual evidence. They are faith based and have divine power supposedly backing them.

This makes religions much more in tune with the emotions of human beings and much more powerful. Manipulate powerful emotions, and logic takes a back seat. I was at a lecture by Michael Medved a few months back in which I saw him masterfully use Christian symbolism and biblical text to inspire the audience to believe that protecting Israel is the sacred duty of all Christians and to go against Israel is to go against God because Jews are God's chosen people. I won't make a judgement on that, but I was impressed at his mastery and skill at religious manipulation despite the fact that historically Christians have been extremely anti-Semitic.
What he does is very much what I am doing with Islam but in a very different context.

>>Well, more than anywhere else at war efficiency and results are the only thing that counts in the last analysis. If you want to lose this war, please continue on the absurd path where the politicians interfere with and direct (=bungle) the job of the military to appease the dhimmi-minded opinion makers in hostile Eurabia and the even more hostile Near East.

I agree that in war efficiency and results are what matter. However who are we at war with? Daniel Pipes states quite clearly that we are NOT at war with the religion of Islam. Yet he often lumps all of them together with extremists and accuses the religion of being horrifically evil. He does not outline how you convince Muslims to "Modernize" their religion by threatening them and insulting and demonizing their religion and their nations. That is faulty logic in the highest order and goes against basic human psychology. If Muslims are to be convinced using military means to force them to change their religion, then we are no better then Al-Qaeda who wishes to do the same to us. Plus it would require millions of soldiers and where would we get them all from???

I also have never stated that politicians were doing a good job of handing the current War on Terror. Still neither has the military done a perfect job with the exception of a small handful of capable officers. These officers understand that winning hearts and minds requires charisma and diplomacy along with some respect to those they are fighting in order to win them over as several outstanding officers have been able to do in some of the Sunni provinces of central Iraq. Special Forces likewise tend to do a much better job as they are in tune with the local cultures and beliefs. In effect they are trained more to act like anthropologists and are selected from the best and most intelligent of our U.S. Army soldiers.

Finally, is all of the Middle East hostile? Is all Islam hostile? If so, then your rationale is indeed to go to war with the religion of Islam. Likewise even though Daniel Pipes does not believe in that, what he advocates will logically lead to war with the entire religion of Islam.

>> This is an empty gesture that will bring no positive results whatsoever. It will be a sinecure for the diplomat in question. The envoy will be exposed to the corrupting influences of the Moslem environment. The statements against America will be made further on as they don't depend on whether there is an American envoy to the OIC or not. There are much more profound , structural reasons for their being made than just the lack of a watchful American at teh OIC. The envoy will be simply lied to while the oil sheikhs and their chain dogs across the Muslim and Eurabian world will be doing what they have always done - spreading anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

Well I have lived in that "corrupting" influence of multiple Muslim environments and have yet to be converted to Islam nor have I yet to deny the dangers of Islamic extremism. One of the chief problems that I see in your analysis (as well as that of many other conservatives) is that you tend to lump Muslims together far too much based on what you watch on the news. At the OIC you have Muslims that have vastly different backgrounds and Islamic beliefs along with quite a few secularists. They are by no means operating with one sinister agenda of taking over the world in the name of Islam as you seem to believe. From my study of Middle Eastern politicians and politics, they have only ONE main agenda and that is to keep themselves in power. Anti-zionism is a fantastic tool for them to legitimize their power as long as they keep it up. If you understand each of these OIC nations in their own contexts in order to understand what they hope to achieve, they are much easier to manipulate. Furthermore, most of these countries in fact have a vested interest in eliminating Islamic extremists in their own countries because these groups are threats to their regimes.

Also the primary nation responsible for spreading Islamic extremism is Saudi Arabia. Don't lump all of the rest together with Saudi Arabia. That will lead to inaccurate analysis based upon assumptions. Let me give you an example: Please name for me all of the Muslim nations that have legal systems entirely based upon Shariat Law. I believe that you will find that the list is not very long. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Yemen are the only ones that I am aware of. Even Iran's system is not true to Shariat law, but is rather influenced by marxist ideology and British legal influences. So to say that they have a conspiracy of making the whole world Muslim and ruling them under Islamic law is a rather far stretch when most of their countries are not even ruled under Islamic law.

Their legal systems may be in the spirit of Shariat, but so is the legal system of Iraq right now under the system of government that we helped to build. A belief that all these nations are out to get us, begs the question of what in the hell we are doing in Iraq then propping up a Muslim nation and the religion of Islam? I do not see the State Department's commercials on Al-Hurah flying the flag of secularism, freedom, and democracy, having any effect on most Iraqis who hate us now.

Democracy has become nothing more then a tool for extremists to come to power and establish theocratic states in the current political/religious climate in which wahhabism (which you brand incorrectly as the true Islam) has become the prevailing force in Islamic ideologies.

>>Wishful thinking, dear Chris. You have to look at the way "inter-Islamic (or inter-faith for that matter) dialogues" have worked to understand that your postulate is most unrealistic. Thsese usually dialogues of the deaf. As they share no rational logical criteria, the only criterion is that of force. Allah is on the winning side.

Ah, here is where you are most definitely wrong. This is actually my original area of research and I have studied both interfaith and inter-Islamic dialog programs that have worked as well as those that have failed. More importantly I have analyzed why some work and others fail. The main reasons for failure include not understanding the difference between dialog and debate, not having a set protocol for dialog, not having a skilled moderator, not training members of such groups in dialog, and making them into formal events with different religions or sects at different tables. Those that have worked first involve training participants in dialog, an outline for acceptable behavior, and a moderator that is skilled in diplomacy to keep things civil.

However most importantly is an informal setting in which all of the participants are mixed together forcing them to interact and get to know each other along with emphasis on the similarities of everyone's belief systems. If you concentrate on the areas in which everyone is in agreement on, you find many people surprised by these similarities. At this point, mental walls come down and people begin to relax and get to know each other as friends. A good setting is a dinner in which food is shared.

In anthropology "feasting" traditions has long been known to be critical in uniting different groups in cultures around the world whether it be between families at a wedding feast, or between warring tribes at a peace offering feast. So do you pat each other on the backs and ignore differences? Absolutely not. It is after good relationships are established that eventually these more delicate matters are approached. But they are done very respectfully rather then in an attacking manner that you often see at botched attempts at interfaith or inter-religious dialog. In such botched attempts, different sides are often positioned opposite of each other with no chance to get to know each other informally and to explore areas of agreement.

So for example, with my Arab Muslims friends, I have no problems whatsoever asking extremely tough questions about their religion. The difference between how I approach them and how most conservatives here on this board approach them is that I am extremely respectful to them and don't just attack their beliefs head on and piss them off.

I take steps to gain their confidence and even say "Peace be Upon Him" when mentioning the name of their prophet Mohammed or any of the Judeao-Christian prophets who they also follow (including Jesus Christ). I do not need to do this and I am sure you will sneer at this. But when they hear me say that, instantly barriers around their hearts and minds come down and they listen to what I say. Showing a little respect goes a LOOOONG way towards effective dialog. Its just very basic human psychology.

However it is difficult for people who can't get over their profound hatred or disgust with them or who have difficulty in contemplating them as anything other then sub-human.

.>>An "Arabic speaking American Muslim" "translat(ing) American foreign policy into an Islamic framework" is a fine piece of word acrobatics but I do wonder how you imagine that ? If he tries to be pro-American the Moslems will treat him as a traitor. If he is pro-Moslem he will never ever support the US in the conflict with a Moslem state or entity or individual. This is strictly forbidden by the Islamic law ! In fact this is the central pillar of Islam - in EVERY conflict between a Moslem and a kaffir(non-Moslem) all Moslems will blame the kaffir. If you think otherwise, you must be living a dream world, dear Chris.

I was not intending to use that phrase as "word acrobatics." What I am stating is that reality for people of the Middle East is an Islamic one. Their reality is not your reality. In other words they view the world through a filter of culture, history, and religion that is not like yours. The problem we have now is that we threaten them to accept our frame of reference for reality while constantly attacking theirs as barbaric and insane. Regardless of whether the accusations are true or not, it is a fact that the Middle East is mostly Muslim and that its culture and history had been profoundly influenced by Islam.

Attacking the very core of their belief system in an aggressive, offensive manner makes no logical sense. How will that magically make them bow down before us and accept the ways of secularism and say that they are inferior to Western culture. This is a complete lack of understanding of Islamic cultures and the concept of honor and shame within those cultures. It is the very worst thing you can do if you are trying to get them to change their ways.

>>To my mind what you say here is correct but contradicts what you have said above. You tacitly suppose Islam is like Christianity or any other religion you're familiar with. The problem is that it isn't and this is the central problem of the ruling elites of the West. They are clueless about who they are dealing with. If Bush enters a mosques shoeless and praises "a great religion", he only reveals his ignorance and corrupting influences of his Saudi "friends". His knowledge of Islam is next to nothing, if I may guess from what he has said about it in public.

No no no no….. you are very very incorrect here my friend. I am fully aware that Islam, while in some ways is similar to Christianity (especially Orthodox Christianity in the Middle East), in other ways is profoundly different then modern American Christianity. Having grown up in Islamic nations and having studied Islamic theology in depth for several years, I am quite familiar with the religion by the way. Do not mistaken me with some academic who just woke up one morning wanting to save the world with some great new theoretical paradigm based on nothing but wishful thinking.

However I do agree that the ruling elite's of the West are definitely naïve about Islam, however not in exactly the way you are thinking they are naïve. You wish for them to become more militant towards Islam but you lack any focus point or any sound strategy for reducing their influences. At least I have yet to hear of any political leader in America or in Israel articulate a strategy for that. My strategy does not deal with this, but rather bypasses it with the goal of change from within Islam and using propaganda based upon traditional Islamic theology to accomplish the goal of modernization.

What Bush did praising their religion was actually exactly the right thing to do. If he had declared it a religion of the devil, do you think people in the Middle East would have suddenly bowed down to respect our authority and religious beliefs? Somehow I don't think so. It would have done nothing more then radicalized even the most liberal and secular Muslim to hate America. I do however agree with you that Saudi Arabia has much too much influence over American foreign policy.

But I also would say that Israel likewise has much too great of an influence over our foreign policy as does the Cuban exile community in Florida when it concerns our policies towards Cuba. It's all about $$$ and lobbying. Money talks in D.C.

>>This is a question very often raised in this forum. There were hundreds of possible candidates as to who exactly are those "who follow peaceful and tolerant interpretations of the religion". Among the candidates were -Malaysia, Mauretania , Turkey , Pakistan, Isaq, Syria ...even Saudi Arabia .... ;). On closer interpretation all of them turned out to be wrong candidates. You can find discussions on that topic under Dr. Pipes' previous articles.

Yes I read those and I disagree tremendously with Daniel Pipes on some of his opinions having lived in some of the nations he talks about. First of all, a country's political leadership does not always reflect the majority political or religious beliefs of their population. Each country can not be summed up in a nice neat little package based off of what you see and read in the news. Turkey is a prime example of a nation of enormous complexity with a ton of different Islamic movements. For example a big one is the Fetullah Gulen movement. He is most definitely a moderate and if Daniel Pipes disagrees, then I can only shake my head in disbelief.

Fetullah Gulen has consistently warned against Islamists who are trying to rapidly force Shariat laws into the government based upon Wahhabist principles of Islam that are foreign to the history of Turkey and the way Islam has been interpreted in the past in Turkey. They are not against Shariat, but they are against extreme interpretations and tend to believe more in legal systems that are in the spirit of Shariat but that have emphasis mercy, compassion, and tolerance and not oppression of other faiths in the form of dhimmitude as wahhabists want.

The Islamic party just won in Turkey by the way and the military has already stated that they may take action if the party tries to implement shariat law. The military there serves as checks and balances. Also if you study the demographics of voters in Turkey, a huge amount of support for the Islamic party comes from rural areas of Turkey where Islamists have been more successful in appealing to poor rural Turks who tend to be more conservative. This is also reflected in the massive pro-secularism rallies that have taken place recently in the larger cities of Turkey.

So in other words, if the Islamists tried to force Shariat law upon the nation, it would result in civil war. Also keep in mind that this Islamist party is still trying to get Turkey into the EU. Having Shariat law is not exactly a recipe for doing this. Nevertheless they are an Islamic country so I would not be surprised if they tried to implement parts of Shariat that are compatible with Western laws…most of which are.
Finally I should note that the Islamist government newly elected had also reigned during the past two years of unprecedented economic growth and foreign investment. That is one VERY big reason why Turks voted them back in.

At any rate, in other countries like Malaysia, likewise you have many different Islamic movements ranging from wahhabi to very liberal Sufi. Historically however, SE Asian Muslims have been highly liberal Sufi Muslims while wahhabism is something new and foreign that prays upon discontent amongst Muslims concerning their current governments.

>>It is hard to say whom Bush respects or not. His and his predecessor's jihad on the Balkans has created and supported all along two Muslim states there - Bosnia and Kosovo and opened up a fruitful field for activities for his beloved Saudi friends for free. If the Saudis chose Bush as a tool to promote world-wide wahhabism, they can't be disappointed indeed.
As to Dr. Pipes , rest assured that even if his dismal jihadist apocalypse for America 2008-2012 came true, he would not change his mind in the slightest. He's a fanatic as far "moderate Islam" is concerned.

Well not originally. For awhile in the Balkans, there was a strong movement to kick out wahhabist mujahadin who had volunteered to fight against the Serbs as part of Jihad. In Kosovo they were not even welcomed there. However now recently the Mufti of Bosnia has made moves towards allowing some wahhabis from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to stay in the country which is a bit mind-boggling. But I have to study the situation further to figure out why he now has reversed his earlier stance against Wahhabis. I would not be surprised to find that Saudi $$$$$ is making the change in his attitude.

$$$$ is a hell of a drug that even the most pious people of religion can fall prey to. But at any rate, I have insufficient data to make any solid statements about what is going on there now.

>>I conducted an opposite experiment , dear Chris. I joined a "moderate" Muslim forum (Islamicboard.com) where I played the role of a "radical" Muslim and I "framed my arguments within an Islamic context". I was surprised at my own success. If you're clever enough you can make of those idiots (sorry "respectable Muslims") whatever you wish bar moderate , rational human beings.
If you don't believe, try and imitate my experiment with the same "radicals made moderates". I assure you it will be easy to have them again on the traditional Muslim war path.

Oh no, I believe you but I have seen on other forums like Sunnipath.com and Sunniforum.com examples of where wahhabists were refuted by other Muslims on those forums. I have also seen very intense debate occurs on critical issues of Islam such as what exactly Jihad is in Islam, the rules associated with going on Jihad, and whether or not Jihad is something that is done continuously or not.

However if you go to some crappy Islamic forums you will find very crappy moderation where the places are taken over by 15 yr old Pakistanis and Indian Muslims who act stupid and who think its funny to rant about Jihad and killing Americans. Meanwhile Americans post on there threatening to nuke all the "sand niggers'" with absolutely no moderation of any sort to filter out the idiots. They often also lack any qualified scholars. The serious Islamic forums like sunniforum.com will actually close down entire sections of their forum if they do not have a qualified scholar for a particular madhhab (Islamic school of interpretation).

Nevertheless I will check out the website you mentioned and monitor their forums to get a sense of how its managed and the nature of those who run the forums. I will however not pretend to be an extremist as I do not feel like having a knock on my door from the FBI. When I find an extremist on such a forum, I prefer to confront them with superior Islamic theology and let the readers of our debate decide on who is right and who is wrong. I have yet to have such a debate in which the other Muslim readers of such a thread disagreed with me with the exception of known Salafi forums in which hardcore Wahhabi scholars dominate. It is there that they pull out the big guns and gang up on me using a ton of hadiths and obscure scholars. They do this knowing damn well that the scholars they mention often have not had their works translated into English.

I am left doing sometimes weeks of research to refute them and by myself that is incredibly draining not to mention time consuming considering that nobody is paying me. What I am doing here is nothing compared to the time I have spent debating those guys. It is from those websites that people like Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer often get their information regarding what they believe is the "true" Islam.
If you study a line of Sufi scholars or even many traditional Hanafi scholars, I guarantee you that you'll get a whole entirely different view of Islam.
Anyways, again I'll check out that website.

"Traditional peaceful interpreations of Islam"? Dear Chris, you are no doubt a brilliant anthropologist, but I don't think that you're a professional historian as this statement is totally un-historical. It runs counter to the bulk of Islamic tradition and historical evidence.

I don't consider myself to be a brilliant anthropologist and you are right, I am not a professional historian. However I do study rulings during different era's of Islamic history concerning Jihad. The actions of rulers of Islamic nations do not necessarily reflect the fatwas of Islamic scholars during those historical periods.

Islam like many religions has been used and abused by politicians and rulers all through Islamic history. So in other words, a historian of the history of the Middle East does not necessarily make them an expert on Islamic theology. My study of history only goes as far as looking at the context in which particular fatwas were issued by prominent scholars in Islam. In Anthropology, historical context is very important.

> Simple things, like a female politician wearing a hijab at a mosque is not appeasement, but rather a sign of humility that goes a long way in winning the trust of Muslims.

>>Do you know the Latin phrase : "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes"? Change "Danaos" in "Muslimos" and you'll have what all your trust of Muslim is worth of.
Trusting a Muslim is a dangerous delusion. You're a kaffir he's a Muslim and that's the end of the story, dear Chris. As long as you don't convert to Islam, you can't hope to have his trust as you understand it. And even if you do convert , then take heed to convert to a "right" sect as otherwise he might hate you more than if you were a kaffir.

Is this so? Well then my Muslim friends must be horrible Muslims because I have put my trust in them in situations where they could have easily ripped me off and stolen large sums of money from me. Even worse when my mother was near death in the hospital, they were there with me praying for her recovery within 30 minutes.

After 15 minutes with almost no oxygen because of a severe asthma attack, my mother miraculously made a full recovery with no brain damage. Did I convert to Islam? No. But having these friends stay there with me and my father and cook for us and take care of anything we needed was something nobody else has ever done for my family. They didn't ask for anything in return. I have worked with them in starting non-religious charters schools that rank #1 in my city, I have fed the homeless with them, done interfaith dialog with them and been with them through their own crisis and tragedies as they have been there for me. Have they lied to me, deceived me, or in any way coerced me to become a Muslim? No. What they have done however is helped to become a better person, just as good Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, and some following Native American religions have helped to make me a better person.

To have you tell me that they are just lying to me and deceiving me flies in the face of the day to day reality of life with these "deceivers" as you label them. I am sorry but I refuse to demonize human beings who I know from long experience to be good people. At the same time I am more then aware that there are some extremely dangerous Muslims out there. My research is directly concerned with those individuals. But please don't try and convince me that all Muslims are evil people conspiring to enslave the world when my life in the Islamic world and my experiences with Muslims both there and here in America tells me very very differently.

Anthropology is all about cultural immersion. This means understanding the world through their eyes whether they be peace loving tolerant Muslims, or fanatical hate filled Muslims who would love nothing more then to kill you and I. Either way, my job is to understand them intimately in order to discriminate between them and more importantly to understand the theological roots of Islamic extremism and how to counter and nullify it using their own religion.

I am completely open about my goals and I have yet to have Muslims tell me that I am doing a horrible thing other then hardcore Wahhabis and some Hamas activists. Many of those extremists I have convinced otherwise although unfortunately I do not have the funding nor resources to track them long term in order to verify their belief modifications.

>>Ideologies? Those "extremists" are true Muslims while the silent Muslim masses aren't. That's why when the time comes the silent Moslem masses will support those "extremists" and not us kaffirs. That's the bitter truth we have to face. If we don't we should accelerate the Mars project as this earth will be made uninhabitable by the Moslems (modeartes made radicals) and their Western allies and do-gooders.

Ah here again you are basically defending the Wahhabist interpretation of Islam as true Islam. Please list all the reasons why the extremists are the true Muslims and I am fairly confident that I can refute each and every one of those reasons theologically. What you perceive as silent is more often then not, lack of media coverage. The Muslims in my community are most definitely not silent and neither are the many moderate Islamic groups that I work with. However in other communities it is more complex as criticism of groups like Hamas causes wahhabis to brand them as Zionists and as kafr.

But at the same time, no Muslim will say that Palestinians have no right to the land they are on and must vacate it. Every last one will agree that Palestinians have the right to defend themselves just as we here all agree that Israelis have the right to defend themselves. That is a God given right. Where the disagreement comes between moderate and extremist Muslims is HOW Palestinians choose to defend themselves and the land they still are on. Suicide bombing and the killing of any women and children is NOT permitted in Islam. If you believe otherwise, feel free to try and find any ayah in the Qu'ran or Hadith that says otherwise.

This is the challenge I always put forth to extremists. Because you believe they are the true Muslims, I put forth that challenge to you. Nevertheless there are legitimate grievances of a political and tangible nature that bypass all religion and until such conflicts are solved, religion will unfortunately get dragged into it and used in horrible ways.

*my original quote> There are also many Islamic values that are also valued by Western cultures and in which we all have a vested interest in promoting.

You answered: >>Can you give me an example , please ?
I respect no Islamic values and I have no vested interests like Bush and co. in promoting them.
But I have a damn respect for Western culture and I know that I will not survive long its demise and the emergence of the Islamic West.

I can give you a ton of examples.
1. Family values- A stable home with traditional gender roles in which at least one parent (doesn't matter which one) is raising the child while the other works.
2. The belief that women can run their own businesses and can be educated (unless you're a Wahhabi).
3. The belief in the right to self-defense against an occupying nation.
4. The belief in a strong community.
5. The belief in law and order.
6. A belief in capital punishment for murderers (more a conservative American belief not shared with most of the West).
7. A belief that abortion is wrong (a Christian belief as well as amongst many Jews and even some atheists)
8. A belief that infanticide of female babies is wrong (an early feminist concept in Islam to a problem that is still a huge problem in places like India and China).
9. A belief in one God (shared by the Judeo-Christian religions).
10. A belief in and love for Jesus (Although difference in opinion as to whether he was God to Christians or a prophet to Muslims…and to Jews…a false Messiah except to Messianic Jews)
11. A belief in respecting your mother and father (unless they tell you to abandon the Islamic faith according to Islam).
12. A belief in mercy and compassion… even to animals.
13. A belief in doing good deeds for the sake of God.
14. A shared belief with Christians and Jews that God is our ultimate judge to whom we are held accountable to eventually..
15. A belief in the power of prayer (as also believed by religious Christians and Jews)
Etc…etc…. I could go on and on.

Do you not respect most of those things? Keep in mind that when you say "Western Culture" that much of that culture comes from Middle-Eastern born Christian and Jewish beliefs. The Christianity that we see today in America is a far cry from its roots which you can still see probably best preserved within the Greek Orthodox faith. Things like prostrating for prayer, women covering their hair, and separation of men and women during worship, are all practices that existed long before Islam.

I have no fear of an "Islamic West" emerging. Societies ruled by violence and terror never last very long. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan did you see Muslims flocking to that country to go live in some kind of Islamic paradise???? Hey if they were TRUE Muslims why wouldn't Muslims just LOVE to go live there??? They can't even get one Shariat based government working properly let alone the whole world. Furthermore they can't even agree on who's interpretation of Shariat law is correct.

>>According to Clausewitz the objective of any war is to break the will of the enemy and impose our own will upon him. N ow without defining clearly who the enemy is , you can't break his will ... or can you impose your will on a phanthom, a ghost ? It is like the ancient Greek fable of fighting the Nile god Protheus.

Oh I agree 100%. That's why lumping all Muslims together as "the enemy" is insane. It is like trying to kill a fly with a baseball bat.

* My original quote was> Also, I have never seen any survey showing that Osama Bin Laden was the most popular person in the Islamic world. I would love to see that study.

You replied with:>>You know that in any police state (all Middle Eastern states - with the exception of Israel - are police states) no objective studies are possible if they might cast some doubt on the regimes in power.

If so, then how can anyone make the claim that Osama Bin Laden is the most popular person in the Islamic World? Is Lebanon also a police state? How about Indonesia (the largest Islamic nation in the world)? How about Turkey? Last I checked Indonesia and Turkey were flourishing democracies.

>>How long will you need to see the tangible results of your Muslim-friendly anti-terrorism measures "at its roots"?

That is a good question. To be quite honest I don't know because it has never been tried. However I make a rough estimate that if all major media outlets are used in that target population (radio, television, print, internet, etc…) that it would take between five to seven months. Results could be measured by media articles in their local media and by observing debates and conversations in the mosques and in coffee houses of that community.

Observations would be documented by at least two Arabic linguists at a time trained in Islamic theology and in certain trademarks "red flags" to look for in identifying Muslim extremists as well as methods to code and quantify observed behavior in a linear study over a period of five to seven months. Three linguists would actually be preferable as they must agree upon the coding of the observed behavior and third member would break a tie on any disagreements.

Its not a perfect system of measurement, but if you have several teams (two to three members each), results can be compared and fairly good reliability of the data collected can be achieved. The tough part is the precise method of data collection. It is much easier using an Arabic speaking Muslim to collect the information personally rather then to rely on microphones hidden in a noisy crowded place where it is difficult to pick apart conversations. A white Arabic linguist would stick out in a crowd.

You might not trust these Arab data collectors but I believe if you had several teams, you would be able to identify a particular data collection team who may not be honest in their documentation. Another issue is having something to compare the data with. You would have to do at least a month of data collection before the programs began in order to do a "before" and "after" comparison. During this period of collection, collection procedures and methods can be refined as well during the first initial week. This might include monitoring internet café conversations if the country's government allows the NSA for example to tap into specific servers used by intenet cafes within the target community. My knowledge of NSA capability is not high so for all I know they may be able to tap into such servers covertly even now.

The major problem is the level of participation and assistance that the government of the country in question gives. If they generally control most of their media and believe the program to be good for their country, then I would predict a strong degree of success barring any sudden political events that could rapidly change opinions back to extremely negative ones towards the United States.

Before any of that could start however, a good recon of the country and target community would have to be conducted in order to work out the best distribution of data collectors in order to get a good strong representative sample of the general population. Keep in mind that this would be for the experimental phase just as a "proof of concept" test. Because of this, a country would be chosen where all the conditions would make it easiest to test the theories. Actually implementing the counter-propaganda is the easy part. The harder part is testing in hostile nations.

Furthermore, the primary target of the counter-propaganda is not so much specific communities but rather the broader internet based Islamic community using such venues as YoutTube, LiveLeak, and Arabic video blogs where Al-Qaeda frequently post video propaganda.
In that area, testing can be done by monitoring the websites where these videos are posted to see the responses that the counter-propaganda receives.

An example I have seen segments of the show "Sleeper Cell" posted on YouTube where Wahhabis posted vigorous theological attacks against what was said on that show. However, what was nice to see is that I saw other Muslims posting theological arguments refuting what the Wahhabis stated. So there you can see the beginnings of lively debate that you would see all over the internet if similar counter-propaganda was posted all over the internet.

>>What they are fighting for is power and the moment they see that what you call "extremism" might boost that power they won't hesitate to use it against the West or another "extremism" within their despotic states. All those Muslim leaders are despots.

They are not all despots. Indonesia for one is a democracy. Lebanon is a struggling democracy. Turkey is a democracy. But yes I agree that the rest are despots struggling to stay in power hence why they are often quite passionate in their fight against extremists trying to overthrow them. But at the same time they may glorify other extremists in other countries (like Hamas) who are not a threat to their power and that help them maintain legitimacy in their nations. Jews have sadly always made great scapegoats for all kinds of economic problems historically.

>>I wonder how you can do that piece of magic, dear Chris? Even if you do, this magic works both ways and I feel that it works even better when applied by Al Qaeda against "moderate Islam" after Dr. Pipes' breath-taking definition "Islam that is modern, moderate, democratic, liberal, good-neighborly, humane, and respectful of women".

You are right it works both ways. Al-Qaeda is already WAAAY ahead of the game here and has mastered the internet for propaganda purposes. We have not even started the internet war with them. What Al-Qaeda lacks is the most powerful marketing forces ever unleashed upon the world which right now we only apply to stuff like Coca-Cola, Nike, I-Pods, and the Marlboro Man. If we harnessed some of the marketing expertise with the programs I propose, the production quality and psychological impact of the counter-propaganda would blow away anything that Al-Qaeda could muster.

As for Daniel Pipes definition, much of what he wants is a complete rejection of large chunks of Islam. This my friend, will never happen anytime soon. When he says modern, he means a complete rejection of many Islamic traditions, all anti-Israeli attitudes and basically for them to embrace Western culture and be like us. That is not done by threats or military invasions (unless you have millions of troops and are willing to wipe out entire populations to set an example). Such changes in beliefs will take a VERY long time if ever.

Christians went through hundreds of years of bloody warfare to become more secular and even today we still have fundamentalist Christians who want to turn back the clock on secularism and revert to Biblical law. I even had one radical evangelical Christian tell me at a pro-life demonstration that he believed that Muslims had the right idea when it came to Shariat law since he saw that as being very close to biblical law (which is actually much harsher then shariat law). That really scared me. But that is part of the reality of religion. You will always have episodes of radical extremist movements that come and go. But ultimately they have to get along with the rest of humanity and I see no way that they will gain control over all of Western culture.

>>I am not afraid of that sort of conquest of America by Moslems. I am afraid of creeping, clandestine, unseen Islamization of America's power elites through Saudi bribes, Saudi grants, Saudi loans, Saudi orders, charities, aids, generosity, cultural projects, Islamic centres, scholarships ... wrapping and binding America with millions of little golden threads and golden chains which in the long run will make America a tool to execute the will of its Saudi paymaster ...

This is a more dangerous and disgusting form of invisible Saudi protectorate of the USA than an open Islamic takeover which awaits Western Europe.

That's actually the same accusations many make of Israeli and pro-Israeli Jewish lobbyists. I believe both claims of such conspiracies are grossly exaggerated. Saudis don't control American Muslims and they don't control our government. Do they influence them? Absolutely, but so do many other groups, issues, and events. Other then terrorist attacks by small groups of Al-Qaeda in America, I do not see any signs of a growing threat to the American way of life and our values, (whatever they may be) by Muslims in this country.

Chris G.


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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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