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Islam and Islamism NOT Fundamentally Different?

Reader comment on item: Preface

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Nov 25, 2007 at 14:03

I must say that I agree with Ms Ann-Marie Delcambre that there is no fundamental difference between Islam and Islamism (perhaps the use of the adjective 'fundamental' constitutes an element of difference if not disagreement).

Here's a potential bridging thought that Daniel Pipes may not have considered. For I would suggest this paradoxical thought - that ordinary, decent people who are Muslim and think of themselves as fully embedded in Islam are ..... not good Muslims (even though they are good people). Whereas, conversely, bad or violent people who act out the many commands to violence and intolerance in the Koran are ... good Muslims.

There's a way to explain this. Both Christianity (in the Old and New Testaments) and Islam are composed of a great many radically contradictory thoughts. This results in people, more or less unconsciously, picking and choosing among those thoughts and concepts which are most congenial to their personalities, and then assuming what they choose to believe is the entirety of their religion. (Reinhold Niebuhr said somewhere that religion is good for good people and bad for bad people)

This seems to explain all those socially conscious and altruistic individuals whose religious sentiments and behavior are governed mostly by maxims of Jesus in the New Testament about service to the poor (and also thoughts from the social justice passages of the prophets in the Old Testament). Whereas the many people who, for one reason or another, seem to live resentment-based lives, enthusiastically champion the punitive and judgmental God of numerous Old Testament passages.

I don't really understand how many non-violent or peaceable Muslims find comparable passages in the Koran to those of the New Testament, but I concede that they do. As far as I can tell, non-violent and non-intolerant passages in the Koran are far fewer, far less developed, and confined to earlier phases of Mohammed's career. But I don't doubt that many Muslims give them a great weight in their own lives.

Still, it seems that extreme harshness in Islam has historically and repeatedly won out over its supposed peacefulness. Is this not true today of the Islam mandated by law in the heartland of the religion, and of the Islam exported by Saudi Arabia at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars all over the world?

And so, to repeat, I think the hyperviolent minority of Muslims who are dead serious about believing that they must fight for a world-embracing Caliphate are far stronger than all those peaceable Muslims who think that Islam is a "moderate" and peaceful religion because they themselves are moderate and peaceful, while they evade dealing with their violent co-religionists by simply saying, "that's not Islam".

Therefore as I strongly agree that understanding Islam is a "priority for anyone concerned with security, politics, and culture, or most basically, with the future of Western civilization", I equally feel that such concern must consider it's a dangerous mirage to put one's hope in a vague, shapeless something called "moderate" Islam.

Ron Thompson


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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Reader comments (30) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
What future is in store? [235 words]GWKDec 12, 2007 21:13116078
Take The Fight To The Root Of The Problem [808 words]GeoffNov 28, 2007 01:12115148
Contradictions are okay in Islam [202 words]HomefrontDec 3, 2007 19:13115148
A question for Dr. Pipes [60 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
SullyNov 26, 2007 16:49114968
Reflections on Dr Pipe's review of recent book on Islam [169 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Sheldon KalmutzNov 26, 2007 13:15114947
Why don't we try to understand Buddhism [414 words]Rachel GarberNov 25, 2007 20:05114835
Islam and Islamism NOT Fundamentally Different? [502 words]Ron ThompsonNov 25, 2007 14:03114785
Ron Thompson [88 words]B.K. NambiarNov 26, 2007 04:16114785
It Only Takes 1% IntoleranceTo Start A War [247 words]GeoffNov 29, 2007 10:18114785
Islam is radical in its nature [148 words]Elpi NipiNov 25, 2007 06:32114734
Why I left Islam. [292 words]zari namdarNov 24, 2007 04:17114586
Islam and Islamists, and the changes over time. [179 words]Gabe NewhouseNov 24, 2007 04:09114585
Is Islam suicidal? [152 words]B.F.Nov 23, 2007 21:04114523
Differentiate between Islamism and moderate Islam [289 words]f.shaNov 23, 2007 02:27114432
Against the tide [142 words]AlanNov 23, 2007 00:39114427
Alan you are right! [126 words]kid berthaNov 23, 2007 11:49114427
Another way of getting information out. [479 words]Harry SweeneyNov 22, 2007 20:55114416
Column Name for the Muslim Dialogues [19 words]Harry SweeneyNov 23, 2007 11:08114416
Freedom of Speech about Islam [183 words]DavidNov 22, 2007 19:34114413
Modern version of Islam [50 words]H.MNov 22, 2007 18:45114407
Dr. Delcamba [25 words]lawrence BatesNov 22, 2007 18:16114405
The Koran [159 words]f.shaNov 24, 2007 02:26114405
Quran, arabic, muslims and transalations [54 words]bosNov 27, 2007 06:08114405
What Are We To Do? [273 words]GeoffNov 28, 2007 14:35114405
Koran [110 words]f.shaNov 28, 2007 23:22114405
We cannot do this ! [105 words]Anne-Marie DelcambreNov 29, 2007 02:31114405
Western Strategy fighting Islamism [126 words]Janusz KowalikNov 22, 2007 17:28114404
Caution [191 words]BeowulfNov 22, 2007 17:13114403
Islam [29 words]Kim SegarNov 22, 2007 17:11114402
A point of distinction ? [47 words]Jiri SeveraNov 22, 2007 17:03114399

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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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