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Not so sure

Reader comment on item: [Nepal and France:] Two Opposite Responses to Terrorism

Submitted by Garry Prior (Malaysia), Sep 14, 2004 at 23:07

I have been reading you since shortly after 9/11. I find you helpful in clarifying my own mind and while I disagree quite often, you have become my principal whetstone in forming my opinion.

I am increasingly of the opinion that part of the current Islamist agenda is to alienate the Muslim population in countries where they are a minority from the majority, both emotionally ( Islam versus good citizenship) and physically ( by driving them together in ghettoes for mutual protection). In this way, ordinary Muslims become double victims. Victims of un-warranted rejection by other communities and victims of being forced to represent or be represented by an extreme form of religion.

There have been far too few Muslims able or willing to stand up and take a lead against the Islamists, and the longer it takes to happen, the more terrible will be the consequences, not only for the Muslim communities and the rest of us, but also for the individuals who do eventually take the challenge and act as leaders against Islamism. It does not help for Muslim leaders to try to smooth the differences between themselves, with statements such as, "There is no such thing as moderate or extreme Islam, only Islam".

Nepalese Muslims must now be very fearful and look only to each other for support and protection. This further alienation will breed new resentments and a hardening of attitudes towards non-Muslims. That is what the Islamists want to achieve, regardless of the suffering they call down on their fellow-Muslims around the world. They want a situation where every Muslim is, in effect, a Palestinian, with all that that entails. Universal bitterness is a potent breeding ground for extremism of all sorts.
You do not need to radicalise everyone, just enough for the cause to be perpetuated and fed with foot-soldiers. But you do need to ensure that oppression is everywhere and deeply felt and seen to be deeply unfair.

It is time for all the good people out there, on all sides, to stand up and be counted, and to resist the hi-jacking of religion or culture for extremist ends. This will only happen if there is a willingness to put up a real struggle for leadership by those who can and should lead. Dato'Seri Abdullah Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia is a good example of a good man standing up for what he believes is right, and seeking to defend his religion and his country against the usurpers. His stand for tolerance and understanding between religions and races and his determination to counter the extremists bodes well, but needs to be more widely emulated internationally.
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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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