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Islamism is not a utopian ideology

Reader comment on item: "You can't fight Islamism with ideas coming out of Europe"

Submitted by Rajeev (United States), Dec 2, 2010 at 02:13

Dear Dr Pipes: Your interview with Citizen Times is good but it does not describe the true face of Islamism. For example you say that Islamism is a form of an utopian concept. I think it is wrong to compare Islamism with Utopia. There are many differences.

First, the term utopia is used to describe visionary concepts whose ultimate goal is to achieve universal good and happiness. In a utopian state a perfect state of happiness is described but the miniscule details of how everyone will live and behave are left unsaid (for example when to wash hands and how). By contrast, Islamists do not care for universal happiness. At best, the happiness for them is limited to the believers and, that too, to those believers who agree to live by their exact Islamist code. The goal of the Islamists is to make everyone subscribe to the exact Islamic code with the claim (if at all) that happiness will result.

Second, those who want to achieve good for the people never agree on the method or policy that will achieve that good (just look at the parliamentarians of various democracies who all want to achieve the ultimate good for their consituencies but never agree on how). Among Islamists the method and policy is already fully specified. They just want everyone to follow that method.

Third, though it is never said so explicitly, utopia is always exclusive and limited in time and space (even in Thomas More's original work Utopia was an island). On the other hand, Islamist's goal is to apply their philosophy universally.

Fourth, perhaps my conception of utopia is wrong but when I imagine a utopian place, I do not see anyone who resembles a bin Laden (let alone apologists for bin Laden). Islamists support and protect people like bin Laden.

Finally, an Utopian place is perfect. The places where most contemporary Islamists live are neither happy, nor peaceful, nor prosperous. In fact, they are the most miserable places on the planet (minus the oil-wealth).

People who want to expand their religious ideology at all costs (let me remind you of the Islamic rules regarding blasphemy), suffer from the same greed and ego that is considered bad in all other human contexts but is somehow forgiven in the context of Islamic religion.

When you call Islamism an Utopian concept, you are being too generous.

Submitting....

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