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Propensity for violence is the problem

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology

Submitted by Rajeev (United States), Dec 13, 2010 at 23:09

Dear Dr Pipes: In your "Islam and Islamism" article, you acknowledge the "outstanding achievements during Islam's first six or so centuries". Is there any evidence that there was anything in the Islamic doctrine that contributed to these outstanding achievements?

It is known that within a few decades of Mahammaed's life Islamic forces captured vast expanses of land by violent means. Could it be possible that these victories were also accompanied by unprecedented transfer of wealth from the subjugated people and tribes to the conquerors? Could it also be possible that the segments of the then societies who agreed to join the Islamist forces benefited from this sudden infusion of wealth and showed some 'outstanding achievements'? Today, for example, 98% of Iraqi population is Islamic. What percent of Iraq was Muslim in say year 1000? Were the Jews and Christians of Iraq of the year 1000 getting their fair share of the wealth that they were generating? I am assuming that the percent of Islamic population in the year 1000 must have been much less than 98% but since plunder, loot, and jazia (Islamic tax on non-muslims) were acceptable practices in those days, this small percents of ruling Islamic class must have been collecting and benefiting from a larger share of the gross product of the citizens at that time. And the same story must have been repeated from Sindh to Spain and back.

If this explanation holds then it is not surprising that Islam had outstanding achievements in its first six centuries. In fact --excluding the oil wealth-- it can be surmised that true disarray , chaos, and poverty will show its face in Islamist societies only after a large percent of the population becomes Islamic.

This message is not singling out Islamic occupation. All colonial powers know that occupation is good only as long as taxation occurs without representation. When representation becomes 100% --as happens when significant portions of a nation converts to Islam-- rewards of occupation die.

Islamic success of past centuries --even if it did exist-- is blemished by the Islamic violence and that violence is continuing until today.

Submitting....

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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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