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anti-Islamism vs Islamophobia

Reader comment on item: Why Chris Christie Will Never Be President of the United States
in response to reader comment: Pipes on the "moderate" Aga Khan

Submitted by lucretius (Poland), Sep 4, 2011 at 05:50

As for the (to my mind absurd) allegations about Rick Perry's supposed support for Islamism, I suggest the readers consult another article in the American Thinker, which addresses the claims repeated here directly:


What I want to discuss here myself is a more general issue: the crucial difference, as I see it, between the views of scholars like Daniel Pipes, who are anti-Islamists but not enemies of Islam itself and people like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who are exactly the latter.

In fact, I used to subscribe to both Pamela's and Robert's blogs but stopped, when I decided that they, inadvertently of course, work for the cause that they believe themselves to be opposing. Before I started reading their blogs, I had assumed that the word "islamophobia" was an invention of pro-Islamist propagandists and their leftist fellow travelers intended to discredit those who oppose and warn about the real dangers of Islamism, but now I reluctantly came to the conclusion that, while in the main the word is indeed used for this purpose, nevertheless the phenomenon is a real one and both Geller and Spencer illustrate it very well.

The basic difference between an anti-Islamist and an Islamophobe is that the former accepts that a non-expansionist, peaceful Islam, not based on Sharia, can exist and in fact has existed at various times and in many places in history. It is easy to give examples, one of which is Poland, where a small community of Muslim Tatars has lived since the 17-th century, not only peacefully and under secular laws but showing great devotion to the Polish national cause and state.However, according to an Islamophobe this sort of thing is essentially impossible and the only acceptable Muslim (if one exists at all) is one who actually denounces his religion and in particular Muhammad.

This sort of reasoning leads to the absurdity of considering even the Bahais, who are the most persecuted minority in the Islamic world (much more so than the Jews) and who have their main religious center in Haifa, Israel, as some sort of "stealth jihadist", even though they can't possible not be aware of the fact that a jihadist victory would mean physical for the Bahais. Exactly the same applies to the Ahmadis, the Ismailis and even the Israeli Druses. The latter, who have served with great distinction in Israeli armies from the beginning of the State of Israel and do not even consider themselves Muslims are still suspect because they are an off-shot of Islam and like all religions derived from Islam, revere Muhammad.

According to the Islamophobe view, a Muslim, or even a Bahai, in order to prove himself trustworthy has to accept that Muhammad was a pedophile pervert and a callous murderer. Once he has accepted that view, how can he go on calling himself a Muslim or even a Bahai?
Would you demand of a Catholic that he accepts that virgin birth and resurrection are impossible and still remain a Catholic? Does not a Catholic have a right to be offended when this sort of demand are made of him?

Let's consider briefly the Aga Khan's criticism of the Pope's Regensburg lecture. In the lecture Pope Benedict quoted the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, rhetorically denying any value to Islam :

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

As the Pope made clear, the quote was not his own view. As for myself, I do find some truth in this quote (made by a man involved in a desperate struggle for survival against early expanding Ottoman empire) but how could possibly a Muslim accept this view or be happy with it? In fact, it is impossible to say, whether Islam brought only "evil and inhuman" things to Muslims, just as it is not possible to say whether the conquistadors brought only "evil and inhuman" things to the Mexicans, since without them there would be no Mexican in the modern sense at all. No doubt, Islam in its early aggressive stage brought a great deal of evil to non-Muslims although it was not unique in this respect. The crusades are sometimes mentioned in this context and it is correctly pointed out that there were really a delayed reaction to Islamic expansion. But there are also the other, later and usually forgotten, northern crusades, agains the pagan Lithuanians and Prussians that lead to the disappearance of the latter, achieved in a way quite similar to the pattern of many Muslim conquests. Whatever was evil and inhuman about Islamic expansionism and fanaticism it was by no means unique to it.

In any case, I see no reason to criticise the Aga Khan for being unhappy with the Pope's undiplomatic speech - anyway before further clarifications were made. Certainly, there is no record of the Aga-Khan demanding that such speech (or even things more offensive to Islam) should be banned. He did call for voluntary restraint on the part of non-Muslims, which is exactly the same thing many Christians ask for when Jesus is concerned. There is a huge difference between asking and demanding in such cases.

As I have already mentioned, my own private view of Islam (and not just Islamism) is not positive*. But I do not demand of Muslims to embrace it in order to consider them as allies agains Islamists. To people like Geller and Spencer there seems to be no difference between Ahmad Shah Massoud, who fought the Taliban for years before September 11, who tried to warn the West about Al Qaeda when nobody was paying attention, and who murdered by Bin Laden agents on the eve of the attack on the Twin Towers and Bin Laden himself. To me, and I think also to Daniel Pipes, this sort of thinking is both totally wrong and very counterproductive.

*As for my own view of Islam it is close to that of Alexis de Toqueville:
I studied the Kuran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. So far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.


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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Title Commenter Date Thread
I don't think it was principle... [37 words]LeslieSep 10, 2017 23:50240766
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Trump, Cruz and others [653 words]Michael SApr 5, 2016 05:39228407
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One Appeaser Down [54 words]LindaKFeb 14, 2016 00:26228068
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Chris Christie is his own worst enemy [53 words]dhimmi no moreMar 31, 2014 07:20214156
Sometimes it's the simple things [70 words]Dan SchwartzJan 8, 2014 16:54212527
no comments in response to 8 "updates" since 9/30/12, the last on 8/7/13?! [6 words]dcdocAug 18, 2013 19:08209068
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Focus on the facts, not physical issues [126 words]stranchanJun 28, 2012 04:07196777
2Christie cannot be trusted re islamic lunacy [87 words]Domenic PepeApr 5, 2012 10:28194989
1Christie as VP? [31 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
scullyMar 21, 2012 15:47194622
2Puzzling stance [73 words]saraMar 18, 2012 19:49194497
1More dangerous than islamists.... [14 words]car313Oct 11, 2011 02:48189960
Vote bank politicians are indeed very dangerous [22 words]PrashantOct 12, 2011 22:49189960
They Still Want Him To Jump In The Race [39 words]Mark DSep 12, 2011 00:22189280
Christie will never be nominated to be US President [148 words]Isaac FlaksAug 22, 2011 08:35188598
1Candidates for President of the US 2012 elections [282 words]Isaac FlaksAug 21, 2011 06:08188527
Allen West? [47 words]DianeAug 24, 2011 21:02188527
Two Words [2 words]Geno M.Oct 18, 2011 22:40188527
Courtly garb [29 words]Mark McAndrewAug 18, 2011 10:01188481
1Sharia law in American courts [22 words]G. DyerAug 17, 2011 12:49188463
baby with bathwater [157 words]michael hayutinAug 12, 2011 14:59188333
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1Sharia vs Religious Arbitration [135 words]JimmyAug 12, 2011 13:16188332
Private contracts based on Sharia [75 words]PrashantAug 12, 2011 20:43188332
I Need An Answer For This Post [151 words]Mark D.Aug 13, 2011 19:13188332
1Chris Chrisie blew it big time [41 words]JoubinAug 11, 2011 22:37188310
Chris Christie Sells His Soul to the Hightest Bidders To Gain The Governorship [116 words]Renee BouvierSep 9, 2011 19:03188310
Media [58 words]Mark D.Aug 11, 2011 22:00188304
Vote [57 words]
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Mark D.Aug 10, 2011 22:02188279
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Republican Jews of New Jersey Voting for Christie A Second Time Around? [96 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Renee BouvierSep 9, 2011 19:11188279
90 to 95% of NJ Republicans Will Vote For Him, But... [47 words]Mark D.Sep 12, 2011 00:09188279
... out of context [87 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
BroughInCTAug 10, 2011 18:44188264
8Pamela Geller's attack on Rick Perry [187 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
lucretiusAug 15, 2011 06:01188264
4Pipes on the "moderate" Aga Khan [713 words]HesperadoAug 31, 2011 15:34188264
Norquist and Aga Khan [155 words]Ron EdgeSep 3, 2011 10:33188264
1anti-Islamism vs Islamophobia [1109 words]lucretiusSep 4, 2011 05:50188264
One slight correction to my previous comment [43 words]HesperadoSep 4, 2011 18:49188264
I agree and I am baffled by Pipes and many "Conservatives" on this issue [76 words]HesperadoSep 4, 2011 18:55188264
1More on Geller and Spencer [127 words]lucretiusSep 6, 2011 01:50188264
another response to Pamela Geller [691 words]lucretiusSep 10, 2011 13:03188264
Look behind the curtain [419 words]zaneSep 18, 2011 16:36188264
You lose [197 words]JamesJan 13, 2015 04:30188264
Why Chris Christie will never be President of the United States. He definitely Blew it! [60 words]AnneAug 10, 2011 08:58188257
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Christie [29 words]Dave WeinbaumAug 9, 2011 17:50188231
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Christie's comments [83 words]
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1Its the economy (not Sharia). [14 words]Looking CloselyAug 8, 2011 11:38188200
New Jersey [57 words]Mark D.Aug 11, 2011 22:19188200
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Marginally Controllable Temper [41 words]Mark D.Aug 11, 2011 22:28188193
3Has Sohail Mohammed ever ruled in a way... [49 words]ChungAug 8, 2011 08:24188192
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4Gov. Christie [29 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
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1always more yings than yangs [48 words]egoistAug 8, 2011 06:31188188
1Who was the judge? [38 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Seven MachosAug 8, 2011 00:39188183
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11'Crazies' [84 words]NickAug 6, 2011 08:18188109
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9Sharia Law [65 words]
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Mark D.Aug 6, 2011 00:07188095
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Conservative vs Neoconservative [79 words]fuzzfaceAug 9, 2011 14:53188095
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Christie [14 words]Mark D.Aug 5, 2011 23:51188093
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McCarthy [13 words]Mark D.Aug 10, 2011 22:14188093

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