2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Culture and deterrence are the keys

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology
in response to reader comment: Maybe I misunderstood you

Submitted by sara (United States), Jun 26, 2012 at 16:47

Schills,

You say: Your restatement of my position suggests I do not care how Islamist come to power. I care how Islamists come to power just as I care how a social democrat comes to power. I don't think you would throw Tony Blair in with Stalin. Why throw Muhammad Mursi in with ayatollah Khomeini?

You are right. The reason that it is important how Islamists come to power through pseudo or faux elections is that the people they are in power over tend to be quite unaware of how they perceive their freedom and do not understand that they are simply exchanging one tyrant for another (a secular one for a religious one). That said, it always remains their choice. The main issue I have with your statement is that you are assuming that there are in fact genuine democratic elections and that the Islamist groups are not manipulating things behind the scenes, either by threat or bribery. As for Mursi, the verdict is not in.

My understanding of your position is that you are absolutely against Islamists coming to power even if they are democratically elected.

I refer you to my statement above, and the reason is that although it is not our affair what happens in other nations, the expansion of Islamist sharia ultimately harms everyone in that its adherents tend towards violence and extreme measures, whether against their own communities or against their neighbor countries.

I also understand your position to be that Islam is inherently violent and cannot coexist with other ideologies in a non-violent manner.

Obviously there are many Muslims who do not practice violence. But I do believe that as a result of lack of clarity within Islam, the Quran translations, various sects and interpretations, that Islam itself is susceptible to violent interpretations and we of course see this every day all around our world today. I'm sure you are not going to deny that there are an awful lot of 'misinterpreters' walking around. But the fallacy is exactly that. To chalk up Islamic radicals to misinterpretations, say they are not 'true' Muslims, who are we to determine that? Every Jihadist blowing himself or others up has a very sincere belief that he is practising true and pure Islam. It's all quite subjective isn't it? Yet we no longer find Christians or Jews running around blowing people up in the name of their religions, and quoting from the Bible or Torah. There may be violent words, but they are not adhered to by large swathes of believers. Because the Iuslim moderates are demonstrably incapable of controlling the actions of the radicals, and are very afraid to speak up for fear of death, there is a certain lack of confidence and goodwill in trying to establish any dialogues. Facts are powerful things, and all the moderates lip service (which you will admit is few and far between) that this not true Islam does nothing to negate the actions of the radicals.

Based on my understanding of your position which would align US foreign policy against an idea I presented four policy options all of which are ridiculous. As for deterrence, ideas cannot be deter or contained. As 9/11 demonstrated, all it takes is a handful of non-state actors to inflict mass casualties. If all Muslims are inherently our enemies, then we are left with no policy options which can succeed.

I get your point and accept it. However, deterrence works against individuals and small groups on that level as well. Laws that are enforced, punishments that have teeth cause deterrence of their own. GW Bush was a deterrence since Muslims never knew what he might do next, the 'crazy cowboy'. That was quite effective in deterrence. Enforcement of consequences create deterrence (see Iran).

On the other hand, if we accepted the possibility of non-violent coexistence with Muslims and support democratic elections in Muslim countries even if young lovers won't be free to walk down the street holding hands, then we will have taken a big step towards isolating the individuals who pose an actual threat to us.

That is possible, and in theory, I agree. But I remain too cynical to believe that there would not be fallout into our societies and communities given the spread of such ideologies and influences within their own communities. None of us live in a vacuum.

Submitting....

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".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Culture and deterrence are the keys by sara

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)