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Why not exclude every ideology associate with political violence?

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology
in response to reader comment: Who cares and what is the difference?

Submitted by Schills (United States), Jul 2, 2012 at 15:56

Sara,

If containment were a realistic option then it would be worth considering. September 11, and a tragic parade of attacks on civilians since have demonstrated that containment does not work. This makes eliminating Jihadist the only viable policy option. In order to eliminate Jihadists, they need to be isolated as much as possible. This requires the creation of political space for citizens of Middle East countries to non-violently express and seek redress for their grievances.

The history of the Middle East over the past seventy years demonstrates that the only mode of political expression in the Middle East is violence. Even when we consider the genesis of the "Arab Spring," it was an act of political violence in the form of self-immolation. As long as a sizeable portions of the population of the Middle East is denied participation in the political process we will continue to see large scale political violence directed at civilians in the Middle East and west. For this reason I pointed out that socialists, nationalists, and Islamists have all engaged in the same form of political violence using different justifications. It therefore is not logical to accept the non-violent participation of socialists and nationalists while excluding Islamists. Excluding Islamists will only undermine the legitimacy of participatory democracy.

The only questions you asked that I did not answer were about when to begin talk to Muslims, and about my background. We should talk to Muslims now. As for my background, it really is irrelevant other than to facilitate personal attacks. I do not think you would make personal attacks, however, there are other posters who are creating a mythical background and attacking the boogieman they have created.

Islamists believe in a statist version of Islam. Jihadists believe in achieving that statist vision through the use of political violence. I differentiate between Islamists and Jihadists on the basis of their engagement in political violence. Erdogan is not behind violent attacks on civilians. Neither is Ghannouchi. Both are Islamists. Neither one is a Jihadist.

Excluding the Erdogans and Ghannouchis of the Middle East from participation in politics would only strengthen the argument of Jihadists that the west is waging a war on Islam, widening the Jihadists' base of support to include every Muslim who has a grievance with their government, but is denied non-violent participation in the political process, turning Muslim countries into the Palestinian Territories where violence against civilians is generally accepted. On the other, Turks generally reject violence against civilians. Turkey has a vibrant democracy in which all political ideologies are allowed to more or less participate. I would rather see the Middle East move in the direction of Turkey and therefore support the non-violence participation of Islamists in Middle East politics.

One thing I am unclear about is what you mean the corruption and coercion of Islamists and sharia law, and how this corruption and coercion is quantitatively or qualitatively different than the corruption and coercion of other political actors in the Middle East.

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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