69 million page views

The Middle East was violent before modern Israel and Islam

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology
in response to reader comment: I think you are seriously undervaluing the influence of Islam

Submitted by Schills (United States), Jul 12, 2012 at 19:50

Sara,

You assume that I place the weight of current violence in the Middle East on Israel. I do not. Israel has been used as a tool to distract Arabs from the failures of the national liberation movements which swept across the Middle East and the governments they established to improve the lives of their citizens. If Israel were not blamed, someone else would be. Likely candidates would be America, Europe and Jews. If you really want to dive into the matter we could discuss how absentee Arab landowners sold their land to zionists, and then direct the discontent of their former tenants at Jews in order to avoid being attacked. I suspect one could trace much of the modern anti-Semitic slight of hand to this time period, or how Sephardic Jews did not want zionists immigrating to the region because zionist immigration produced tension with the predominantly Christian population. The bottom line however remains the violence which occurred was due to factors other than Islam with principal factors being blaming Jews for the acts of Arab landowners and the absence of effective non-violent means of political expression.

While I do not blame Israel, you blame Islam, and the culture of the Middle East for violence in the region. This implies that there was no violence in the Middle East prior to Islam and that other cultures do not have similar violent histories. Both are false. When we look at the decline of violence in Europe and America, it is due to the availability of non-violent modes of political expression, and an intimate familiarity with what violence as a political tool produces.

You continually attribute to me the position that Arabs will produce a secular western version of democracy. I believe no such thing. Democracy in the Middle East will reflect the people who produce it. The only position I hold is that it is better for us if Arabs build their societies non-violently through the ballot box than by directing violence at us.

I am not sure why you draw an unbroken line from 7th century Arabia to the present. There are far too many factors to consider for such an unbroken chain to accurately reflect the past or the present.

Your mentioning the past decline of non-Muslim populations in the Middle East does not explain its causes. You imply violence directed at non-Muslims was the cause, yet the Hijazi Arab aristocracy did not want people to convert to Islam as this eroded the tax base which enriched the Arab aristocracy. Muslim violence does not explain the conversion of the Mongols to Islam as the Mongols utterly defeated the Muslim armies in Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and Anatolia. If your analysis were correct, then one would expect a swelling of the pagan population and a rejuvenation of Christian populations as several of the Mongol leaders were Christians.

I do not make the argument that Islam is "the religion of Peace." I only point out the analysis of the cause of past declines in non-Muslim populations in the Middle East is not due to the present decline caused by Jihadist violence.

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 The Middle East was violent before modern Israel and Islam by Schills

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.)