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The crux of the matter

Reader comment on item: Islam and Islamism: Faith and Ideology
in response to reader comment: The Middle East was violent before modern Israel and Islam

Submitted by sara (United States), Jul 13, 2012 at 17:10

Schills,

Yet again I find disagreement on basic perceptions.

You say: If Israel were not blamed, someone else would be. Likely candidates would be America, Europe and Jews

Well, they are indeed blamed already, are you not aware of that? (ex Great Satan, little Satan).

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.

I do not understand this sentence. Please explain what you mean. How are you separating Islamic violence from Anti-Semitic violence? The land is the most precious commodity in Islam and it is directed that any land that was at any time inhabited by Muslims is forever Muslim land (see Andalusia, Kashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya etc etc) and is to be defended in the name of all Muslims to protect the Ummah.

While I do not blame Israel, you blame Islam, and the culture of the Middle East for violence in the region.

Of course I blame Islam (and the culture of the Middle East) and its clear painfully specific dictates of behavior and war because I have eyes and ears and listen to what the Imams say, what the politicians say, what the people say and I do not try to fool myself that it is otherwise.

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.

Never even alluded to that, but what happened over 1400 years ago is a different affair than what happened last week or will happen tomorrow.

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.

That is a simplistic and dismissive explanation. And it is also the crux of our disagreement.

You fail to acknowledge that there are tribal cultures steeped in Islamic tradition and law in the ME that want no part of modern 'frivolousness', no part of technology, democracy, looseness decadence and whatever else they tell each other and how the west is the devil to tempt them into hell. Have you read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Infidel"? There she was, in modern times of the 80's and 90's with her relatives, communities in Somalia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, while the western world was in some parallel universe, but these people had no desire to emulate the west in any way and kept their backward traditions intact at all costs, for honor, for fear of Allah's wrath, and mostly out of fear of the hellish hell they are petrified of that is described in such vivid detail and all memorize.

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.

That is all well and good, and good luck convincing the multitude of Muslims in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria etc. etc of your theory. If there are any who might agree with your values, their only options are to flee their communities and abandon their families. The majority hold rigidly to the basic Islamic 'rightful' or 'straight 'path and will not deviate because they just do not agree with you that your way is better.

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.

Again, you grossly underestimate the power of fear (or starvation), and how very effective it is in 'conversions'. Any Muslim proselytizers (and they are required to by Islamic law- Da'wah) will tell you not only how wonderful Islam is, peaceful and pure, but more importantly, where you will end up if you disobey Allah. Christians may believe in similar hellfire, but the percentage of proselytizers is not in the mainstream of the religion.

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.

Again, I need an explanation for this sentence. And what consequence does it have if there is a distinction or not?

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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