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History, when wrong, must be criticized

Reader comment on item: Islam vs. Islamism (article)

Submitted by Prashant (United States), May 13, 2013 at 23:50

Dear Dr Pipes:

I will quote one sentence from your recent article on Islam vs. Islamism. The article says, "Muslims achieved remarkable military, economic, and cultural success between roughly 600 and 1200 c.e. Being a Muslim then meant belonging to a winning team, a fact that broadly inspired Muslims to associate their faith with mundane success". This sentence seems to glorify what Islam achieved between the years 600 and 1200 and I disagree with that glorification.

In one of my recent messages on your site, I pointed out that there is an unbelievable correspondence between the dates of Islamic conquests in Spain (West) and Sindh (East). Spain and Sindh are situated diametrically opposite from the place where Muhammad lived and worked. But these two regions were attacked and won by Muslim forces in the years 711 and 712 respectively. Thus, within a century of Muhammad's life and death, Islam had violently attacked two distant lands for no good reason. In the modern times we do not glorify the western colonialism of the last three or four centuries. No one praises British colonialism in India and US and French colonialism in Africa. Then, why should we praise Islamic colonialism just a few centuries before the western colonialism? What Muslim armies did to the rest of the world between 600 and 1200 (actually till 1700) was not any different from European colonialism and, in fact, it was worse (because it was wrapped in the cloak of religion). I will even argue that Muslims invented colonialism. The Islamic slave dynasty was established in Delhi in 1206 and these conquerors were just as Indian as Napoleon was Egyptian. And even before the occupied India in 1206, they had occupied almost every piece of land in between. In Persia a very ancient and very strong civilization was decimated by Islamic conquerors.

I contend that the onus of differentiating between Islam and Islamism is not on the free world. It is on the moderate Muslims be apologize and say that Islam does exist and is different from Islamism. Just as I apologize and say that there is much more to my religion than caste system. And just as modern Catholics and Christians apologize and say that Christianity was and is different from Nazism. There is enough material in the Islamic doctrine to indicate that Islam is also a political movement, there is enough material in the Islamic practice to indicate that Islam is an imperialistic force with a desire to dominate the world. In the light of this evidence there is no reason why anyone should differentiate between Islam and Islamism. Let the Muslims scholars do so. Once muslim's realize that Islamism brings a bad name to Islam, they will be more motivated to practice the separation of church and religion and that should be ultimate goal of the free world. By pretending that Islam and Islamism are different, we are making the lives of fundamentalists easy. Until there is a very concrete separation between Islamic spirituality and Islamic imperialism, I refuse to accept that Islam and Islamism are two different things.

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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