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Militant Islam and Christianity

Reader comment on item: Militant Islam Is Put In Class With Communism, Fascism

Submitted by Irfan Khawaja (United States), Aug 26, 2002 at 16:58

IBD asks Dr. Pipes whether the political efforts of Muslim groups are similar to that of Christian conservatives. Dr. Pipes answers "there is no similarity whatsover. They are unrelated phenomena." He is wrong on both counts.

As to similarity, both the Christians and the Muslims have the same ultimate goal. They *both* want to impose their views on everyone else. Anti-abortion terrorism is one obvious manifestation of the violent version of militant Christian fundamentalism. It can hardly be described as an attempt to "practice their religion their way" and "work entirely through the system." Dr. Pipes's comments minimize the seriousness of the threat that abortion workers face on a daily basis--and have faced for decades.

Not all Christian activism is violent, of course. Consider the "intelligent design" crusade. The explicit aim here is to subvert the teaching of biology in the public schools and replace science with theology. Is there any fundamental (so to speak) difference between what has recently happened in Kansas and what Dr. Pipes accuses the non-violent Islamists of wanting to achieve? Same agenda, different theology. Again, Dr. Pipes's comments wave this away as though there were no threat. But it is the Christian activists who have actually met with political success, not the Muslim ones. No Muslim group is anywhere near achieving the kind of success that the Christian activists have achieved on intelligent design.

As to the actual relatedness of the two movements, Dr. Pipes seems unaware of the fact that many Islamists are in fact conservative Republicans, and have consciously taken the Christian fundamentalists as their role models. He also fails to mention that certain sectors of the Republican Party --Grover Norquist's comes to mind-- have tried to put together coalitions of Islamists and Christian fundamentalists with varying degrees of success. So the two movements are hardly "unrelated."

None of this should surprise anyone who has read both St. Augustine and Syed Qutb -- or Pat Robertson and Abul Ala Mawdudi. It's well and good to compare Islamism with secular totalitarianism, but let's not forget that its explicit inspiration comes from Abrahamanic scripture -- something it has in common with Christianity.
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