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Islam vs. Militant Islam

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

Submitted by Alim Javid (Canada), Aug 27, 2002 at 08:09

I believe Dr. Pipes is right on several points and wrong on some others.

Most important of all, he correctly identifies the new danger to the American system as militant or revolutionary Islam, and compares it in the same way to communism. Both ideologies are similar in tactics and approaches, even rhetoric and slogans. Only the underlying context is different.

He is also correct that poverty, while provides some recruiting advantages and rhetoric to the revolutionary Islam, is not the main cause. Again in the same way, a majority of communist leaders were not working class. Examples: Fidel Castro and Che Guara were both educated and from upper middle class. The poor have actually a better understanding and appreciation of what is important in life. Although it should be noted that improving the life style and conditions of the poor countries would certainly weaken the revolutionary Islam. Western countries became immune against communism when their life conditions improved.

On the other hand, Dr. Pipes' argument against American Muslim organizations have always been very unconvincing. The following points has to be made:

1. Dr. Pipes says that the American Muslim organizations are militant because they support expansion of Islam which leads to an imposition of Islamic ideas on others. But this is exactly what Christianity and every other ideology in the world do too. So the main question is not whether Islam should be allowed to seek more power or not. The important point is that it should be forced to modernize so that its values and rules become more consistent with those of today civil society, in the same way that happened to Judaism and Christianity.

2. Dr. Pipes differentiates between fundamentalist Christianity and Islam by pointing that the Christians "work within system" while fundamentalist Muslims are "mostly violent". But in another part, he divides the Islamists into those who want to reach their goals through system or against it. Dr. Pipes should examine this question: If an "Islamist" organization wants to work within system to reach its goal through non violent means, how could it be labeled differently than a fundamentalist Christian or Jewish organization?

Again, the answer lies in the basic Islamic values versus Christian values, not the approach. Dr. Pipes is treating American Muslim organizations differently and quite unfairly in comparison to their Christian counterparts.

3. Dr. Pipes mentions about Muslim organizations requests for "special privileges for Islam". But as he points out in another article, these organizations follow the exact approaches by prominent Jewish organizations in the US. This agenda of AMC or CAIR is typicially similar to that of ADL or AJC. Does this fact make ADL or AJC a "Militant Jewish organization"?

4. Dr. Pipes often refers to the dominance of militant, or revolutionary Islam within the Muslim community in the US, but rarely offers any substantiated evidence. He mostly refers to Hisham Kabbani's claim that 80% of Muslim mosques and all Muslim student associations in the US are controlled by militants. But Mr. Kabbani also never offered any proof or evidence for this claim. Could Dr. Pipes or Mr. Kabbani provide a list of those "80 percent" mosques that preach revolutionary Islam?

As a matter of fact if we put aside the issue of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is a sensitive and emotional topic for both sides, you will find very little evidence that any organization or mosque in the US is subscribed to the teaching of revolutionary Islam. This issue is explained further in the next point.

5. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has put a serious challenge in front of Muslim organizations. However, it may be premature to judge American muslims primarily based on their approach to this conflict, which for both sides is typically based on emotions and not strategic goals. Once this problem is resolved, it will create a better environment to judge which Muslim organization is truly militant and which one is ready to work within the system.

At the end, as Dr. Pipes pointed out in another article, Islam is here and will not go anywhere. Its followers will also seek more power and influence through organizations and lobby groups, similar to any other ethnic and religious minority. By labeling most Muslim organizations and Islamists as militant and revolutionary, Dr. Pipes may actually force many Muslims to think they will have no way of political participation except militarism. This is a dangerous approach.

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".

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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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