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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.


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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Reader comments (53) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Militant Islam and poverty [166 words]AyashaApr 10, 2007 18:5488988
islam will soon go extinct in my zone please do something [86 words]hamza ali chubaMay 5, 2006 19:1044923
Middle East [44 words]Clifford IshiiAug 5, 2005 02:0424374
middle east [66 words]joeJul 10, 2006 11:0024374
1Similarities between Islam and Christianity? [329 words]Dean FreemanJul 23, 2005 18:0423738
Similarities between Islam and Christianity [94 words]sharmake warsameAug 15, 2008 23:4423738
wow! [6 words]kelseyNov 25, 2008 13:3423738
ignorance [44 words]shaySep 2, 2012 09:1623738
London Attacks [39 words]Clifford IshiiJul 7, 2005 14:3823178
Biblical Christianity [103 words]Clifford IshiiJun 23, 2005 21:1122838
Radical Islam [58 words]Clifford IshiiMay 15, 2005 17:4922112
Peaceful Islam? [63 words]Clifford IshiiApr 27, 2005 18:0421864
Islam is Fascist, it is not a religion [273 words]Craig ReadApr 20, 2005 15:4321742
Militant Biblical Christianity [15 words]Clifford IshiiMar 9, 2005 17:4920932
We Must return to a "Crusade" Doctrine,and not Just to a "Just War" Doctrine. [209 words]Mark KerezmanMar 11, 2006 09:1220932
2More religion not the answer [97 words]Brian F.Jan 23, 2005 11:0619817
Fundamentalist Christianity and Al Qaeda [53 words]Clifford IshiiMay 25, 2004 17:4815358
a fundamentalist Christian [135 words]S.H. KangJul 18, 2007 01:1815358
there are extremists for every religion and not just for Islam [11 words]A.A.AJan 4, 2004 14:0513090
Timothy Mcviegh [33 words]Timothy E. VislockyJul 9, 2006 15:2013090
Timothy Mcviegh was a Pantheist [17 words]Alan SmitheySep 22, 2006 12:3513090
equal justice [24 words]flyer55May 6, 2009 08:4713090
Right Wing use of Religion in the West [577 words]David O ReillyApr 17, 2003 07:578420
Chris Hedges [50 words]Andy PhillipsFeb 5, 2007 15:428420
Conservative Christianity [79 words]C IshiiApr 16, 2003 01:238384
Hmmmm?! [447 words]True Seeker of knowledgeFeb 27, 2003 16:036963
to clear things up (Hmmmm) from a Disciple of Christ [2558 words]SozoSep 4, 2006 13:446963
Catholic views on the Bible [212 words]Randy AtlantaDec 30, 2006 03:566963
Is a whale a fish or a gorilla a monkey? [268 words]RMcGuinnessDec 11, 2002 20:194541
great [10 words]sierraApr 17, 2008 10:144541
Moderate Muslims [162 words]Wylie GreeneDec 10, 2002 18:444512
The goal of militant Islam [109 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
JamilOct 8, 2002 20:022964
Islam [152 words]H R ThomasAug 30, 2002 17:302222
Kudos to Dan Pipes [52 words]John T UrbanAug 28, 2002 09:482171
Militant Islam is more dangerous [182 words]YelenaAug 27, 2002 16:182146
It didn't start in 1990 [118 words]Timothy E. VislockyAug 27, 2002 12:552131
Militancy across religious lines, not social [222 words]Mark Eric SteinAug 27, 2002 10:082123
Stay the course! [40 words]Dixon PorterAug 27, 2002 08:402121
Islam vs. Militant Islam [726 words]Alim JavidAug 27, 2002 08:092120
Comparison to other religions? [36 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
George ValdshteinAug 27, 2002 05:362119
Militant Islam in Indonesia [462 words]Eddy SuwondoAug 27, 2002 03:242116
Irfan Khawaja - I respectfully disagree [365 words]FreeManAug 26, 2002 22:102112
An International Threat [276 words]MaryAug 26, 2002 21:072111
Islam needs to grow up [142 words]JoeFeb 5, 2006 16:542111
Conservative Christians also want to impose their viewpoints on others [508 words]E ZuckerAug 26, 2002 21:022110
1Radical Islam May Be More Dangerous than Fascism and Communism! [122 words]Gary VinebergAug 26, 2002 20:442109
There is no such thing as an extermist Muslim, the religion itself is extreme [37 words]colJan 19, 2008 21:142109
Prescient and Wise [46 words]Harold & Selma SamuelsAug 26, 2002 19:172107
Militant Islam and Christianity [355 words]Irfan KhawajaAug 26, 2002 16:582104
Right on track [22 words]Common AmericanAug 26, 2002 16:302103
As much a threat as communism was [111 words]Rudy EllisAug 26, 2002 14:002102
Does the interpretation become the religion? [45 words]Paul KaplanAug 26, 2002 13:282101
Interpretation of Islam [139 words]A. AhmedAug 26, 2002 12:012100

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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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