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Is radical Islam in decline?

Reader comment on item: Is Radical Islam in Decline?

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Oct 22, 2016 at 16:34

Dear Dr Pipes,

it is difficult to say whether radical Islam is in decline or not but there is a modern phenomenon that might be making a dent in radical Islam. Here is how it works and it is not by choice for Muslims. It is per force. You see, Islamic hypocrisy is alive and well and Muslims apologists are apologizing for Islam every day of the week but there is a stronger force that is taking place. When these apologists --whether they be Kashmiri militants or Palestinian stone throwers or run-of-the-mill Iranian fundamentalists-- meet with people from civilized democracies, they have to at least pay a lip-service to the cause of openness, universalism and democracy. When they extol the virtues of democracy,in their hearts they might tell a lie or speak the truth but that is not important. I will describe what is important next.

What is important is that in this age of universal media, whatever Islamic apologists say gets recorded for eternity. And, becomes available for others to listen and absorb. A future listener of these people does not know whether they were telling the truth or speaking a lie but s/he gets the right message. United States and Europe are at the early stages of this phenomenon. But it is becoming very apparent in India.

Recently, there was a movement in India to allow women enter the sanctum sanatorium of a Hindu temple where they were not allowed to enter due to centuries old practices. Hindus of India solve these problems mostly through non-violent logical dialogs and debates. There was a public discussion and the problem was resolved. But there was a side-effect of this incidence though. Women are not allowed in certain Mosques of India either. As a result, Muslim leadership of India was forced to confront the issue and the issue also became a matter of Indian Islamic discourse. Last week a Hindu woman activist became one of the first women to enter that mosque and pray (Hindus, luckily, can pray to anything anywhere). Thus, Islam rode on the Hindu coattail but it did not have the option to decline the ride!

Now India is having a debate on the sectarian Muslim marriage law and apologists are forced to participate in the debate on Marriage equality among Muslim women. Muslims couple in India have a choice to bypass Sharia marriages in favor of uniform civil marriages. The latter guarantee a higher degrees of equality among sexes and is chosen by many Hindu and Christian families for legal purposes. Indian-muslim society is now forced to apologize and debate on yet another important issue.

Anther incidence that also exemplifies this phenomenon happened in the context of Kashmiri separatism. The separatists find their best friends among socialists, leftists and communists. A very competent and educated Kashmiri student leader, Shehla Rashid, who happened to be a Muslim admired the democratic freedoms of India and of her university. In most of her speeches -- and there are tens of them on YouTube-- she was forced to admire democracy, freedom, secularism, and equality. In the company of her leftist comrades she had to admit that the darling of Islamic separatists, Pakistan, neither possessed nor protected any of these values. She was forced to admit that she felt fortunate that she could be a senior leader of the student body even though "she came from a marginalized community". Shehla Rashid declared that she was not a Islamist but a communist and an athiest!! Ms Rashid failed to explain that if she was a communist and atheist, why was she mingling with Islamic separatists. But that is OK. When a young Muslim kid researches the speeches of Ms Rashid for her school essay any time in the future, she will get the right message and will only get a diluted version of hypocrisy. That, at least, is the hope.

The social media --free of governments and big economic interests-- and is making a solid dent into Islamic fundamentalism. Is fundamentalism on a decline? No one can say but changes are surely appearing.

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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