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It is not Islam

Reader comment on item: [The Hamas Electoral Victory:] Democracy's Bitter Fruit

Submitted by Steve Klein (United States), Jan 27, 2006 at 11:28

Dr. Pipes,

Unlike you, I am not a scholar. Your question is: "Why has a democratic prescription that's proven successful in Germany, Japan and other formerly bellicose nations not worked in the Middle East?"

And your answer: "It's not Islam or some cultural factor that accounts for this difference; rather, it is the fact that ideological enemies in the Middle East have not yet been defeated."

I agree with your answer, that our enemies in the Middle East have not yet been defeated.

I'm not certain however that it is not Islam. Like you, Ambassador Dore Gold ("Hatred's Kingdom") wrote: "But Islam is not the problem. Rather the problem is extremists in the Middle East who have manipulated Friday sermons in the mosques, textbooks in the schools," etc.

Granted, Islam had its periods of relative benevolence and toleration, when it came to honor the contributions of other civilizations. The important question however ought to be, are these extremists, out of sync with the teachings of the prophet? Since the Qur'an is the highest authority in Islam, "the alpha and the omega of the Islamic religion," perhaps the question might be, whose camp would the prophet align himself with? Would he be with our enemies or with the moderates, the pragmatists, the secularists, whatever?

Maybe I am splitting hairs. Surely it is more complex than this, yet Islam is a religion that worships a supernatural deity (Allah), while Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were rather nationalist-ideologies whose god --- in Germany's case ----- was the fuhrer and --- in Japan's ---- the emperor. I know it is more complex than this. Some believe Shintoism served as a basis for emperor worship for instance.

We've read valid comparisons between the Germans electing the Nazi party and Palestinians electing Hamas. In my uneducated opinion, the comparisons can only go so far however when either comparing pre-war Germans with Palestinian Muslims or a supernatural revelation with largely secular or nationalist ideology.
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