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Hamas election

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

Submitted by Merl Francis Kimmel (United States), Jan 27, 2006 at 13:29

Dear Dr. Pipes:

Just read your article about the Hamas election and while I agree with you that the Muslim/Arab world has not yet tasted complete defeat, as did the Japanese and Germans in WWII, and therefore does not have the ability to fully comprehend that the old totalitarian ways are not a formula for building a healthy society, I disagree with you, sir, that part of the problem is not Islam.

In fact, if anything, the fundamental stumbling block for Arabs and other select peoples of the world is the very religion they overwhelmingly adhere to. As Bertrand Russell noted some sixty years ago, Islam bears in many respects a striking resemblance to secular totalitarian ideologies like fascism and Marxism. It is the only religion that justifies the use of force to spread the faith (the "defensive" nature of jihad usually being a joke), has a legal system which is intended to replace all consitutional and legal systems across the earth-----How someone can be a devout Muslim and a good American at one and the same time is a puzzle to me.

As a devout Muslim, one must want to replace the US Constitution someday with Islamic religious law. As a good American citizen, one would never want to see the Constitution replaced by any religious legal system----- and has for a founder a brutal man who ordered the execution of thousands of individuals, Mohammed being quite different in this respect from other religious or ethical founders like Buddha, Jesus or Confucius who never ordered anyone to be killed. I think that more and more individuals here in America, in Europe and across the world have come increasingly to the conviction that Islam is indeed not just another religion. It is the odd man out among the faiths of the world and is troubling in many respects, only a few of which I mentioned above. And for those who maintain that it is a fine and noble religion which has unfortunately been hijacked by certain radical adherents of Islam, I would reply that it is a religion which is easily hijacked.

Look at it this way. If 95% of Arabs were Buddhist or Christian, do you really believe that the Middle East would be in such a mess today? Of course, one could maintain that Islam is still evolving and will eventually acclimate itself to the modern world. I, for one, am not nearly that optimistic. If Ernest Renan, the great nineteenth-century French historian, was anywhere close to correct when he described Islam as "the heaviest chains that ever shackled humanity," a kinder, gentler Islam is no more likely than a kinder, gentler fascism or Marxism.

Oh, it can go passive for a while and most adherents to Mohammed's creed in any generation will be ho-hum believers, as is the case with believers of any other faith, but the blueprint is always there for intolerance, totalitarianism and a suffocation of the mind. Islam is not only not the solution, it is the principle obstacle to peace in the Middle East and thus throughout the world.
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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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