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Is Imran Khan serious?

Reader comment on item: Jihad and the Professors
in response to reader comment: Why is Indonesia over 90% Muslim?

Submitted by John Philips (Japan), Nov 4, 2002 at 04:34

"Why is Pakistan 98% Muslim?"

Because it was created to be a Muslim nation, a safe haven and protection for the Muslim minority in India. I think that was a mistake, and in fact the creation of Pakistan was opposed by the organized ulama of India, who predicted (rightly as it turned out) that the creation of Pakistan would be a disaster for Muslims in India. Today there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, and these Indian Muslims, supporters of secular India, are today threatened by Hindu nationalist rioters, and a Hindu nationalist government. They have been slaughtered with impunity in Mahatma Gandhi's own state of Gujarat, and all the Pakistani A-bombs in the world couldn't save them. Those who created Pakistan or went there should have listened to the ulama who tried to warn them what would happen.

"Why did the Bangladeshi minority population go from 45% in 1947 to about 12% in 2002?"

There was no Bangladesh in 1947. Bengal was about 55% Muslim, 45% other, mostly Hindu. It was divided at independence into the Indian province of west Bengal and East Pakistan. Because Gandhi was able to stop the killing in Bengal, the 12% Hindu minority remained in the Muslim half of divided Bengal until a West Pakistani military butcher came and tried to kill them. BTW this dictator was not welcomed by the Muslim Bengalis. India went to war to relieve the burden of refugees on itself, and today a Muslim minority lives in west Bengal province of India just as a Hindu minority lives in Bangla Desh. Let us all hope and pray that Hindu nationalist fanatics do not come to power in West Bengal.

"What happened to all the Jews and Christians in the Middle Eastern Arab countries?"

Many of the Christians are still there, including such prominent persons as Butros Butros-Ghali and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. In fact there is probably a higher percentage of Christians in Arabic countries than of anything but Christians in English speaking countries.... In Iraq there are still followers of John the Baptist's cult, and even Satanists, who have been there for centuries.

Most of those who converted did so because of the economic incentive of jizya, rather than because of forced conversion. I won't say forced conversions never took place in Islamic history, but I will point out that they are not only contrary to sharia, but that the rulers are given a strong disincentive for them. Why cut off all that jizya revenue?

As for Indonesia, even Patricia Crone, who posited a "unique moral gap" in Islam never suggested that Islam spread in southeast Asia through force. Islam does have arguments that persuade people. It spread to southeast Asia and subsaharan Africa without conquest from the Middle East. Even in the Middle East, if it had spread merely by force it would have been only as successful as Genghis Khan's attempt to have himself proclaimed a god. How many adherents does that faith have today?

More importantly, Islam is a diverse religion, and "jihad" has as many meanings and nuances as "crusade" does. If an American politician declares a "crusade" against drugs, or even terrorism, does he necessarily have a medieval concept of the word? For that matter, Thomas Aquinas's concept of "just war" owed a lot to the theory of jihad among Islamic scholars. Perhaps that could be a basis for dialogue.

Furthermore, Islamic pacifism is not necessarily modernist. See: _The Jakhanke Muslim Clerics_ by Lamin O. Sanneh (University Press of America; ISBN: 0819174815) for an example from west Africa.

There are still vast numbers of moderate Muslims of various types, and I refuse to act as a referee among the various Muslim groups, to decide whose Islam is purer. Would anyone else reading this accept Muslims deciding which Christians were the real ones?

I've always been impressed with Dr. Pipes' scholarship, even when I disagreed with it....
Submitting....

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