69 million page views

The real problem with Islam is...

Reader comment on item: "Moslem States Represent a Potential Threat to World Peace"
in response to reader comment: Two Islams, Muhummadians and "real" Islamists: De jure v. De facto

Submitted by Farid (Germany), Feb 16, 2006 at 20:43

Joe, that's an interesting theory. Unfortunately, that's not how it is in real life. The real distinction that people in my country Morocco are drawing, is between muslims, and islamists. The former are considered harmless (wherever their faith-o-meter may be pointing to, ranging between nil [nearly atheistic, de jure as you call it] up to maximum [extremely devout]). The latter are right out dangerous [even] for our society. We go to great lengths to use a very precise wording in describing both kind of people, because we consider this of utmost importance.

Why is it so? We consider islamists as POLITICAL ACTIVISTS with an agenda and a political ideology that they motivate religiously. Their main aim is to establish a clerical-type state like in Iran. Islamists tend to be extremely intolerant (though it's not always the case either, but it's safe to assume that well over 95% of them are) towards non-muslims and even towards muslims who disagree with them; and all terrorists and violent people we've seen recently have been islamists AFAICS.

Now, the real problem is a matter of interpretation of Islam. This happens to be a religion that is much more "political" than others: a lot of social laws are encoded within its teachings. In most cases that's harmless and sometimes even a good thing, BUT some laws (e.g. regarding women's rights or the rights of minorities) are hopelessly anachronistic in our modern age. They may have been progressive in Arabia 1400+ years ago, but that's no longer the case.

What do you normally do with anachronistic laws? Right! You modify and adapt them. That's the core of politics itself. But when laws are encoded in religion, they become "cast in stone," immutable... and they turn into a big burden for all.

So what do you do then? You establish a civil society with civil laws that are binding to all. At the same time you allow liberty of faith, but only as long as this liberty doesn't infringe on the civil rights of citizens!

Some islamic countries do have civil laws that may or may not supercede old religious laws. How much civil laws take precedence over religious laws defines the level of modernity of those states. Turkey, and my country Morocco are good examples of modern islamic states: both have civil laws that establish the equality of genders and other basic rights (or at least they try their best to come close to this ideal -- it's not perfect yet, but they're headed in the right direction nonetheless), sometimes directly conflicting islamic original teachings. Other states are not so lucky (or modern yet): they do also have civil laws, but such laws are sticking much more closely to the original islamic principles, so they're actually only a near-copy of the islamic law.

To sum up: there are actually two faces to Islam (or should I better say to muslims). One face is one of tolerance and modernity. The other face is one of intolerant islamism.

As long as I can in public (!) drink a good cold beer in my country, read whatever I want to read, watch whatever I feel like watching, visit the few churches and synagogues and buddhist temples that we've got there, ... without being harrassed by religious-political bigots who try to shove their own beliefs down my throat, I couldn't care less wether I'm living in an islamic or non-islamic country. But when islamists start gathering a significant following, up to taking over, then things are getting hairy and dangerous.

Of course, you and others may disagree and see it totally diffently. I do respect this, though I may not necessarily agree. I'm just highlighting the way a vast majority of moroccans are seeing this. Others here and in other parts of the world may see it differently.
Submitting....

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".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The real problem with Islam is... by Farid

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)