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Re: Who Radicalized Muslims between 622AD and 1918AD

Reader comment on item: Sudden Jihad Syndrome (in North Carolina)
in response to reader comment: Jihad and Moderate Muslim/Islam

Submitted by Bader S (United Arab Emirates), Mar 20, 2006 at 15:32

Yes, the histories of peoples and empires between 622AD and 1918AD were bloody and aggressive, and the peoples that professed to be of the Islamic faith were neither more nor less bloody and aggressive as other peoples.

Were the periods of Islamic expansionism and imperialism driven by radicalized rulers and nations? I very much doubt it. What drove this expansionism and imperialism was a desire for, first and foremost, booty. The desire for economic wealth was shared by the many empires that came and went. Britain, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mongolia, and Russia, among others, expanded their territories throughout the world and maintained their rule of these territories through the use of violence. Religion and culture were used in some cases to justify the subjugation of native populations.

US foreign policy is not the sole source of radicalization of Muslims. Governments, dictators, autocrats and militaries in Muslim countries implement policies and carry out actions that radicalize portions of their populations. For example, the actions of the military in Algeria following the Islamist's victory in the elections lead to extreme radicalization of some of the Islamists.

In fact, long before there was ever a war between the West and radical Islam, the Muslim countries themselves were fighting their own wars against radical Islam. And where did these radical Islamists, to save their necks, flee to? They fled to the West were they found protection .

The people in the West must differentiate between radical Islamists and average Muslims. Only then can the level of radicalization of Muslims begin to decrease. To attack Islam, the Quran and the Prophet and say that they are the source or cause of radicalization is, in my opinion, a self-defeating exercise Such attacks will lead to the perception, on the part of the average Muslim, that the West is not interested in fighting only radical Islam but fighting Islam itself. Such perception will swell the ranks of the radicals.

As has been said by many, the war being fought today is a war of ideas. This war began in the Muslim countries between the moderates and the radicals. For moderate ideas to prevail, the West needs to help. One way to help is to implement policies that do not marginalize or antagonize the vast majority of Muslim moderates. Shock and Awe do not help. Blaming Islam, the Quran, and the Prophet for radicalism does not help either. Such blame simply draws attention away from the real causes of radicalization.
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