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The Myth of "good Islam". - Truth vs. reallity.

Reader comment on item: White House Nonchalance [toward the Middle East]

Submitted by Tomas (Denmark), Mar 21, 2006 at 16:08

Dear Mr. Pipes,

I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that: "....Islamism is a deeply grounded and widely popular version of Islam....", and I was already, sadly, aware of the surveys that you refer to.

In another resent survey, made in Denmark, as late as last week, a large number of Muslims were asked wheater they viewed themselves as being primarily Danish, in connection with the resent cartoon-hysteria. Only 2% answered "Yes!" to that question. 53% said that they - in all matters - were Muslims before they were anything else, and as many as 69% supported the demand, that the Danish Prime Minister, Mr. Rasmussen, should apologize for the cartoons.

Unless these 69% think that someone should be obliged to make excuses for matters, over which they have absolutely no control, one must asume that they have no idea, what so ever, as to what a Leader in a democratic and secular Nation can and cannot decide.

Being Danish, and a long time NGO in matters of anti-Islamism, I have my self experienced this complete lack of understanding, that, sadly, seems to be a common feature among far too many Muslims living in Denmark.

Around 1½ years ago, I was being invited to give an interview to a TV-station. The invitation came with a short notice, so I had to take a Taxi-cab, in order to get to the station in time. The driver was a young Muslim bloke, approx. 25 years old. We talked a bit as we drove, and he told me that he had lived in Denmark for 20 years, and had attended school here for 10 years. We also talked a bit about who I am.I made no attempt to hide my views, and ended up saying: "For me it`s essentially a matter of protecting the freedom of speech!". He looked at me with a rather embarresed smile and asked; "Excuse me for asking, but what does "the freedom of speech mean", I dont understand the term!"

If a fairly bright and reasonably outspoken 25 year old, who have attended school in a democratic State for 10 years, has absolutely no clue as to what the freedom of speech is about, then what does that say about the so called multicultural society? For me the answer is clear. It shows that it`s an illusion, a dream that has no ties to reallity at all.

The freedom of speech is a cultural feature, and not a - so called - universal value. Any society must have a basis, a set of values that are so commonly accepted by virtually all it`s members, that they are rarely discussed or mentioned. This is in essence what culture is about. Thus a multicultural society is a contratiction in terms. There can be a multitude of cultures witin the same legislative juristiction, but the legislation has to rest on one, commonly acknowledge base, and such a base must be monocultural, when it comes to what should be given the upper hand in case of disagreement. Cultural relativism will eventually lead to legislative relativism, which also has another name: Anarcy. The only ones who have ever benefitted from anarcy are totalitarians, whom people will then turn to in there dispair.

The great culturel devide is wheater one believes the legislation to be a matter for men or a matter for God. Those who see it as a matter for God, or a subject to what they believe to be God`s will, can never accept the law of man. People who will not and cannot accept secular law, can never be members of a secular society, for the obvious reason that they do not respect it`s foundation; the law as it is, in it`s present, man-made form. People like that can live within the physical borders of such a society, but they aren`t a part of the real society, which is not physical, but consists of a common, underlying state of mind. The most important feature of this "state of mind" in a secular society must be secularism, which is defined by the acceptance of law being a matter for men, and not for God.

God deals in Truth, but we must deal in reallity. As I see it, the greatest problem with Islam, both for us Westeners, and for the followers of Islam, is that Islam insists on mixing Truth and reallity. Truth is unchangeable, because God is God, and he does not chance per definition, neather in Islam, nor in Christianity. Reallity changes all the time. This is a Gordic knot, and the real reason for the fantastic succes that the West has had is, that Christianity has been able to cut right through that knot, by calling Truth the Kingdom of God, and thus reserving it for the mind of the believer, whereas reallity is the Kingdom of Man, where innovation and the abillities to adapt and improvise are the orders of the day, no matter what one individually believe to be the Truth.

The Bush-administration must be aware of that, and I find it catastrophic that they persist in talking about a proud religion turned bad by evil men. The trouble is that the mandatory mix of Truth and reality, with Truth - in its Sharian form - getting the upper hand, always leads to a legislative praxis that is appalingly out of context with what goes on in reallity. It ends where absolutism always ends; in disaster, human misery, persecution and socio-economic stagnation. Denying that, is like insisting on how bad fever is, and at the same time entusiasticly refusing to recoqnize the tuberculoses that is both killing the patient, and at the same time is highly contageous.

On the other hand, the patient in question is likely to be highly annoyed, if one tells him that he`s ill. Being the main supplier of our favorite "drug", oil, the situation is more than just a little complicated. No matter what, some day, in a not very distant future, we will have to choose between cheep gas and precious freedom. We cannot stall things for ever.

Best regards,

Tomas
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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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