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Western assumptions may be false.

Reader comment on item: Does Israel Need a [Peace] Plan?

Submitted by A.F. (United States), Feb 3, 2003 at 00:09

Thanks again Dr. Pipes for again taking us beyond simplistic media or academic inspired opinions to more reality-based conclusions. It's always a rewarding, if not sobering experience, to read your analysis. Answering questions like "Does Israel Need a Plan?" should rely on irrefutable premises instead of common but unproven assumptions that many in the West take for granted. Your essay points out many of those errors, but there are a few more basic premises worth looking at to make sure the West isn't wasting its time:

1. Muslims prefer democracy over despotism. We assume they do but where is the evidence? Where are the national role models, past or present? Where are the voices among the one billion plus Muslims who speak out in support of democratic values? Can any true Muslim face Mecca while also thinking about Athens?

2. Muslims prefer peace over war. The liberal West assumes they do but the maps show otherwise. In all directions leading out from Mecca the Muslims are expanding their religion and dominance over their neighbors: Pakistan and India to the east; Indonesia and Malaysia to the south-east; Sudan to the south; Algeria and Israel to the West; Chechnya and Bosnia to the North; and many more such examples of expansionism surround the outer limits on the Islamic map.

And within the Muslim world, unstoppable religious strife and warfare between Muslim factions both across and within national borders.

3. The Koran is a doctrine of brotherhood, not a "declaration of war." If a doctrine of brotherhood, where is the evidence? Yet there is a virtual deluge of hatemongering and warlike behavior from Islamists and so-called "fundamentalists" who rely on Koranic teachings for a barbarian philosophy.

4. Muslims prefer economic welfare over jihad. To the contrary, the evidence shows they will choose jihad over anything else, whether personal comfort or even life itself, when given the choice. The concepts of free market economies and national wealth seem to be alien concepts – the carrots the West holds in front of their nose to behave. While visions of dismembered bodies of Jews, Christians, or their own martyred children, brings them more ecstasy than material well-being.

5. Muslims will prefer wealth over poverty. The concepts of wealth and poverty are western creations arising out of a free market democratic system. Excluding religious indoctrination, literacy is low and a recent phenomenon brought about by oil money. The media is still tightly controlled. It's possible that "poverty" is a meaningless concept to a Muslim world that until recently had only a simple agrarian lifestyle.

The west relies on the bait of "reduced poverty, improved health, better education, and other such symbols of westernization to lure the Muslim world to proper behavior.

6. Muslim nations will accept the division of church and state. We know that without this division the Muslim states will only remain theocracies and the "rule of law" will always be a sham. And without "rules of law" democracy can never exist. If we look back over the last 1400 years or so of Islam, is there suddenly hope for such a political evolution or does the growth of fundamentalism point to the opposite conclusion?

7. Islam desires progress over a return to primitivism. The growth of fundamentalism in the Islamic countries and increasingly within Western states points to the opposite conclusion - raw power over progress. The most striking examples of Muslim success in advancing its use of science and technology has not been for the betterment of humanity but for its ultimate destruction. These include terrorists using the internet, engineers producing more effective body explosives, students majoring in guerrilla warfare, and the medical and scientific community focusing on producing more potent nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

Those are just some of the more basic assumptions that political leaders in the West seem to rely on but may in fact be flawed.
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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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