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Question for Daniel Pipes?

Reader comment on item: In 1796, U.S. Vowed Friendliness With Islam

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Nov 8, 2006 at 17:50

With all due respect, you say... "my argument that the United States is not fighting Islam the religion but radical Islam, a totalitarian ideology that did not even exist in 1796."

...It seems to me, who also knows a good deal of Islamic history, that Islam as a totalitarian ideology goes right back to the 7th century and had its origin in the personality of Mohammed. The only reason this was not particularly obvious is that in 1796, and for a hundred years before and after that time, Islam was in an unprecedentedly weak state, relative to the nations around its main areas, and especially in its Arab heartland which remained under the harsh rule of the Ottoman regime.

Given its history throughout the period from about 634 until 1699 (Prince Eugene's decisive victory in the area of what's now Slovenia) their should have been every reason to suspect that if ever Islam awoke from its political slumber and weakness, it would once again become a mortal threat to its neighbors, and to the larger world.

Surely the ready allegiance of politically active Moslems to Nazism in the 1930'a and 40's signals this. A temporary "detour" of Moslem political energies through profoundly authoritarian forms of nationalism and socialism from the 50's into the 70's should not obscure the nascent totalitarianism involved.

We do not have to act as if all Moslems are totalitarian, but surely it is naive to be unaware that the core of Islam is inherently totalitarian. If there is anything that is going to break this bleak paradigm, it can only be in spite of Islam and not by means of some mirage of "moderate" Islam.

Ron Thompson

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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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

"It seems to me, who also knows a good deal of Islamic history, that Islam as a totalitarian ideology goes right back to the 7th century and had its origin in the personality of Mohammed. "

Totalitarianism, a 20th-century political development, aspires to control every aspect of a person's life; traditional Islam does not aspire to this. What, for example, was the Islamic doctrine concerning economics or labor-management relations? Those topics were taken up for the first time by the Islamists.

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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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