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C'mon folks

Reader comment on item: In 1796, U.S. Vowed Friendliness With Islam
in response to reader comment: Difference between Islam and Radical Islam ?

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Nov 13, 2006 at 11:55

Daniel- great article about Tripoli, although I think many readers readily misconstrue that the behavior of the Barbary states was due to some kind of Jihad against "the west". Political barbarism is more like it.

Daniel has mentioned some Muslims who are struggling against the tide, but few here seem to bother to notice due to some pandemic prejudice. There are many Muslims here at home, the many who do serve our country, including many that currently work for the FBI and CIA, who hate Islamic fundamentalism.

Many prefer to "not engage" some of their neighbors, for the simple fact, they become easy targets for some of my fellow Americans who choose to target them, engender suspicion, and barrage them with criticism of their faith. They serve most importantly as translators. If only 1/10 of the vitriolic spew trashing Muslims collectively was instead diverted to studying the relevant langauages, we might get somewhere. In fact, let's take a minute and thank them for taking a brave stand!!!

Daniel has also mentioned that not all sects and philisophical streams within Islam agree with eth fundmentalist ideology, or poltical islam, and he has rightly highlighted Sufism is a notable mode that has widely stood against the fundamentalists. They are not alone. Many Muslims in the US and the west are just as tired of the banter and rhetoric that spews as Americans love to trash muslims collectively! I think that trashing muslims collectively only serves to help our enemies! think about it. Osama expects you to behave that way, as he wanted to start a religious war, and you fall right into his trap.

Perhaps that is a reason that you will find our president has never been keen on trashing all muslims in the manner that many here openly profess. He is thankful for the support that we get- and desperately need to win the war on terror. Muslims living here are not collectively responsible for prejudice, hatred, and even violence perpetrated by fascist regimes, religious absolutists, and rigid fundamentalists, any more than you, as a Christian, are somehow collectively responsible for the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims by " Christian" Bosnian Serbs in places such as Srebrenica.

If you would like to be effective in your argument, why not do more to hold up those who do take a stand against hate and terror, as a model example? Failure to do that is based solely on arrogance and prejudice. It is possible to illustrate such discussions by demonstrating those who do, and those who don't effectively support us. You could in fact, attempt to lay your preconceived notions aside, for just a moment, and highlight exemplary behavior, though they are not of your faith, if you would only bother.

Sadly very few of my fellow Americans are willing to engage in this as they are reluctant to offer any slight modicum of legitimacy to those practicing another faith, but especially Muslims. It is a very sad, and very glaring failure on the part of many of my fellow Americans. That it is a chosen course of action, the failure to highlight those who a positive example of what you would like to see and expect as model behavior of your fellow Americans indicates how little the region is understood.

I think that many here could actually use Daniel as a model- learn a little language to start! Some Muslims who do get up and speak out, do take a stand against hate, but are either the subject of a barrage harsh and arrogant criticism, deemed "apologists" and worse, "terrorist sympathizers' if they highlight what they feel is a certain role that our foreign policy has played in bringing about such circumstance. In some cases, like our fight against communism in Afghanistan, we failed to clean up the mess, and we saw the fruits of that failure. Criticism is not meant to highlight how awful we are, but to strengthen American resolve to not repeat such mistakes.

Yet many for daring to speak publicly in such a manner engender threats and attacks by my fellow Americans, solely due to certain angry zealots who harbor such a level of sectarian prejudice, they are compelled to engage in such activities. I find many of these individuals incredibly insensitive, callous, and frankly aggressive in many cases towards people who never condoned or supported terror, hate, tyranny, and absolutism in any form. Then a larger segment of my fellow Americans simply react- they dismiss, or pretend not to notice, much less deign to accept, such Muslims who do effectively demonstrate that they are friends of America. Many choose to engage in a type of pietistic discourse regarding Islam, which only stems from sanctimonious arrogance.

My fellow Americans can also choose to highlight, accept, and applaud those Muslims who live in our community that do not endorse such views. You have a certain amount of responsibility for the words you choose to utter, and blaming Muslims collectively only serves to engender more anger and hatred, against those who do not deserve such attention. It certainly offers no real solution to the conflicts at hand. Perhaps you feel it necessary to advance such arguments based upon your own personal religious precepts? You should fully understand the ramifications of such actions, and how they are in fact, very much eagerly anticipated by organizations like Al Qa'ida, should you choose to engage in such rhetoric.

If you tell me that Muslims naturally engender suspicion, when if you bother to look, there are in fact cases where you cannot possibly demonstrate that they support, or give aid to our enemies, then I must conclude that your prejudice is based on fear. If you tell me that they are disinclined to democratic precepts due to the adherence of their faith, this again, is a view that you harbor personally, and rooted in prejudice. You may choose to justify your belief based on your chosen theology, but that is your choice, and is not always shared by many of your fellow Americans who do not choose to engage in, advocate, or participate in your chosen theology.

Hence, I feel most certain that much of the rhetoric about the evils of another religions is not due to any form of objective education about that religion (which is in fact, incredibly diverse, and not managed from any sort of central authority), but simply rooted, very deeply, in nothing more than centuries of sectarian prejudice. Yes, I agree, that Christians are not always treated well in some Muslim countries, and in a horrid and undignified manner in others. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot, what has there been?

For example, did you in fact take a stand during the Balkan War against Serb atrocities against tens of thousands of very innocent Muslims, including men, elders who never raised arms, and small children? Did you take a stand against the collective rape of Bosnian Muslim women by Serb soldiers? Did you attempt to explain how such actions are against Christian precepts, or did you "fall silent" as you now accuse many Muslims of being? Were you silent, because in your view, they are justifiable actions based on events that occurred 500 years earlier? Or do you think it is something to be expected, because you preach the "end times" are at close at hand, and this is merely a "sign of the times"?

If you tell me that the Qur'an doesn't promote religious freedom, well then, let's look closely at the Holy Bible and see if it provides such freedoms as well. Lets take a look at the codes of Justinian and see how institutional Christianity treated those of other faiths. In many cases, it was the same scenario, convert or die. At least that is what some of my Gallic ancestors were subjected to, among others. There are in fact, many Muslims worldwide, who have simply had enough. We have in fact helped to give many a voice. Let's continue to do so. This includes some of your fellow Americans who actively denounce terror, anti-Semitism, and hate.

Sorry, but I think you can do better, as an American, to actually praise those of your fellow Americans who practice a different faith from your own, for taking a very brave stand. Many do this despite alienation from their immediate family members, some mosques (especially when there is only one mosque in a given community, and the leader proves unsympathetic to different views), and even in some cases at the risk of their personal safety. I think they deserve our unequivocal support, loud and clear, not a little bit of lip service, followed by "critique", which only serves to heap insults upon injuries. Such individuals deserve to be applauded, and mentioned, each and every time as a positive exemplar for others to follow.

Let's look at Jordan, Turkey, Bahrayn, Qatar, UAE, and Kuwait, even Malaysia, as many in those countries are pretty sick and tired of the Wahhabis next door in Saudi, and the Islamist IRHABIYEEN that threaten them every day. How many female Kuwaiti royal family members cover their hair? How many Kuwaitis refer to non-Muslims as "dhimmis". Do you find it in their legal code? How many exact a jizya tax on the non-muslims that live in their society? They are far more progressive than some of my fellow Americans will allow themselves to believe. Remember, plenty of Arabs hate Saddam too, and it's not just Muqtada Sadr!

How about the late moderate Shia, Imam Khoeii, who fully supported our efforts, not just to overthrow Saddam, but becuase he really belived in promoting a more moderate form of religion? He was sadly cut down at the start of the Iraq war, simply because we failed to provide proper security after the fall of Baghdad? We let Sadr's thugs get to him, all too quickly, and it's a real shame. I openly mourn his loss, but there are more like him, if you'd care to look about. Not all Muslims hate America and the west! What have you done ot thank such people who take a brave stand? What have you learned about the diversity of beliefs within Islamic Culture? those who have struggled aginst the tide for centuries (at greater personal risk than many here engender)? http://secularislam.org/ www.freemuslims.org www.unionoffaiths.com islamdenouncesantisemitism.com zackvision.com/weblog/islam-and-other-religions irshadmanji.com/ monaeltahawy.com/ m-a-t.org/ mvp-us.org/ www.m-a-t.org/pr-mat-aug16-06 An informative article on the role of Wahhabis in promoting intolerance against other muslims and non-muslims. yes, that;s right, not all Muslims subscribe to this ideology: nationalreview.com/interrogatory/interrogatory111802-dot-a-s-p While I don't agree with all these views, I will support them for confronting the terrorist ideology. You may have to learn a little more about Islam and even a bit of Arabic to fully understand this! virtualreligio.net/vri/islam3.html wheeloftheyear-dot-com/2006/sufimuslim.htm sufistic-dot-red-sulphur.org zaytuna-dot-org/index.asp israinternational.com/ muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php windsofchange.net/archives/cat_features_sufi_wisdom.php

Next, there are Muslims who are very critical of groups like CAIR who endlessly easily offended. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/editorial/15401769.htm then there are some groups abroad that should be noted and supported. Here is one in Egypt, called "Kifaya" or "Enough". Images of a recent demonstration by women in Cairo against sexual assualt: http://www.harakamasria.org/node/8374 Rang-a-Rang in Virginia provides a lot of Persian language programming that is hardly endorsing the regime in Iran, if anything, it's regime-change! Rangaragtv-dot-com If you don't know Farsi, then learn some!! www.easypersian.com

Submitting....

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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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