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Unconstructive comments in reply to young muslim!!

Reader comment on item: Militant Islam's New Strongholds

Submitted by Trevor Stanley (Australia), Mar 15, 2003 at 17:11

I was just reading some of the comments in response to the "Young American Muslim Adolescent".

The muslim world is currently facing a crisis in parallel with the crisis faced by the west. The west's crisis is that a disciplined, ruthless, multinational terrorist organisation, which has spent the past decade infiltrating networks into our communities, is trying to kill us, and there is very little we can do about it which will bring immediate results. Many people are trying to find easy ways out.

Many on the left say that if we only stop doing all the terrible things we've supposedly been doing, or perhaps redistribute the world's wealth, everything will be ok again. In Australia, leftists have claimed that the Bali bombings were retribution for Australia's alliance with America against Iraq. These commentators have made no attempt to explain why a French tanker was bombed by al Qaeda, or why the 11th September agents were not impoverished by the west, but on the contrary enriched by it. On the other hand, many in the west seem to think that concluding that Islam itself is the enemy, is the answer. I must say I have at times been surprised at the number of muslim 'intellectuals' who have followed the same pattern of the western left-intellectuals - they have denounced the terrorist attacks in a short paragraph then spent the rest of their article or sermon railing against the west. However, I have a number of muslim friends and acquaintances whom I know are shocked by the actions of al Qaeda, and ashamed that these actions are being associated with their religion. None of them has in any way indicated that they thought the US 'had it coming'.

This brings me to the crisis for muslims. Unbeknownst to many in the west, the muslim world is engaged in a protracted struggle between moderates and radical islamists. As the islamists are religious fanatics, they tend to 'punch above their weight'. The moderates are like you and me - they vote the way they believe, but most are not actively involved in politics. The radicals, on the other hand, believe that they must struggle relentlessly for sharia law, that every moment of idleness is a sin against Allah. Is it any wonder that their voices are heard more often than those of the moderates? For most people in the muslim world, this is like being a German in 1935. There's this crowd of belligerant fanatics committing the most atrocious acts in your name - and there is nothing much you can do about it. Keep in mind that the militant islamists often attack their fellow muslims for being 'apostates' (ie straying from the path). This is a very old battle which we in the west have only just woken up to, despite the fact that Osama bin Laden has been trying to pick a fight with us since 1991. Most Australians are still unaware that in the weeks before and after the Bali bombings, there was also a string of about a dozen terrorist bombings in the Philippines.

Essentially, this division in the muslim world is a huge advantage for us in the west. Great news: we are not alone against a billion muslims. In fact, we are helping the muslim world to clean up its extremists. So where are all the moderate muslims? They do exist. In fact, Salih bin Muhammad al-Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia, issued a sharia ruling on the 14th of September 2001 in which he unequivocally condemned the 11th September attacks. An excerpt: "Viewing what happened to the Twin Towers was like watching Doomsday. Those who commit such crimes are the worst of people. Anyone who thinks that any Islamic scholar will condone such acts is totally wrong. Aggression, injustice and gloating over the kind of crime that we have seen are totally unacceptable and forbidden in Islam." I have other examples, but do not have time to find them and type them in at present. Many of them are directed at the muslim community, where they will do the most good. You should also remember that unlike, say, the Catholic Church, the Muslim faith does not have a single, universally recognised hierarchy. There are quite a number of maverick 'religious scholars' out there who are about as representative of Islam as the guy standing on the corner shouting "The world will end on tuesday unless you embrace Christ" is of Christianity.

The media also plays a role here. The headline "Sheikh declares US Satan Reaping Wrath of Allah" sells a lot more papers than "Recognised Saudi scholars reiterate that killing civilians is wrong". It doesn't matter whether the papers point out that various councils of islamic law have declared that the Nutty Sheikh has no actual standing or authority to make such claims, because that qualification doesn't really register in the same way as the 'seas of blood' rhetoric does. Keep in mind that in Indonesia, which is often touted as "The biggest muslim country in the world", Sharia-Islamist parties struggle to retain 4% of the vote. Most of the unrest in that country is the product of the tension between moderates and militants described above.

The last thing I want to comment on is the claim that Islam is a violent religion. Yes, people like the Ayatollah Khomeini said that the Koran commands muslims to be violent. In much the same way, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan says the Bible commands us to incinerate people who are 'the wrong colour' - most unchristian! On the other hand, the standard muslim greeting, Salaam Aleikum, means "peace be upon you". And in case you hadn't noticed, the Iranian Republic is not too popular with its people these days! The argument about whether the Koran tells people to be violent has been played out time and again, pointlessly. I just opened up the King James Bible. The first thing I saw was "The punishments upon disobedience", in Deuteronomy 28 - my eyes came to rest on the words "Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, on all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me." (It continues in this way for another three pages). What a charming fellow the Lord is, eh? Hmm... on that topic, "the law of blasphemy" is listed under Leviticus 24. It involves "the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian", so the naive reader could conclude that this passage is directed at jews and/or modern-day Egyptians. "And The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp, and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him. [...] And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him [...] And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death [...mandatory capital punishment for manslaughter? ...] And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses."

So there we have it. A spot of Christian sharia law, straight from the Old Testament, which Christianity inherited from the Jews. I'm glad I'm typing this over the internet, rather than saying it face-to-face, because I'd have been stoned halfway through the previous paragraph, right?

Any book of divine writing, be it the Bible, the Koran, or whatever, can be read a number of different ways. If you want to read it as a justification for acts which can only be reasonably construed as evil, you can do that with any such book. If you are a decent person, you can find ample inspiration for moral development from the same book. How do you expect a moderate muslim to describe the Koran? "Oh, well, yes, it does have some bits about stoning people, but most muslims ignore those bits"...? The only reasonable alternatives are (a) state that the Koran is a book of peace (which for moderate muslims it is), or (b) renounce one's faith.

Grabbing a copy of the Koran and rifling through it for juicy jihad bits will not help you understand Islam!

If you're not sure how to bolster moderate muslims, I think it's fair to say that telling someone that they are wrong to believe their religion is peaceful, and that you think it should be 'straightened out' by the application of external force is probably not the way to go about it.

I'm not just saying this to be argumentative. I really do want this problem sorted out in the shortest time possible (which is probably at least 20 years) because I don't like people being blown to bits, especially when those people could include me and my loved ones! The only way we can do this is if moderate muslims and the west work together against militant islamists, rather than playing into Osama's hands by denying moderates the opportunity to work with us.

Yes, there are major barriers between muslim and non-muslim cultures. It will take a lot of time for mutual understanding to develop. I've certainly done a lot of reading, discussing and thinking over the past two years. I think it's worth the effort though.

Trevor Stanley.
Perspectives on World History and Current Events.
http://geocities.com/pwhce/
[The quotes from the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council Chairman come from Rubin and Rubin, "Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader", page 305. That section, "Middle East Reaction to September 11", contains unqualified condemnation of the terrorists from pages 301-315. Some of it is highly critical of many in the muslim world. It's definitely worth a read.]

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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Reader comments (95) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Militant islams new stronghols [273 words]PrashantMay 7, 2013 00:05205861
2is islam spread via the sword ? [170 words]Phil GreendMay 31, 2007 21:2195600
Kind and Violent Islam [92 words]Hassan AlaviJul 31, 2007 07:0895600
please read well [189 words]haniOct 9, 2007 08:1295600
A dramatic presentation of Daniel's point [311 words]David PaulSep 21, 2006 10:2456789
The pain of Hindu Bengalis [210 words]PBDec 24, 2005 05:3630486
Understanding [200 words]CovertOct 11, 2005 00:4126775
GET OVER IT! [150 words]I want to remain secretSep 26, 2005 03:0026302
Re: Sukanta Nag and Islam [169 words]A TAug 9, 2005 17:2324501
1Islam is being attacked for containing the truth [293 words]M.N HimedMay 18, 2005 20:2622162
Mr Himed is guilty of omission [172 words]J MettenbrinkApr 14, 2012 01:0622162
Response to commenter Mr. Bebek Das [168 words]Sukanta NagFeb 9, 2005 14:3420220
Bomb the Nuclear sites in Iran - Bomb the Heck out of Iraq - So that our soldiers can come home!! [223 words]Michael McKenzieDec 16, 2004 10:1119021
What strongholds? [67 words]OMAR THE LITERATENov 17, 2004 04:2518419
Kudos [323 words]JHRanger33Jul 21, 2004 16:1716031
Quotes relating historical incidents. [179 words]ShahJun 29, 2004 23:5515848
1The Current situation involving Muslims [142 words]Robbie J.Apr 16, 2004 13:1114733
bangladeshi hindu independence [81 words]s pFeb 8, 2004 09:1713809
Great! [27 words]RajendranFeb 9, 2010 09:0113809
merging bangladesh... [36 words]santonaJul 3, 2010 02:3513809
Dealing with the root of the problem:Saudi Arabia [244 words]Nov 30, 2003 08:2112385
MILTANT ISLAM HAS EXISTED SINCE THE TIME OF MOHAMMED. STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE EVIL IT PERPETRATES. [212 words]UNOWENNov 20, 2003 18:0712250
1Islamophobia - the New Apologists for Islam [324 words]Paul ClarkNov 15, 2003 03:3912191
is it ok britain invaded other countes for a 1000 years? [23 words]IsmailNov 16, 2006 14:3812191
I could not agree more [77 words]mikeNov 4, 2003 19:2412068
Bangladesh -- response to M Rashid [167 words]Sumana ChakmaNov 3, 2003 06:4912050
Mr. Pipes: Milistant Islam spreads in Latin America [457 words]Reneli in UtahSep 3, 2003 11:3410999
Some points to ponder regarding Islam [1077 words]Bhumi PutraApr 23, 2008 17:1410999
1Political Correctness [68 words]Bhumi PutraMay 4, 2008 16:0410999
1Some sources regarding "Some Points to Ponder..." [820 words]Bhumi PutraMay 6, 2008 15:3510999
We are NOT the creators of Al-Quaida and WOE be to us if we try to give some of Israel to Palestine! [45 words]KathreenMay 22, 2003 22:019188
MILITANT ISLAM'S NEW STRONGHOLD [201 words]C.VazquezMay 17, 2003 10:469111
The last remaining Colonialists [101 words]alfred sporerMay 6, 2003 21:028913
eminent domain? [151 words]Paul WilliamApr 3, 2003 21:088013
Bangladesh Eye-Opener [75 words]Kaafir SinghApr 1, 2003 03:067837
I think your very WRONG MR.KAAFIR SINGH [148 words]ikra rahmanOct 28, 2006 18:017837
Unconstructive comments in reply to young muslim!! [1669 words]Trevor StanleyMar 15, 2003 17:117292
Bangladesh [79 words]M RashidMar 4, 2003 12:467059
Thank God for Daniel Pipes [103 words]William SmithJan 28, 2003 19:056074
Militant Islam is not Islam [263 words]Gabriel GrossoJan 3, 2003 16:315460
Pakistan is the source; Saudi is just the Banker [244 words]Andrei LeonidovichDec 29, 2002 10:425283
Islamic Time Line Of Violent Events [176 words]SteveDec 13, 2002 16:054596
Hate and terror as a religious principle [214 words]A.J. RedlhammerDec 9, 2002 12:154493
Response to Tom Pensyl's comments: So disturbingly accurate [96 words]Mike, EuropeDec 4, 2002 14:224420
1Militant Islam is Everywhere! [175 words]Greg OfieshNov 13, 2002 16:123873
What will be America's foreign policy on Middle East when there is no need for oil? [108 words]Mariappan EddiahNov 11, 2002 03:393770
Response to young 'American' Muslim [95 words]J.ShearerNov 4, 2002 08:183583
To commenter Young American Muslim adolescent [36 words]John Gould, Jr.Oct 31, 2002 22:183463
What the hell are we doing? [243 words]ShuvaMar 15, 2006 23:493463
Quran References for commenter Adolescent Muslim [60 words]A. AhmedOct 31, 2002 14:103454
Response to A young American Muslim [90 words]Bob PolluchiOct 30, 2002 20:113438
We need more Daniel Pipes in this country [173 words]Bob in IllinoisOct 29, 2002 14:033387
Coming from a young American Muslim adolescent... [405 words]Rashad R AhmadOct 29, 2002 02:013366
1Deal with Saudi Arabia [143 words]Tom PensylOct 28, 2002 12:523357
You are a true hero. [59 words]R. FranciniOct 26, 2002 23:583324
Bigotry [75 words]Lynda ChristianOct 26, 2002 22:303323
Why haven't we heard from the "moderates?" [22 words]Dr. T.S. BrittonOct 25, 2002 14:593282
Keep on gettng the message out! [86 words]Barb GardeyOct 24, 2002 18:363254
Body politic needs surgery [51 words]MarkOct 24, 2002 16:583251
Utterly Disgusted [215 words]K AhmedOct 24, 2002 13:283246
Daniel in the Lion's Den [29 words]J.ShearerOct 24, 2002 06:593242
3Muslim immigrants are a grave threat to the West [393 words]Anup ChakmaOct 24, 2002 03:353241
Agree re islam and trojan horse [89 words]legionFeb 15, 2010 14:123241
islam is not a threat to west [91 words]mudassarApr 22, 2010 09:443241
Thank you Mr. Pipes [22 words]Larry in AZOct 23, 2002 22:333239
The difference between... [228 words]Jon WOct 23, 2002 18:453232
The World Must Wake Up to the Dangers [245 words]totalgracerOct 23, 2002 18:313231
2A Bengladeshi Hindu's "few comments" [1027 words]Bibek DasOct 23, 2002 17:013230
For 1400 years, Islam's goal has not changed [61 words]SidOct 23, 2002 15:293226
1Let's deal with Islam [737 words]Tom PensylOct 23, 2002 14:353220
Where are the moderate Muslim leaders? [374 words]Tom McCarthyOct 23, 2002 13:003216
"moderate Muslims are 50% Wahabi" [79 words]bulhitFeb 17, 2012 21:073216
Imagine 100 million Muslims living in the U.S. [231 words]N.A.Oct 23, 2002 12:313214
Are there two kinds of Islam--Militant and non-Militant? [23 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Dr. Durjoy ChowdhuryOct 23, 2002 11:583213
What are two kinds of Muslims? [7 words]Mumana AhmedJan 13, 2008 10:233213
Thank You Daniel Pipes [19 words]DanOct 23, 2002 10:083209
Great article- There really is an evil growing in this country....... [18 words]YacovOct 23, 2002 07:503207
What is the difference? [122 words]NTropyOct 23, 2002 04:563204
Comment on Quranic Verses [102 words]N. K.Oct 23, 2002 00:513202
Tackling Al-Qaeda Easily? [202 words]Hari IyerOct 22, 2002 20:533201
Tackling Islamists [94 words]Hari IyerOct 22, 2002 20:453200
Comment on Militant Islam's New... [125 words]
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Fred W. OserOct 22, 2002 19:103199
Thank You [103 words]Joyce WittOct 22, 2002 16:113198
War is against militant Islam, not Islam itself [186 words]Steve SingletonOct 22, 2002 15:123196
Global Jihad [25 words]Allan KayOct 22, 2002 13:213190
You are reading my mind! [276 words]GaryOct 22, 2002 13:143189
Excellent article! [142 words]LisaOct 22, 2002 13:083188
Thank you. [34 words]Muazzam GillOct 22, 2002 13:013187
Separation of Church and State. [83 words]Allen E. WiesenOct 22, 2002 12:073186
Not to sound like a bigot... [197 words]H.G.Oct 22, 2002 11:173183
Banning Conversions? [13 words]Suave RicoOct 22, 2002 11:033182
Imperial Islam [210 words]Arlinda M. DeAngelisOct 22, 2002 09:573180
Desperately needs some mainstream attention [42 words]Athena 1040Oct 22, 2002 09:513179
5The way to deal with Militant Islam [266 words]Haim BelisowskiOct 22, 2002 09:433177
Islam not peaceful [14 words]Charles K L JordanOct 22, 2002 08:413175

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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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