To Plato - We actually can disagree?
Submitted by Michel (United States), Feb 15, 2007 at 19:13
Thanks for your response, Plato.
As I have seen, this site tends to scramble some of the longer postings. Your's were victimized at times to the extent of barely being understandable. I recommend, that you copy the text of a post you intend to reply to, to Microsoft Word for instance, then work the whole thing there, and then copy/paste your finished, formatted submission back to the window they provide. Allows also for some parallel internet research and definitely produces less scrambling.
Yes that Michel-Plato alter-ego crack did amuse me too. And no, I did not get offended at all.
You are too generous – no question - your level of knowledge about Islam exceeds mine by a mile.
Now about the Iran question. I don't think Iran is a big problem. It has a working democracy, no where near the American variety, but a working one nonetheless. It is heir to a fabulous culture. That culture is of course looking a bit tattered because of the Islamic veneer. Historically, democracies even shadow democracies like Iran, are not known to go to war or attack without provocation. One of the nice historical facts is that democracies do not fight each other and when there is a war between a democracy and a dictatorship the undemocratic country invariably loses. The Iranians also learned that lesson two millenia ago at Thermopylae.
Whoa – for once we seem to disagree. I do not see anything which leads me to believe that this is a working democracy. Quite on the contrary and with a caste of radical fundamentalists in government who up to this day proclaim loudly that Israel must be wiped off the map. They are proving their objectives on a daily basis with massive support for Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as other such organizations. This time I see no fluke, as far as our intelligence to that matter is concerned..:-).
Nuclear technology in the hands of this fanatic government seems to be a clear and present danger, since they have yet to prove their peaceful intentions, as for instance accept Israel's right to exist. Their steadfast progress towards acquiring the technology can in my mind not lead to anything but a "pre-emptive" strike by the IDF. Having learned though from the Iraki experience, these facilities are laid out in a way which would not leave room for Israel to entertain any conventional strike. Furthermore, the USA are currently experiencing another turn around towards isolationism and hence I doubt that any future (most likely democratic) administration would have the courage to engage in a massive war with conventional means ( invasion). People here are fatigued and even a needed follow through in Irak seems less and less realistic. 20k troops, a drop in a lake, results in endless congressional debates, so you may imagine, how realistic a needed presence of addtional 200k would be, in order to put down the insurgenxcy once and for all.
UN sanctions in the meantime have proven to be rather ineffective, especially the fact considered, that the Iranian Oil will readily be gobbled up by the emerging industrial powers, such as India or China, hence provide IRAN with needed cash flow in abundance. Europe's higher dependency on middle east oil , higher level of appeasement, and a prevalent anti-American current may further enable if not empower Iran to pursue its objective to obtain nuclear weaponry within a short time frame.
A surprising bit of news I read says that only about 75 per cent of Iranians are serious about religion (I am unable to remember where and when I read that). But you will be happy to read the one below:
82% of the Latin American respondents said they were religious, compared to 79% in the Middle East. Seven out of ten, or 73%, residents of North America consider themselves religious, 25% - nonreligious (25%), and only 1% - atheists. (http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=19525&sec=74&cont=7)
Quite, actually one of the links within my last article submitted, points to similar statistics. I further recommend to click the link to the definition of Jihad, where I for the first time saw an intelligent answer by a Muslim scholar regarding the interpretation of it in today's world. According to him, it does not necessarily mean the literal violent war between cultures, Islam vs. Infidels, but can be interpreted as some form of internal struggle. Quite interesting and definitely another reason for hope. I would be much interested in your opinion to this gents interpretation, as you know more about ISLAM and the teachings.
Not that even with the Arabs factored in the ME has only 79% serious believers. And i am willing to bet that Iranian report was essentially correct. I have met several Iranians who seem to be very lackadiasical about Islam, this is just anecdotal evidence not anything scientific.
I would take above numbers even a step further, as I truly agree that there are various levels of "being religious".
According to your category above, I'd be one of the 79%.
Yet, if taking a closer look, how many of these people read the Bible every day? How many can quote it to the level of a scholar? How many of those do more than just go to Church on Sundays? How many even go every week? I'd dare to offer that less than 50% of the above category go to church every single week. Stay tuned, I will try to find out, if there is deeper statistical data to the matter published.
As far as Islam is concerned, most experts, even with a moderate view, seem to agree on the fact that Religion has a higher priority in the lives of Muslims than for instance in ours. I still believe though that within that segment especially here in the US, you will also find a significant amount of Muslims, who are" lackadaisical" l, to use your expression.
I am sure you agree, that these are the ones we should be focusing on. The ones we need to include. The ones we should support to become prominent voices from within. The ones we would do a terrible injustice, if banned, or deported.
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".
Reader comments (2108) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes