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Moderate Islam

Reader comment on item: Daniel Pipes fights the worldwide threat of Islamism - from Malibu
in response to reader comment: Last line

Submitted by Ian Campbell (United Kingdom), Mar 7, 2007 at 05:51

As Dr Pipes knows too well, the difficulty is being able to identify what is 'moderate Islam' and to harness it for the good of the world - and Islam itself. Edward Halper in his 'Last Line' comment rightly makes the point that Muslims need to experience 'the cultural space' in order to learn to practice moderation. This has never happened in Islam's history as far as I can tell so even 'moderate Islam' has no perception of what it is it has to do. Hence the clash that is now happening as Muslims spread among non-Muslims and a few do terrible things, but claely with a larger intent.

In the west we have to face Sharia law as practiced in apparently legitimate states who have an interest in both being a friend to/of the west but on the other hand require us to support and maintain them (directly with grant or indirectly with commerce) while they are governed by what is an increasingly illegitimate form of government .e.g Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt.

If we are to successfully argue for the space required for moderate Islam to flourish we must argue against such states' form of government in order to be able to to deny the unacceptable states e.g. Iran, Syria and 'Hamastan' legitimacy.

We hold back because we fear (radical) Islamist governments replacing them. But we must allow this to happen, providing they eschew violence and non-democratic means once in power, as part of the process of Islam moderating itself. Hamas argues that it has democratic legitimacy, but in a truly democratic environment a party that espouses violence as its means to its ends cannot be regarded as having a truly democratic intent. It should therefore not be permitted to participate in the democratic process and has only done so because of the vaccum that is the Israel/Palestine problem.

Until we have a state that is run by a radical Islamist party, on these terms, Islam will not begin to moderate itself.

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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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