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Ummah divided

Reader comment on item: Europe's Stark Options

Submitted by LW (Finland), Mar 8, 2007 at 10:47

European Muslims aren't the monolithic block that some assume. Islamists are a very significant part, but there are others, integrated and/or secularized to various degrees. Right now this doesn't matter at all, as Muslim moderates and liberals play no part in politics. I see at least four reasons for this:

1) For Mr. Average, Muslim or native, all this is a total non-issue right now. He does his job, feeds his family and pays relatively little attention to things which don't affect his everyday life.

2) Islamists have precisely zero scruples using intimidation, violence and murder to silence their enemies. And the only thing that human being hates more than his enemy, is a traitor. It takes some real guts for a Muslim to take a stand against jihadis, especially when his government concentrates on appeasing them.

3) Multiculturalism and nativism both posit an ethnic identity, making it far harder for immigrant to become an European than American. In addition, leftists have propagated a delusional worldview where nasty white people constantly oppress everyone else. There is just enough truth in this to make it somewhat believable. Now, you don't fight your own people for the oppressor even if you loathe some of your own, do you?

4) Islamism is entirely legitimate interpretation of Islam, internally coherent and thoroughly grounded in holy texts. On the other hand, even though there are liberal Muslims, there is no liberal Islam. As long as there is no such thing, Western-minded Muslims will always be at disadvantage in theological arguments with fanatics, who can posture as better Muslims and win not a little sympathy from many moderates.

Issue 1 will change automatically, others depending on how various factions play their hands. If nationalist parties succeed in pushing governments to take a stand for fundamental Western values, if they accept as one of them the Muslims who support those, and if someone finally creates Islamic doctrine fit for modern world, I predict that the illusory unity of ummah will shatter, as it has so many times before. Lots of ifs, of course.

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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