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The reinventing of Islam

Reader comment on item: Combating the Ideology of Radical Islam

Submitted by Daniel Kayes Thomson (United States), Apr 16, 2003 at 11:42

Greetings, Mr. Pipes and Mr. Fuller

Very well thought out and expressed article. I'd like to add some thoughts, if I may:

It seems that these days, we Americans feel a need to put a nifty handle on ideas and positions, and like to invent new terminology to best express our feelings on issues which affect us. This is how I view the use of the term "Islamism".

"Islamism" had to be described by Mr. Pipes and Mr. Fuller, because it isn't a part of mainstream thinking... yet. It certainly isn't a name I ever heard before 9/11, and I am a middle east scholar. I wonder if "Islamism" is how those who embrace radical, terrorist Islam would identify themselves? More likely, this name has been coined to define an outsider's critical point of view.

To me, the argument is much simpler. When it comes to combating the ideology of radical islam, it is important to ask the question, "What is the source of this ideology?" After all, isn't going after the source of terrorism what our government is supposed to be doing? Explaining the origins of terrorist ideology using simple platitudes describing learned and inherited behavior, western oppression and dominance do not cut it. The ideas have originated somewhere else.

Although we want desperately to redefine what "good" Islam and "bad" Islam is, the fact of the matter is that the source is still, as Mr. Fuller pointed out, the Qur'an and Hadiths. As long as these writings are accepted as legitimate expressions of Islam, then they will always attract some followers who believe what they say and will carry out the atrocities which they instruct.

Ali Sina, a former muslim, summarizes (with references) what the Qur'an alone teaches:

"The Qur'an tells Muslims that if unbelievers are Christians or Jews, to humiliate them and impose on them a penalty tax (Qur'an 9:29), to fight with them, (Qur'an 8:65), to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (Qur'an 2:191), to slay them (Qur'an 9:5), to murder them or to treat them harshly (Qur'an 9:123). Qur'an disallows the freedom of opposing beliefs from all humanity and tells clearly that no other religion except Islam is acceptable or tolerated (Qur'an 3:85). It relegates those who disbelieve in Qur'an to hell (Qur'an 5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (Qur'an 9:28). It orders its followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (Qur'an 2:193). It says that the non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling, putrid water (Qur'an 14:15-17). It instructs Muslims to slay by crucifixion or cut the hands and feet off of the unbelievers (Qur'an 5:33), so that they will be expelled from the land with disgrace and that 'they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter' (Qur'an 5:34). 'As for the disbelievers', it says that 'for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods' (Qur'an 22:8,9). Qur'an prohibits a Muslim to befriend a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (Qur'an 9:23), (Qur'an 3:28). Qur'an instructs the Muslims to 'strive against the unbelievers with great endeavor' (Qur'an 25:52), 'be stern with them because they belong to hell' (Qur'an 66:9). The holy Prophet demanded his follower to 'strike off the heads of the disbelievers' (Qur'an 8:12); then after making a 'wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives' (Qur'an 47:4). As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge (beat) them if they are found disobedient (Qur'an 4:34). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (Qur'an 66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women and must dominate them (Qur'an 2:228). It not only denies the women's equal right to their inheritance (Qur'an 4:11), it also regards them as imbeciles (detailing their inabilty to think correctly) and decrees that it takes two women witnesses to equal one man's witness in court (Qur'an 2:282). Since charges cannot be brought against a man unless two men bring the charge, this means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce either: two male witnesses, or a male witness and two women. Muhammad allowed the Muslims to marry up to four wives and gave them license to sleep with their slave maids and as many 'captive' women as they may have (Qur'an 4:3), even if those 'captive women' are already married (Qur'an 4:24). He himself did just that."

As long as the Qur'an and the Hadiths are the basis of this religion, then I have to say that it is not muslims who are the enemy, but the writings themselves. If one was to take away the writings of Islam, and you have no Islam... in any form.

I believe that G-d (not the allah described in the Qur'an) is both an elitist and an egalitarianist. The Jewish Bible says that some ideas are clearly right... and some ideas are clearly wrong. Some ideologies should be accepted and others rejected. That's elitism regarding truth. It also says that all men are created in the image of their Creator and can all equally love and serve Him, coming to him the same way, whether you are a king or a peasant. That's egalitarianism regarding people.

On the other hand, the world's view of elitism and egalitarianism is 180 degrees opposite. "Modern" thought wants us to believe that all ideas have equal value and should be accepted by all tolerant people. This is egalitarianism regarding ideas. If, however, you should disagree with this all accepting ideological view, you are deemed by the cultural elite to be intolerant, a bigot, a backward thinking and dangerous person. This relegates anyone who has a dissenting viewpoint to being the lowest kind of individual that there is... in other words, this is snobbish elitism regarding people.

I for one, want to go on record stating that Judaism does claim to be exclusively true, just like Islam does. However, the difference, and it is enormous, is that Judaism allows people to differ in their opinions without going after them with the sword to demand that they change or die. Islam as defined in the Qur'an does not allow people to dissent and live, and the stated aim of Islam, as stated in the Qur'an, is the world wide takeover of all non-islamic territories, using deception, harshness, and relentless pursuit - Qur'an, Sura 4, verse 78 "WHEREVER YOU ARE, DEATH WILL FIND YOU OUT, EVEN IF YOU ARE IN TOWERS BUILT UP STRONG AND HIGH!"

If we ignore this now, then Islam will be beating down our door for the rest of time.

Food for thought.

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 (86) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
why not [41 words]jack steenbargerApr 21, 2010 21:13171548
RADICAL ISLAM FROM A SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE [161 words]R .WOODDec 17, 2009 08:11165962
ignorenace is a harmful wapon [231 words]NoraFeb 18, 2009 20:04150755
Naivete [98 words]KnaveDec 19, 2009 16:12150755
jihad is a holy WAR [238 words]waterguessenDec 19, 2008 22:47145466
199.999999% muslims are islamics [67 words]Mohd suhelAug 19, 2008 05:51137005
Radical Islamists or Cultists? [239 words]MaudiAug 6, 2008 07:31136349
4Take the fight, on to the street. [40 words]Matthew HaysomMay 28, 2008 10:57130319
Wrong is wrong and right is right [295 words]AntiworldlyOct 18, 2009 17:32130319
Check your facts [237 words]ConfusedNov 22, 2010 23:31130319
7How do I fight back against radical Islam [105 words]David H McLeishJan 6, 2008 17:48117605
By searching for truth! [754 words]PDMJan 6, 2008 20:18117605
Dear Sir David H McLeish [180 words]YnnatchkahJan 6, 2008 21:32117605
Semper Fidelis.... [153 words]donvanJan 7, 2008 10:42117605
What can I do [413 words]blackmanApr 2, 2008 18:37117605
Speak out Against Radical Islam--Don't Bow to Terror [147 words]51 year old, 115-lb. woman who'd like to beat down a radical extremist before I dieSep 10, 2014 20:31117605
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1Combating Islamism [22 words]Clifford IshiiMay 29, 2005 14:1222467
A Nation of optimism [65 words]Tom KunzieJul 25, 2006 22:5922467
The failure of the American-Islamic discourse [268 words]Ibn FilastinApr 30, 2005 22:3521907
What? [335 words]MaudiAug 6, 2008 08:4521907
1Islamic justification of violence [200 words]Henry RebelloDec 4, 2004 05:2518851
2The real face of Islam [186 words]John D'souzaDec 4, 2004 05:1218850
wrong conclusions about islam [96 words]Marwan TawashiFeb 3, 2007 15:2218850
a challenge to muslims - stop deluding yourselves [121 words]basilJun 27, 2009 15:3518850
Very true statements [34 words]Too late to bickerOct 18, 2009 18:0418850
Two dangerous ideas [584 words]David IseckeApr 19, 2003 01:498461
Philosophy of Islam [94 words]DonApr 18, 2003 17:038456
Moderate Islamist [158 words]daneApr 17, 2003 17:348436
Clashes of Interest? [181 words]Matt MurrayApr 16, 2003 17:328408
3The reinventing of Islam [1147 words]Daniel Kayes ThomsonApr 16, 2003 11:428396
2Brave and correct Rabbi Daniel Kayes Thomson [17 words]ELIJAH HA NAVIJul 19, 2006 16:438396
Bismillah. Take a Look [222 words]Faheem MunirDec 17, 2006 00:588396
1Moderate Islamists? [65 words]Neil LewisApr 15, 2003 22:528382
Islamism [66 words]Muhammad SiddiquiApr 15, 2003 17:228378
Vilification of Islamism [123 words]Don Van SICKLEApr 15, 2003 12:298374
Fighting Islamist Ideology (read Sayyid Qutb) [189 words]JonApr 15, 2003 10:558371
Rough road ahead fellows [178 words]Peter YorkoskiFeb 21, 2007 01:468371
What about Muhammad and the Quran? [142 words]Rick FlandersApr 15, 2003 02:268365
Rethink "Moderates" [235 words]BoycatApr 15, 2003 00:528364
Stop thinking like westerners [285 words]Peter YorkoskiFeb 21, 2007 02:268364
CAIR and the ACLU. Enough said. [127 words]KeithApr 14, 2003 22:328363
CAIR [146 words]Marwan TawashiFeb 4, 2007 04:318363
"Moderate?" [35 words]p eApr 14, 2003 21:138362
The real enemy is change [209 words]Dennis CashenApr 14, 2003 18:008358
1Democracy not always best solution [109 words]Syd VeritaskApr 14, 2003 15:068357
3Democracy: Government with limited power [92 words]Stephen BermanApr 14, 2003 14:008353
Islamists may "fail" but they don't willingly unelect themselves. [199 words]Matthew KennelApr 14, 2003 13:598352
Islam is indeed the problem. [38 words]Emmanuel GoldsteinApr 14, 2003 13:358350
You may fight but we will win [34 words]PatzDec 4, 2007 23:388350
MODERATE ISLAM [128 words]WHIPSep 22, 2009 16:508350
The moderates need to speak up a little louder! [170 words]fenixApr 14, 2003 13:298348
Democracy & Islamists [310 words]Glenn KlotzApr 14, 2003 13:068347
It'll never work... [124 words]MarkApr 14, 2003 12:208346
Democracy is the Key [94 words]Susan BradfordApr 14, 2003 09:108344
Internal discontinuity [52 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Zach AllenApr 14, 2003 09:038343
Saudi Arabia self-described Islamist State [50 words]Ron FoxApr 14, 2003 07:428341
Democracy vs Liberty and Islamism [299 words]Gordon MullingsApr 14, 2003 07:188340
Co-authors disagree [186 words]JMHApr 13, 2003 22:418334
ISLAM IS NOT THE ENEMY? [246 words]Mike DavisApr 13, 2003 22:368333
Christian,Muslim? [103 words]AmalJan 12, 2007 12:188333
The gap between our interests [150 words]Lenn ChowApr 13, 2003 18:518330
In agreement with Pipes [56 words]Etta HellerApr 13, 2003 14:298327
Does Moderate Islam Really Exist? [130 words]Richard RheinerApr 13, 2003 13:478325
Moderates have a big problem [88 words]PaladinDec 22, 2009 22:588325
Holes in arguments [937 words]John Vander VoortApr 13, 2003 06:278315
Staggering!!! [93 words]MontyApr 13, 2003 03:508313
Understanding Islamism, Effects on American Policy [725 words]Yirmeyahu Ben-DavidApr 13, 2003 03:068309
Illiberal Civil Society? [134 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Anthony ChaseApr 13, 2003 01:428307
Personal view [164 words]E. J. BlumbergApr 13, 2003 01:048306
The battle is between...? [77 words]Stephan DedalusApr 13, 2003 00:188305
New Islam Movement [2596 words]ZoyaApr 13, 2003 00:098304
re: New Islam Movement [67 words]Mustafa McPhersonSep 4, 2007 18:588304
Need to be explicit [151 words]Boris FrenkelApr 12, 2003 23:078300
Source of the Problem [358 words]Wiilliam James BonnesarApr 12, 2003 21:548299
Another Consideration [22 words]Mack PayneDec 21, 2010 10:548299
Refresh Your Thoughts [17 words]Mack PfayneFeb 5, 2011 15:168299
Two dangerous ideas [584 words]David IseckeApr 12, 2003 21:478297
elections [29 words]Al GreenApr 12, 2003 21:418296
militant theology & militant theocrats [69 words]MPaul HansenApr 12, 2003 20:488295
The Core of the Matter [404 words]C.C. CouringtonApr 12, 2003 20:048294
Moderate Islamists, an Oxymoron [188 words]Jan David RomanoffApr 12, 2003 20:038293
1I'm with "Will of Allah" [171 words]ClarkyMay 16, 2008 10:518293
Radical or moderate Islamic Muslims? [158 words]HelenJun 21, 2008 17:298293
Will of Allah [563 words]Charles OrenApr 12, 2003 17:398291

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