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You're so busy being silly, you still haven't refuted my argument

Reader comment on item: "Islam" Does Not Mean "Peace"
in response to reader comment: So Islam really means peace? really?

Submitted by Angela Class (United States), Jun 10, 2007 at 20:43

There had already been a thorough discussion of the word roots in question.

That is a matter of of opinion, and not fact, creating some disagreement.

So your comments added nothing to the discussion. and therefore I did not address them directly.

This is not a question of grammar as you suggest. It is a question of etymology.

Certainly there are recognized cognates in related languages of the region, such as the Hebrew "Shalom" (note the S-L-M construction) which also mean "Peace", among several other meanings. To suggest that words in Arabic do not also frequently have several alternative, and often seemingly unrelated meanings, arising from cultural derivations regardless of word roots, is to evidence either a lack of familiarity with, or intentional obtrusiveness on this subject.

You have not refuted my argument that the meaning is derived from a linguistic metaphor that is frequently referred to in the mystic literature of Islam, widely recognized among educated Muslims, and predates the present discussion by over a thousand years.

As a matter of fact, this usage of that word has been brought up and explained to me by native Arabic speakers and Linguistics professors. I wouldn't have ever thought to tell them it's meaning, so they would have no need to "humor" me as you suggest.

The fact that "Islamist" governments have behaved badly doesn't change the fact that the word "Islam" has the meaning of "peace" to many Muslims. Mohammed taught peace as his primary message. The power of that message has been commandeered to the use of totalitarian ideologies and removed from it's cultural, and historical context in order to manipulate meaning and thought to create a vehicle for the infiltration into the culture by totalitarian elements bent on obtaining political control of the people.

That's the essence of fundamentalism in a nutshell. It is always the servant of tyrants and oppressors.

That's the only value its serves.

What you point out is a good example of how religion has been pressed into service for imperialist political ends by tyrants throughout the history of Mankind.

Not all Muslims are evil imperialists. Some, but not all, and not merely by virtue of their being Muslim.

The Crusaders invaded the Holy Land using the name and cross of Christ as their banner.

An action that Christ himself would have abhorred. That didn't change the meaning and message of Jesus, a message of love and peace of transcendant value. Not all Christians are evil imperialists, either. Certainly not merely by virtue of their being Christians. Having ancestors who experienced this very kind of pseudo-religious political oppression, I would think you would be painfully aware of the very real difference.

Apparently you are an example of how politeness as a cultural value doesn't necessarily reach every individual. In case you didn't know , Americans are offended by the suggestion that disagreeing with someone makes them mentally ill. In a culture that values free speech, this is an important consideration. Certainly it's juvenile, and not considered funny or clever at all.

I would have expected someone with the personal history you describe to take this discussion far more seriously.

To translate; It's considered very rude to suggest that someone is "crazy" because they don't agree with you. While I, like any reasonable person, regret the sad and horrible events of history that you refer to, I lay the responsibility for those events at the feet of fascism, not Islam.

The people who have used it such are "Islamists", not Muslims.

It would be nice if it were all that simple. Unfortunately, real life is far more complex than childlike wishes for simplicity and clarity. The thin veneer of religiosity adopted like a mask by such regimes should not fool anyone. To know the true name of our enemy is an important step toward vanquishing them.

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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