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Propaganda?

Reader comment on item: Those Danish Cartoons and Me
in response to reader comment: to Chris G and his propoganda

Submitted by Chris G. (United States), Jun 30, 2007 at 12:28

Mr. As, you are correct about zero. That is a mistake on my part for misreading wikipedia (my source for that particular piece of "propaganda"). See, it's not hard for me to admit that I made a factual error. Some things are easy to refute. Other things are not so easy. I'm glad that you refuted me about that number zero. That's a start. However to say that Islam had nothing to do with science is very misleading. These scientists I mentioned lived in Islamic societies ruled under Shariat Law and yet they were praised for their knowledge and learning. Greek philosophy and the study of Greek logic was once an important aspect in Islamic studies beginning in the late 7th century.

Now what else? Sufism is Persian? Really? So you're saying that the first Muslims who practiced aspects of Sufism such as Uwais al-Qarni (a "Taabi'een"- successors of the Sahaba), were Persian? What about the great female Sufi mystic Rabia Al-Basri. Did you know that even the primary Salafi/wahhabi scholar Ibn Tammiyah studied Sufism? Granted he didn't exactly embrace it but he did write quite a bit about the importance of "Islah al-Batin" (purification of the heart or nafs). This is one of the areas in which I have dialog with wahhabi extremists who are ignorant of this essential part of Islam which is a big reason why you see so much brutality by Islamic extremists done in the name of Islam.

By the way, you throw around terms like Babylonian and Persian however what historical periods are you referring to? That's like insisting that Iraqis today are not Arab, but are actually Babylonian since most of Iraq today was ruled by the Babylonian Empire. Likewise, while it is true that the Persian Sufi scholars were tremendously important in the development of Sufism (such as Al-Ghazali), they were first and foremost Islamic scholars. The concepts of Tasawwuf have always had a huge impact on the interpretation of Islam. When you look at Islamic history and study the peaks of their empires, you will find Sufism usually to be especially popular during those periods. That is not by coincidence.

Now with all that said, my good man, you seriously misjudge me. You are very quick to make assumptions about others while ignoring data that is contrary to your assumptions which you then solidify into belief. I am not here to defend Islam as some perfect religion and one which should rule us all. If you remember, I am a Deist. I do not believe in organized religion but only study and respect that which is wise and good in all religions including Islam.

I am also a fervent opponent of radicalism and militancy in any religion. My methods of nullifying such extremism however are not violent.

I happen to specialize more in Islam because of my research in peace and conflict. My methods of alternative methods of counter-terrorism (using traditional Islamic theology to combat Al-Qaeda type extremist ideologies) could change radically if my research data indicated that these methods were not working within target populations or if rapidly evolving events in the world suddenly changed for the worse and basically nullified any positive effects of what I am doing. Part of my programs for combating terrorism is that the organizations using my methods must be highly flexible and able to adapt to rapid shifts in world (and regional) events. It also calls for targeted experimental programs in order to try new programs before committing them to larger national policy.

Please do not think for a minute that I have not thought of worst case scenarios and looked at contingency strategies in such cases. The difference between you and I is that I do not allow myself to be ruled by fear, hatred, and ignorance. I do not cheer for our enemies. However I am willing to do my utmost to understand them as human beings in order to understand the root causes of their terrorist beliefs including those that stem from their religion, culture, politics, education level, economics, etc...

From there I look at how accurate their religious motivations are theologically and whether there are any strong traditional theological counter-arguments. With such counter-arguments I seek to nullify the very core root of their belief systems using the mass media (mainly the internet).

Your idea of simply fighting Islam with fundamentalist Christianity is insane. You will replace one extremist religion with another and you openly said that you are not against practicing genocide. My friend, religions change gradually. They do not change overnight. With the right guidance and knowledge of Islam, that religion can be guided into one that is harmless to us. If radicalism begins to gain serious footing (as it has in European nations) it must be dealt with by people who are trained in how to identify such radicals.

Deportation of foreign Islamic extremist agitators is the easiest method. However American Muslim citizens who are radicalized remain a danger and a legal problem. That may require very delicate modifications of laws that allow for citizenship to be stripped so that they can be deported. This eliminates the problem of such individuals while not causing intense media controversy that imprisoning them would cause. However the constitutionality of that issue would be delicate.

Regardless, I do not see Islam ever being a dominant religion in America or nearly as strong as it is in many European countries. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of immigration into America comes from Latin American Catholic immigrants. In Europe on the other hand, the vast majority of their immigrants come from Islamic nations in the Middle East, SW Asia, and North Africa.

At any rate, if you don't want to listen to logic and new ideas and you really think that I am a danger to America then all I ask is that you simply make a rational argument against what I'm saying. All you have been doing is likening Muslims to Nazis and using other such emotional based arguments. You also still have not listed your credentials as an expert on Islam nor have I seen any evidence that you have done any more research into Islam other then repeating stuff from neoconservative anti-Islamic websites ...

Such sites are basically championing Al-Qaeda style Islamic ideology as representing the true Islam to the utter happiness of Al-Qaeda inspired terrorists all over the world. I hope this will change and emphasis will shift towards de-legitimizing such extremist interpretations of Islam on sites such as this one. I am not saying to lower our guard or to not take all possible precautions against terrorist attacks. I am saying that we need think outside the box and develop new clever strategies for winning the war on terror and creating peace in the Middle East.

At any rate, my one salvation from our discussions is that in the process I learn more about the thought processes of individuals such as yourself. This is important for me as well if I hope to convince neoconservatives to adopt all or some of the methods of counter-terrorism that I am advocating.

Salam/Shalom

Chris G.

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