69 million page views

Reply to Plato- Thank you for having an open mind

Reader comment on item: Shoeless George Bush
in response to reader comment: To Chris G: Hopeful signs of cognitive dissonance among Muslims.

Submitted by Chris G, (United States), Aug 2, 2007 at 10:00

Thank you Plato for being able to see both sides of the issue. I know I already made a "last post" but I think its important that I post this reply. Believe it or not, but I actually took seriously the stuff Dhimmi no more, Pat, Ianus, Orange, and other posters were saying. It is helpful for me that they challenge me with many of the same arguments that Salafi/Wahhabi Muslims challenge me with because if I don't have all the answers or refutations, it forces me to do research to see if there are any refutations or answers to their attacks.

The main reason why it is a waste of my time posting here however is mainly because I do not have time to refute over 15 replies a day that require me to do some fairly hardcore research that can require several hours per reply. Some replies actually require me to consult with actual Islamic scholars and so can take days to get a reply. Instead I can be answering emails from individuals in the intelligence agencies and military and updating proposals that I'm sending out to various agencies, politicians, and military institutions.
Nevertheless, I think you really nailed the issue on the head.

As you said, Muslims are human beings. Despite their vastly different form of logic and rationale that is foreign to us, if we attempt to understand the context of their logic and how to alter that, we can begin to actually effect change in the Middle East. But it's a slow long-term project. What is so amusing is how several of the posters here are convinced that I'm some secret Muslim defending Islam or trying to convert them or something. I actually agree with you that there are indeed tons and tons of inconsistencies in the Qu'ran and Hadiths demonstrative of a man (Mohammad) who was constantly forgetting his earlier rulings and who was constantly changing his mind depending on the situation. In other words, he was quite clearly a typical human with typical human faults trying to convince a bunch of people that he was a prophet. Apparently he was successful. For his historical period, his behavior was nothing unusual for the most part even though today we see much of that as barbaric. Sadly because of the Islamic concept of following "Sunah" many Muslims believe that he sets the example of how to behave and live for all times.

Nevertheless, we can not change this overnight or by threats and humiliation. Such tactics tend to only strengthen religious movements and cause them to go underground. We can not force our "reality" upon them because it is as foreign to them as their Islamic based "reality" is foreign to us.

Change is a subtle movement that must be yearned for by Muslims and I think it is. It is up to us to understand that yearning, and then learn to manipulate that in a manner that promotes tolerance, peace, and a modern vision for Islam.

As you noted, indeed many aspects of Islam creates huge cognitive dissonance for Muslims in the modern world. For that reason rather then sit around and attack Muslim beliefs (which only pisses them off and entrenches them more in radicalism) I try to use arguments from moderate Islamic scholars in order to move them more towards interpretations of their religion that are more compatible with the modern world. However more critical is refuting the extremely violent beliefs of Al-Qaeda type Islamic ideologies that are CLEARLY against their religion (like blowing yourself up and killing women and children).

A big part of change I believe also will come from the Sufi sect of Islam that, aside from Sufi groups like the deobandis in Pakistan, generally follow very tolerant and peaceful interpretations of Islam. The Turkish (and world-wide) Fetullah Gulen movement is an excellent example. Such Sufi movements place way more emphasis on the spirituality of the religion rather then the dogma. Shariat interpretation becomes more of an issue of following the general spirit of those laws rather then trying to apply them to the letter. This allows for a lot more flexibility.

So first and foremost what I am basically advocating is de-escalation of tensions between the West and the Islamic world. That does not mean that we shouldn't be vigilant of extremists in our countries or that Muslims shouldn't be challenged on the terrible things they sometimes do in the name of Islam. But that they need to be challenged in a way that will lead to actual change in their hearts rather then just arguments and insults that solve nothing.

One side here on this forum (and in this country) believes that military force is the solution. However anyone with half a brain will look realistically at our economy and our country and realize that we do not have the millions of soldiers required to wage a world war on Islam, and we do not have the money to wage such a war. We also do not have any powerful allies willing to support us in such a cause. So short of using nuclear weapons and massacring hundreds of millions of Muslims and destroying our environment with radiation, it seems to me massively more logical to seek a peaceful resolution to the war on terror and the development of alternative ways of combating religious radicalism. The forces of capitalism and marketing are two prime methods.

The other method I promote is effective Islamic based counter-propaganda that drowns out the voices of the radicals.
At the end of the day, as you said, Muslims are human beings and the ones I've spent much of my life around have generally been excellent people. I refuse to play the irrational-emotional brainwashing game of demonizing all Muslims in order to rally Americans around the banner of hatred and fear. That is a strategy used by rulers, generals, and politicians all through history that ultimately leads to do horrific deeds that will make us no better then Al-Qaeda.

Confronting radical Islam aggressively with violence has been proven to accomplish nothing. It has only fueled their radical movement. Any intelligence analyst will agree with that assessment and it has been stated repeatedly in the media by them. So why don't more conservatives and our politicians listen to the evidence and begin to look at alternative ways of dealing with Islamic extremists?

I think people like Daniel Pipes have some good ideas and that they are half-way on the right track, but I really hope that more will begin to take a look at some of my methodology and fund the programs I am advocating. What is frustrating is that I am fairly low-income myself and will soon need to find regular employment of a different type if the government doesn't want to hire me to do such work so that I can pay off my college loans. For that reason I'm hoping that others with more resources will take up this cause and run with it. So that in a nutshell was basically my motive for posting here.
Anyways… thanks for the encouragement. It is much appreciated.

Chris G.

Submitting....

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".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Reply to Plato- Thank you for having an open mind by Chris G,

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)