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The "problem" is not just about "the violence" of radical Islam

Reader comment on item: America's Crash Course on Islam
in response to reader comment: Who is the enemy?

Submitted by J.S. (Canada), Sep 12, 2007 at 16:37

I notice that a number of comments focus solely on violent, Islamist terrorism. But, as Daniel Pipes has pointed out over and over again, violence is not the only means the Islamists use so as to attain power.

Read Pipes' "How terrorism obstructs radical Islam" or Pipes' "The danger within: Militant Islam in America". Pipes argues that there is as much a threat from law-abiding, "pacifist" Islamists as there is from violent Islamists. In fact, the threat from the "pacifist" Islamists could be considered far more dangerous for non-Muslims, since most people don't even consider the peaceful Islamists "a threat." Yet, the goals of the pacifist Islamists is the same as that of the violent Islamists. The only difference is in the means.

The distinction that Pipes adheres to is "moderate" vs "radical" -- not "violent" vs "non-violent." And "moderate Islam" is not the same as non-violent Islamism. (Briefly, the enemy is Islamism -- violent or non-violent.) .Any simplistic formualtion -- whether it is "Islam should be banned because Islam is not compatible with western democracies" or "Pacifist Islam is wonderful" is problematic and dangerous. Banning Islam is immoral and unworkable (given western democracies heritage of civil rights).

But equally foolish is to suggest that all of Islam is wonderful...or to think that Hezbollah or Hamas can be "understood" or accommodated. (The ultra-liberal view is just as likely to cause a back-lash against Islam, as is the ultra-rightist view of desiring a ban on Islam.) A more nuanced, middle-of-the-road approach needs to be maintained.


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