69 million page views

And perhaps, overarching all, INTOLERANCE

Reader comment on item: The Middle East's Tribal Affliction

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jan 24, 2008 at 14:35

"the region's most characteristic features, such as autocracy, political mercilessness, and economic stagnancy."

This seems a very well-recommended book. And yet, I wonder if it's still enough. Calling for Individualism is certainly good, but seems a little unfocused.

Here's an agenda I'd suggest:

1st and most important: Women's Rights. This strikes me as the Achilles heel of Islamic civilization. Why not, therefore, make it the first item on any political/cultural agenda with Islam, and Islamic countries, even if, and this is important, a majority of women in Islam seem to be afflicted with the Stockholm Syndrome?

That is they identify with all the men who keep them culturally and legally imprisoned, not to mention the consenting to live in a (dis)honor culture which sanctions them being killed by their male relatives. (The section of Pipes' review that talks about politcal opponents goading their male enemies to kill their own female relatives to keep down the fertility of those enemy families is a chilling aspect of tribal culture which I hadn't heard of before, and is, properly viewed yet another bone-deep criticism of Islam - for its utter failure to condemn or prevent this inhumanity at the core of family behavior)

2nd, challenging, as a matter of broad general discussion, why, Islam, alone of all the world's monotheistic religions, has no equivalent to the Golden Rule, as do Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism. All I've ever seen on this matter are Muslims, usually young, saying, "You have a weak religion because you show mercy. We are stronger and better because we scorn to show mercy."

Well, under the general heading of Intolerance, which seems the defining characteristic of Islam , why don't we take these two matters up, after or even while reading what seems a useful and important book by Philip Salzman?

Perhaps this book could have another purpose, which is questioning and resisting in ourselves what psychologists call Projection, the mind-muddying tendency to falsely attribute to others the ideas and values that we have. This projecting onto Muslims values they (or at least the dominant majority) don't share, such as respect for women's rights and dignity, respect for free thought in matters of religion, politics, and culture, respect for non-violent conduct of disagreement (which Israel showed so notably and nobly when the settlers' were removed from Gaza), may be the single biggest roadblock to figuring out how to confront Muslims without acting like them.

Projection, I would also argue, is responsible for most of us ignoring the fact it is the Muslims' own culture, and not the West, not the United States ,and not Israel, that is responsible for 90% of the problems and suffering with which they are confronted.


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".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 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.)