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Islam is not to blame

Reader comment on item: On Islam and Islamism

Submitted by Safraz (United States), Mar 31, 2008 at 17:54

Pipes is right that Islamism - the totalitarian political ideolgy of religious rule, and not Islam - the religion followed by the mass majority of the world's Muslims most of whom are more concerned with feeding their families than with world politics - is the problem.

Islam has been around for over 1300 years, but the violent terrorism we are seeing in the world today in its name - only about 25 years. Sure, you may point to the Islamic conquests and their use of the concept of jihad to justify their conquests - but that is a mistaken notion to do so because those conquests was simply empire building, with the conquerors using religion as their justification for financing and to rally their troops. No different than how the Christian empires were built, especially in the Americas itself.

In finding solutions to today's conflict it must be realized that Islamism arose out of certain social conditions in the Muslim world - a reaction to Western dominant power and to local dictatorships. I have no doubt that were the Middle East predominantly Christian or Jewish - similar political doctrines would have arisen, as a means of rallying around religion or identity to address these perceived social injustices.

The Christian Qutb, may have for example, relied on a misconstrued understanding of Jesus' statement in the Gospels that he came not to bring peace on earth, but to bring a sword. The Jewish Qutb - Moses slaughter of the 3000 who were worshipping the golden calf upon his decent from the mountain. But whatever, the religion, textual support and justification would have been found - similar to how the concept of jihad and the historical battles Muhammed engaged in are misconstrued as examples to be followed literally today by the violent Isalmists in their pursuit of violence against not only the West, but also against secular minded Muslims.

The answer of course is democracy - not simply in elections, but also participation of the people and freedom of the press. There is a reason the 160 million Muslims in India are not radicalized, but the ones in Pakistan are becoming increasingly so. With democracy and freedom of the press, those who feel oppressed and downtrodden are given a voice. And so they do not feel that there are no other options, and then as a reaction, rally around some ideology that preaches violence in order to strike out at those they perceived have done them wrong.



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