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Distinguishing between truths, opinions, hate and agenda

Reader comment on item: [Pew Poll on] How Muslims Think
in response to reader comment: The Danger that Islam Poses for the civilized nations

Submitted by Solkhar (Morocco), May 3, 2009 at 10:59

There is nothing evil or hate-filled in the Qur'an and Islam is the Qur'an. What evils and horrors perpetuated, be it even in the name of Islam is the doings of man.

The poster from the proclaimed Indian Muslim at the beginning of this article is an example of this, their comments are emotive examples and full of errors. It shows how even the reality of one location is presumed the reality of all. Public executions do not exist in the vast majorithy of Muslim countries, so we can assume they are talking about three or four fundamentalist-run countries. Rape is a crime in Islam, even punishable by death in some countries, so this reference is probably refering to the Taliban, which is not a government, they mix their own version of Islam that suits there sick trible culture. Though rape in marriage in most Muslim countries is still not a crime, it should be pointed out that is was also the situation in most western countries and in the United States not just 15 years ago and still not in some.

There is no doubt that the Muslim world is hijacked by fundamentalism, it came about after the Islamic Revolution in Iran that fundamentalist clerics linked with militant revolutionaries/terrorists and discovered that they can force their views on entire societies. From 1978 onwards every ultra-conservative cleric started searching for a stron-arm, even if they were willing to compromise their very faith and principles. It is always the same - politics and power corrupts.

The Muslim world is struggling as it has always done, between liberalism and fundamentalism, in the past it has swung backwards and forwards, but something changed in 1978 and it not just that revolution. That certainly was the catalyst for a strong swing towards fundamentalism, but the real problem was globalization of this planet - communications (and now even more so the internet), transport, immigration and the fall of the cold-war and the inbalance of power to the west.

The power of the internet allows for not just quick accurate news reporting but as has been proven, the power of the individual or group to push thier opinion or agenda and accuracy of information being thrown out the door. Fundamentalist Islamists have used the tool of mass communication/propoganda to their benefit from a different and unique angle - the lack of education, literacy and keeping the mouthpeace of truth only via the religious schools that support their policies. Whilst in the west, the far-right and religious agenda based groups, perpetuated their "crusade" via the internet and media as enthusiastic as "jihadists" used their guns and bombs.

It comes down to this, Islam is not evil, but at this moment the highlight and some nations are hijacked by fundamentalists and their dangerous radical militant supporters and the west is indirectly supporting this by allowing these agenda groups to throwing oil onto the fire. Statistically, 50 per cent of Muslims are conservative, 20 per cent fundamentalist, 20 per cent liberal and the remaining 10 per cent not-interested or even agnostic. The battle is for the hearts and minds of this 50 per cent who are almost totally impovrished, lack education, illeterate and are obliged to trust the mosques and Islamic schools.

The danger now is allowing for support to the liberals whilst not alienating this 50 per cent who are at present leaning towards the fundamentalists. Alienating them is occuring, because correct or not, the belief is that the west is attacking Islam as a faith. The clear fact is that all Muslims will defend their faith in some fashion or another, be it arguing and posting in forums, supporting a more fundamentalist candidate in an election, marching or if they were prone to more conservative lines, joining a more fundamentalist prone organisation - ie even possibly having a shift to that direction. A 5 per cent shift across the board is significant. In addition, if liberals, moderates and even the non-interested are busy defending their core faiths and principles, they will concentrate on that over the more important task of fighting against the actual fundamentalists.

No comment should come without offering a solution, and in this case it is active support from the west for liberal regimes and organisations and more importantly backing-off and accepting the values and rights of the Muslim world (especially being seen to do so). Constructive engagement is seen in most Muslim countries as a great thing, acknowledging the reality of the conservative nature that Islam brings is critical as well.

The rest has to though, come from the Muslim world itself. The nations are fragmented, there is no unity and the divisions from the old cold-war still divides the political sphere of Arab nations as well as others. The need for nations whom at present fear internal chaos if crackdowns on fundamentalists to begin is a major element that is required, it will not happen immediately but with the support - or the curtailing of lack of support - from the west may be enough to make the difference.

Solkhar

(Solkhar is an alias of a retired western diplomat and liberal Sunni Muslim by choice since the age of 17yrs. He is now settled permanently in Marrakech, Morocco).

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".

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