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I beg to differ...

Reader comment on item: Distinguishing between Islam and Islamism
in response to reader comment: No difference

Submitted by Govinda Dickman (United Kingdom), Sep 27, 2009 at 12:23

Tony Iveson imputes to Islam, more or less as its raison d'etre, an ideological systemisation of "arab interests" that more or less compels Muslims to war with non-Muslims. Leaving aside for the moment Mr Iveson's ignorance of or imperviousness to the historical and geographic contexts of what he's discussing, I shall focus instead upon his ignorance of or imperviousness to the literal plethora of locally distinct beliefs and practices that he's trying to subsume under the catch-all term "Muslim".

His argument ironically echoes the Marxist historical materialist critique of religion, which holds that pretty much all cultural production, especially value systems like religious belief and law, tend to reflect the interests of whoever owns the power base in a given society. I say ironically, because it seems evident from his discourse that Mr Iveson perceives no such hegemonic influences upon his own belief system, and seems to think that this phenomenon is unique to an imaginary something he calls "Islam"... I'll say it outright: This argument is based upon what must be the most preposterous and repugnant reduction imaginaeable of the extraordinarily complex and varied system of beliefs and practices that is "modern Islam" (if such an entity can even be said to exist, per se)

Indeed, delving a little further into his diatribe, I discover that he is citing as his chief evidence for his thesis, the ostensible ubiquity within the Koran of various forms of rationalisation for, even exhortation to, violent repression of non- or anti-Islamic thought. I point out that, should one seek to do so, the equivalent accusation could easily be levelled toward the Christian bible, but that such an accusation would necessarily have to elide passages of the bible which promote, for instance, love or brotherhood, or at least account for them in its argument. I suggest that Mr Iveson's contention amounts to approximately the error just described: It is no more or less than a hopelessly simplistic, xenophobic misrepresentation of something he clearly doesn't care to understand. He prefers, for his opwn reasons, the bogey-man he has conjured in its place...

Submitting....

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