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Reader comment on item: Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth?

Submitted by Watcher (United States), Jan 5, 2010 at 18:49

This debate was a study in contrasts, with over-lap between them. We needed to hear why Daniel Pipes believes Islam can modify itself. This hope is the basis for his thinking. We also needed to hear how it feels to be a Muslim woman in present day Islamic societies. I'm sure there are many different experiences of this, but the basic idea of domination and power seem basic to Islamic ideas of authority (in this case, of man over woman).

Wafa's take on what the King of Saudi Arabia could do was helpful, but I'm afraid it provides limited hope for change. Arabs know how to dismiss Muslim leaders whom they think have compromised Religion. Is that not one of Al Qaida's main beefs?

My big concern is twofold. First, if our institutions seek to encourage moderate Islam, we will probably find that we have sided with those who are moderate in some ways, but deeply committed to the ancient understanding that the Islamic State should eventually be extended and prevail wherever Muslims reside in sufficient numbers to seem to warrant it. I think our State Department has assisted Fetullah Gulen, who is at the head of a vast network of schools, dormitories and university faculty initiatives, to reside in Pensylvania. He and his movement appear non-violent, but he was wanted in Turkey because a tape of his talk to his followers revealed that he had a clear agenda to over-turn the secularist State of Turkey in favor of an Islamic one. The Islam his organization teaches appears modern, intelligent, professional etc, but they, like most really serious Muslims I think, have a world-wide agenda that has a very serious political and institutional agenda. Eventually, if Turkey falls more fully to this ideology (it is informally related to the Islamicist AK Party in the Government), we can expect Turkey will seek to lead the Muslim world again in its ancient mission to spread Islam by sword or by pen. The Ottomans were classical Islamicist, not radical, but they terrorized Europe for a long long time. This time around, they would not terrorize, but seek to take over from the inside. Then control would follow typical Islamic tendencies toward heavy handedness indeed. Minorities are not legally permitted to thrive, and eventually do not survive, under Islamic domination--at least that is the record so far.

My second concern comes from Daniel Pipes' demand from Wafa Sultan for practical suggestions for policy, if indeed Islam will always tend to be internationally aggressive, internally oppressive, and anti-democratic. This demand stands, because in fact Islam will not change either quickly enough, thoroughly enough, or permanently enough to make such very difficult policy questions escapable. I will just suggest six coping policies that may become necessary. I don't think much more than coping will be possible.

1. Physically beat Jihadists of all stripes whenever we can afford to, or wherever we can help an ally to do so.

2. Legally and politically beat Islamic non-violent Jihad in our institutions and courts. This needs organized, concerted, and snow-balling effort.

3. Develop nuclear power and electricity for transportation, to reduce the oil-money of Jihadists and Wahabi missions.

4. Limit immigration, and require oaths of renunciation of political Islam and loyalty to the Constitution, with scrutiny as to whether these oaths are being kept by immigrants and their descendants.

5. Scrutinize Muslim citizens who have a public or institutional role in our society, for Political Islamist connections, and marginalize those who have those opinions. Chaplains in jails often are Wahabi. Public institutions like Mosques should not be treated as religious institutions if they represent the cause of founding the Islamic State instead of our Constitutional Republic. They should be treated as treasonous.

6. Treat certain predetermined levels of agitation or work for an Islamic State in stead of the existing Constitutional State as treason, and prosecute in court. Exile should be a valid sentence, in my opinion.

Daniel asked Wafa, if Islam will not change, what policies shall we follow? I think this is very pressing question if we are to look 50 years out at the growth of Islam and the demographic effects of Muslim birth rates and emigration. As the aetheist Christopher Hitchens said in his speech comparing Pres. Bush to Pres Jefferson, (I paraphrase) 'Mark my words we will be fighting Jihadists in our own streets.' We can hope that is not true, but we should reckon that it very well may be true, an take the necessary precautions to prevent it.

Thanks again for the debate and the pressing issues it brings to the foreground. Meanwhile, someone get busy with that Saudi King! The Haj after 9/11, with US Gov. pressure, was marked by much more talk of peaceful attitudes toward non Muslims, according to one hajji. The sermon in the central mosque in Ankara was also full of New Testament truths the Friday afterward. Political pressure worked for a time, and should be kept up.



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