69 million page views

Question to Mr. Pipes

Reader comment on item: Americans Wake Up to Islamism

Submitted by A Peaceful Man (United States), Sep 7, 2010 at 10:07

"my allies often fail to distinguish between Islam (a faith) and Islamism (a radical utopian ideology aiming to implement Islamic laws in their totality)"

Given the totality of Islam - an amalgamation of spiritual principles "inextricably" linked with political ambition - this claim seems to be unsound. Yes, we can point to periods in Islamic history where the faith was employed in a "progressive" manner and argue that a return to such practices is the only way to defeat Islam's disturbing political ambitions. And that, moreover, such returns can only be achieved by supporting the "moderate" elements within the Islamic community. However, your premise does seem to be a false division.

My question is: Upon what foundation do you separate the political totality of the Islamic faith from what you term "Islam, the Faith" - as if political considerations are somehow ancillary considerations, rather than the prescribed means by which "the faith" comes to global fruition? I understand some potential motives for such a dichotomy: 1) Fear of isolating otherwise "peaceful" Muslims 2) The inability to reconcile Western Liberalism/Tolerance with a seemingly uncompromising faith 3) Deflecting charges of "Islamophobia" and/or racism by creating a nuanced distinction between Group A and Group B.

Thank you for your time Mr. Pipes, I appreciate any feedback.


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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I have written extensively on this question. Try a 2000 article for starters: http://www.danielpipes.org/366/islam-and-islamism-faith-and-ideology.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 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.)