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Is it possile to create worldwide Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Buddist armies?

Reader comment on item: Americans Wake Up to Islamism

Submitted by Rajeev (United States), Sep 18, 2010 at 13:44

Dear Dr Pipes: While we discuss whether moderate Islam exists or not, it will be instructive to ask us a related question. What will it take if I wanted to raise a worldwide Hindu (or Christian, or Buddist, or Jewish army)? First, I will have to tell everyone that Hinduism prescribes the only correct way to worship God. Then, I will have to repeatedly tell alll adherents that it is ok to kill and die in the defence of Hinduism (love, forgiveness and reflectiveness are secondary even if they enter the picture at all.) Then, I will have to tell everyone that it is the duty of a Hindu living in Melbourne to fight ob behalf of a Hindu living in New York. In addition, I will have to tell all adherents that any amendments to these rules is not possible. That done, I will have to convince all Hindus that every war, whether nationalistic, or economic, or cultural, is for the sake of the religion and God. Finally, I will have to start this doctrination very early in a child's life (before he is exposed to other interesting things like science, mathematics, sports, music and arts).

When I finish doing it, I will guarantee that the results of all wars are permanent in nature. And all wars that I fought are 1) worldwide and 2) neverending until won.

If you look carefully, this is exactly what is going on in Islam. Religious wars of Islam started within the lifetime of the prophet and all the ingredients that I discussed above are present in Islamist religion/politics until today. Cordoba, for example, was won and lost hundreds of years ago. If the Moors were fighting a normal war, the Iberian occupation by North Africans would have died as an issue by now. But since a religious connotation was attached to it, Muslims in New York even today feel a need to name a mosque as 'Cordoba House'. And, since war and peace are so intertwined in Islamic religion, a Muslim preacher in one place has the need to support a Muslim general in a faraway place every time he addresses a congregation.

So can moderate Islam be created? As long as imperialistic militant Islam exists and is intertwined with the religion, moderate Islam can exist only on marginal fringes. Due to the presence of these factors creating a moderate version of Islam followed by the majority is very difficult. The only way it can be created is by slowly convincing Muslims that these policies have very high economic cost and significantly hurt the peace and prosperity that we all try so hard to achieve.


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