69 million page views

My response to " Logic To A Point"

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: logic to a point

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Dec 21, 2010 at 13:37

<< His approach for the most part appeared to have been 'reasonable' and more laissez-faire than most muslims who come on here and insist that Islam is the 'supreme' religion, it should dominate>>

I returned to this forum just recently and am still in the process of digesting a ton of articles and comments. As far, as Havas is concerned, I do share your impression. His comments vs. Terror of muslim origin were however the most outspoken of any muslim I encountered so far. Considering the culture, where a cartoonist gets a contract on his head for depicting Mohammed (even in company with Jesus, Buddha and other religious figures), the willingness to speak out thus clearly against "the terrorist dogs", should be applauded as courageous. Just this one post was worth all my contributions. There might in fact be muslims willing to apply some introspection and self-critique. Most of all, here we found a bit of common ground and in the context of my MO, described in my earlier piece, that is a measurable outcome, which may even motivate other muslims to follow suit.

I remember, a few years back here in this forum, when I dared to mention some of our own fringes, as for instance the adamant creationists, who will, no matter the scientific findings, never ever bend in their fanatic hatred of all things Darwinistic. I left this forum disgusted due to being literally torn apart by my own, Christians after all.

I myself consider myself as a (moderate) Christian. Originating from a Jewish family, I was raised Roman Catholic (due to the fear of my jewish father, who simply could not find the courage to raise us Jewish anymore). Several years ago, my partner got pregnant and decided (for reasons I can not elaborate on here) on a termination of her pregnancy. While I personally could never and would never support abortion, and anyway would have loved to have a child with this woman, I nevertheless had to stick to my guns, a woman's right to choose, and supported her in any way I could in this difficult decision. It broke my heart, but I had to accompany her to the clinic one morning. Having your heart ripped out of your chests already, we found ourselves at the entry to the clinic harassed by a mob of so-called Christians, cheering, yelling, screaming at us, calling us murderers and worse. These were Christians, for God's sake, inflicting so much hurt and pain upon Christians.... When I see TV reports of the mob in Tehran, yelling death to all infidels, I can't help to feel reminded on that day. Whenever I encounter the mauling mentality of humans, no matter, where this happens, I feel compelled to speak up.

>>>> It seems though that in the case of Israelis - he's towing the Turkish line again on the deaths of the armed pacifists in welcoming party on the Turkish ship ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTmF3njCZf8) i.e. those killed in self defence by the Israeli boarding party - when the israelis realised they weren't going to be served tea and biscuits. Not that Israel can't be heavy handed at times - but given their tactics and attitude of their neighbours - who blames them?>>>>

I fully agree. Albeit, I find myself oftentimes in heated debates about America and Americans with my Swiss friends, during which I will defend my nation passionately. Sometimes, deep down I know they have a point, but find myself nevertheless hard-pressed to admit it. Funny enough, when debating politics with some of my democrat friends, I, the Republican, have no problem pointing out deficiencies in the American society in a highly opinionated manner. Being Caucasian, one knows never to call a black American the N word. Why ist it appropriate for blacks to call themselves Niggers without any ramifications? Only two examples in support of my notion that this is a purely emotional response, based upon patriotism and utterly normal understandable nationalism and am pretty sure that, amongst themselves the Turks may as well debate differently from any discussion with someone from the outside.

>>>However what irks me personally - is that many muslims use logic up to a certain point but go no further. e.g the koran is either 'perfect' - or it is not. >>>

I feel your pain and have a hard time myself with the fact, that muslims do not seem to be willing to question Islam, as we freely exercise (religious) criticism in the western culture. There seems to be no grey, only black and white. I can only explain it with a fundamental design flaw of muslim culture, where for centuries the population has being indoctrinated and impregnated with an autocratic way of thinking, as opposed to a pluralistic, democratic society with much more individual rights.

Generations after generations of muslims have been raised to never question the Quran or their religious (or even political or societal) authorities. I can only compare that to the state of our own medieval times before reformation and enlightenment. In that sense the muslim world has somewhat stagnated there. Science, social studies, law, some would say art and literature never found a breeding ground to evolve.

A good example for diverse development offers military history, where, in the west military leadership and strategy were oftentimes subject to civil debate and authority (Roman Empire), hence continuous improvement , heck, evolution was "designed in ". It explains the clear superiority of western warfare in comparison to all other cultural environments.

In that context I would like to reference the military history book " Carnage and Culture", in which Victor Davis Hanson makes a compelling argument, looking beyond popular explanations such as geography or advanced technology, and argues that it is in fact Western culture and values - the tradition of dissent, the importance placed on inventiveness and adaptation, the concept of citizenship - which have consistently produced superior arms and soldiers. He makes the case that armies cannot be separated from the cultures that produce them and explains, why an army produced by a free culture, will always have the advantage. The example of the battle at Lepanto (vs. the Ottomans), offers truly compelling evidence for the above mentioned differences between the west and muslim culture, where on the one side, there is debate, analysis and dissent, and on the other there is but the authority of the Sultan.

>>>Mo split the moon with his little finger or he did not. He married and slept with a 9 year old when he was 53 or he did not. He was responsible for mass murder or he was not. He was the last 'prophet' or he was not. indeed - he was a prophet or was not. There are no shades of grey here - these things either occurred or they did not.>>>

Above arguments do not hold water for me, as our own Bible is full of events, which can be questioned at best. As mentioned before, there are quite a few Christians who actually believe in Noah's Ark or Moses splitting the Red Sea, Jesus creating food out of nothing etc. I personally think that all these ancient documents are full of legends and parables. The problem lays with the interpretation of the content and degree of penetration of orthodoxy throughout the fabric of the society. where too many muslims seem to take the Quran verbatim, as opposed to the Christian world, where there is much more room for accepted interpretation.

>>The point is - at some stage for them logic goes out the window and myth and the handed down superstition of ages takes over. To seek out truth - by necessity one must drop one's preconceptions and previous beliefs. It really is a shame that muslim cultures completely discourage looking down any other avenue to such an extent that in many muslim countries people can become ostracized and persecuted. In fact - muslims in the west who dare to start exploring other philosophies and religions face repercussions in western countries from muslims maintaining the status quo.>>

I agree again. It is a vicious circle which can likely only be broken over time, inasmuch, as muslim minorities in the west will eventually merge with us, if they are faced with the dilemma of either integrating and assimilating or face legal consequences up to and not limited to deportation back to their countries of origin. This is, why I for instance supported the Minaret initiative in Switzerland and support clearly defined pressure on any minority to assimilate, or else. It is in our own hands to either support this development and the mentioned subsequent export of ideas and dissent back, or apply the kumbajah and multi-culti approach of appeasement and leniency towards erosion of our own identity, traditions and values by allowing any minority to change the society from within (eg Sharia Law in UK ). While I promote tolerance and respect in all dealings with the Turkish minority in Europe for instance, I adamantly promote harsh legal barriers to prevent any minority to establish enclaves and subvert western achievements from within.

In a way, you made my point precisely. Over centuries now Islam created and nurtured a rigid, stagnating, hierarchical structure, which is by now deeply entrenched in almost all muslim nations. Not only will the solution to muslim fundamentalism have to come from within Islam, it will to my opinion have to stem from muslims lving outside the confines of muslim nations and maybe some countries located in close proximity to the West or with enormously strong ties (family economical, strategic) to it, such as Turkey.

By embracing this large minority (tolerance, respect, politeness), while subjecting them equally to our own people to tightly defined societal frame conditions (secularism, enclaves, legal up to burquas and Minarettes), instead of on the one side appeasing them with a liberal kumbajah mentality (catering to every last need of any minority, such as schools, education, language, religion in this current climate of political correctness) and on the other indiscriminately villifying them all as subverting our traditions and values, we may actually contribute to reverse dangerous trends, such as currently experienced in Turkey. Yet another measurable objective I can ascertain.

>>This is the muslim stance - no matter that Jews have lived there and had it as their centre since at least 3500BC. The muslim claim to ownership is an emotional one - based only on emotion and not facts at all.>>

While I agree with you on the historical facts yet again, and consider for instance the notion of a Palestinian People as historically invalid (while I admittedly admire Arafats PR acumen to literally create such a people from thin air) in this case one could be mistaken to value the factual argument over the emotional. When too many people become emotional about a topic, it becomes a fact, we must deal with as such. Several hundred years of muslim occupation of these lands, building some of their holiest sites right on top of Jewish and Christian ones, have created a terrible dilemma. No matter, if historically righteous or not, fact is that millions of muslims consider Jerusalem as equally important and their own, as it is for Jews. And yes, they are extremely emotional about it, as if emotions in matters concerning religion or belief would not matter.

The reasons for the failing of any peace agreement for decades now are buried right here in this dilemma. Where emotion dictates, rational thinking goes out the window. Where fanatics dictate, only further conflict will be the result. Bar the creation of some form of Vatican like status for Jerusalem, freely accessible to all for woreshipping, I see no room for any compromise. The chances for such "revolutionary" thinking in either ISR or the fanatics of Hamas and company? 0%.

Not to mention, that the ever fueled conflict in Palestine lays smack in the middle of Iranian Islamist strategy, which is why they keep on fueling the conflict by supporting their proxies of the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, Kassam Al Aksa, Fatah, etc. etc.

It is a vicious circle with, as mentioned in an earlier article, a cease-fire as best case scenario.


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".

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.)