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Joining the chorus about the threat of "real" Islam

Reader comment on item: Islam's Future [Can Be Modern]

Submitted by Naomi Mann (United States), Aug 13, 2002 at 13:58

Dr. Pipes, I don't disagree with your pragmatic approach, (". . . if one sees Islam as irredeemably evil, what comes next? This approach turns all Muslims - even moderates fleeing the horrors of militant Islam - into eternal enemies. And it leaves one with zero policy options. My approach has the benefit of offering a realistic policy to deal with a major global problem.")

But surely we must be realists as well about the overwhelming majority of Muslims who haven't joined in and don't wish to be part of the kind of reform taking place in Turkey. As one of your readers commented, the aims of Islam have been clear since the beginning, and the United States -- and the rest of the world -- needs to wake up to the fact that terrorism has played an intrinsic role in these aims from the beginning as well. Furthermore, it seems doubtful that we infidels can play any significant role in reforming Islam without resorting to tactics repugnant to a free society. Such reforms, if they come, must come from within . . . and where, even here in the U.S., do we hear the voice of moderate Islam, the call for reform?

Actually, in the United States, the battle between those with a clear-sighted view of Islam and the pragmatists willing to negotiate and pacify has been going on since the days of the founding fathers. Joseph Ellis, in American Sphinx, his biography of Thomas Jefferson, (pp. 75 -76) provides an excellent description of the argument between Adams and Jefferson regarding vicious Muslim piracy in the Mediterranean and Atlantic during the early days of the republic, and along with it, a crystal clear view of the Muslim viewpoint. When Adams and Jefferson asked the ambassador from Tripoli " . . .on what grounds these outrageous acts of unbridled savagery could be justified," the Ambassador replied " . . . it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners. . . "

But that's not news. What Ellis tells us next is more to the current point: Jefferson initially refused to listen to "such unmitigated blackmail" but Adams pointed out the great cost of Jefferson's scheme "whereby the United States would organize an international task force comprised of all European nations whose shipping was being victimized." Does that sound familiar? Jefferson claimed that "Justice and Honor favor this course, . . . and it would probably cost less in the long run to boot." Adams argued against the cost of a lengthy battle, saying, "We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever." That sounds familiar, too, and you don't have to guess who prevailed in that argument. And we are still negotiating and pacifying Islamic militants . . . and at great cost not only to Justice and Honor, but to our own cherished way of life. We' will once again be penny wise and pound foolish if we let up in this battle, even if our "allies" falter . . . after all, Europe -- France in particular -- has a noteworthy history of faulting U.S power and failure to heed the warning signs of global conflict until it is too late . . . then they are delighted to have the military might of the U.S. on their side!

In my humble opinion, our govenment ought to adopt the Jeffersonian point of view and stop waffling over the Saudis, in particular, as well as the rest of the intransigent Muslim world. Foreign aid? Not until the madrassas stop their odious teaching. Negotiation? Not until these governments (start w/ the Saudis, continu down the well- known list) root out the evils in their own backyards.

There is much more to say, but I've rambled on far too long. I hope at least you'll check out this passage from American Sphinx and share it with your readers. Thanks for listening.
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