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Delenda est Carthago

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

Submitted by Santiago del Castillo Espinosa (United States), Aug 13, 2002 at 21:41

I do not agree with the critics of Mr. Pipes on his website who hold the opinion that he is 'going soft' or wavering in any real manner is placing into the public sphere information generally kept in lockboxes of misguided discrestion. There is a natural desire to form a balanced view and included contrast and tone when creating a broad picture as he has been doing with Islam and the Middle East for some time now. Otherwise one is in danger of having the mud thrown by Fellow Travelers actually sticking. But, my understanding of this approach still leaves me somewhat unconvinced about what exactly he is saying in the article 'Islam's Future.'

"The religion must adapt to modern times."

While it is hopeful to assert that in the future Islam will 'adapt' there is no proof that this will be the case. How Mr. Pipes can be so confident in the future is beyond me unless of course he is operating from the Enlightenment Error that people are basically reasonable and will act in accord with pragmatic interests. Religions have died in the past, particularly in the Middle East. Ideologies lose their vitality and fade or falling into contradictions end in hollow temples. Some are killed. Outside of a supernatural claim or those fallacious laws of history there is no historical inevitability.

"If one sees Islam as irredeemably evil, what comes next? This approach turns all Muslims ... into eternal enemies."

There is a very clever intellectual move here that subtly shifts the focus. In essence he is arguing that since the outcome is diffcult, the cause that leads to this unacceptable difficulty can not be correct. In other words, it is a backwards analysis. How one deals with a problem and what will result has no bearing on the validity of the matter in itself. It also assumes that all Muslims participate to an equal degree with the ideology of Islam. But certainly this is not the case.

The Turkish argument.

I would assert, and admit that I do so with a quivering base, that Turkey is different for several reason, mainly there are strong connections with the EU that create forces which force more conformity with Western Civilization. Also, Turkey has a long history that is on an historical track that is not identical with the rest of the Middle East and particularly Mordor itself, Saudi Arabia. Therefore, to argue from Turkey leaves me skeptical.

My vote is the same as Cato the Censor when the West was confronted by another threat from this general region, "Delenda est Carthago." This is where our focus must be, not on abstract examinations of Islam's future or internal dynamics beyond our influence or concern.
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