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Things will change very very slowly

Reader comment on item: Tantawi – The New Mubarak?

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jun 10, 2011 at 01:42

Dear Dr Pipes:

You predicted that things would not change even after Mubarak's departure. That was an easy prediction :-). There is a very simple reason why things will change very slowly (if at all) in Islamic countries. A hard fact of life is that human societies work best only when each individual thinks for himself and takes independent decisions. This is good for an individual's well being because it allows them to think that they are in control and not anyone else's slave. This is also good for the society because while any individual can act incoherently in isolation, the sum total of hundreds of thousand's of independent decisions is likely to be correct.

Most societies impose some conditions on how an individual should think and act. These conditions are imposed by families, peer and religious groups, and, to some extent, even by democratic governments. However, in Islamic societies the ability of an individual to think for himself is severely diminished. Muslims are required to support other muslims not only within a village, city, or country but across the planet (that is why it is very difficult to find a supporter of Israel in the entire country of Pakistan). Many times in these societies the issues are not decided by thought and by general guidance provided by ethics and religion. Instead, the issues are decided by strict adherence to a code written 14 centuries ago. And since no code can be complete, the burden to interpret and impose the code falls in the hands of whoever can muster most power based on sword or religion.

This simple pattern has repeated in tens of Islamic countries through hundreds of years including the present time. Unless people learn to think for themselves, respect individual freedom (even in the matters of religion)and stop literal interpretation of religious text, change will come very very slowly in Egypt or any other Islamic country.

Submitting....

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