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Reply to L. Auster strikes me as utterly inconsistent with his usual manner

Reader comment on item: [The Search for Moderate Islam:] A Reply to Lawrence Auster

Submitted by Phil Stan (Australia), Feb 3, 2005 at 09:12

I deeply respect Daniel Pipes - a brilliant polemist, an epitome of penetrating analytical thought always expressed in succinct, unambiguous, powerful manner.

His reply to Lawrence Auster strikes me as utterly inconsistent with his usual manner. This reply reads as if it's written by a notorious professor of Middle East studies who pretends that he does not understand his opponent's point of view and launches a personal assault instead of debating the substance.

It's unbelievable - Daniel Pipes (yes, our most respected and trusted Daniel Pipes!) goes into the business of ascribing to his opponents opinions that the opponent has never expressed himself and most likely would reject. Pipes is playing here a trick so often applied in the past against him.

In this reply D Pipes writes:
'Auster and I agree that, in the end, "a more decent type of Islam" is the only answer. '

This is obviously not how Auster presents his point:
"Lasting peace—or, rather, the absence of violence—can only be achieved through Western strength and dominance, not through trying to make friends with a non-existent moderate Islam. Under such circumstances a more decent type of Islam may arise. But, as I've said over and over, it will have arisen only because we confined the Muslims to narrower quarters on this globe."

For Auster "a more decent type of Islam" is at best a by-product of survival strategy, something desirable but inconsequential, obviously not "the only answer".

My general impression is that that D Pipes has written his reply very reluctantly. It seems that he essentially agrees with L Auster's line of reasoning but for some political or carer considerations cannot openly admit this. It also seems quite likely that Pipes influence will diminish if he continues to ride his PC mantra of moderate Islam being a solution to the current crisis.

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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

Thanks for the general compliment; you may not think much of this reply but I can assure you that it is my genuine view, not something I feel I have to say.


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