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Dr. Pipes - How can we perceptionally divorce Religion from Ideology?

Reader comment on item: In Defense of Europe's So-called Far Right

Submitted by Warren D. Peac e (Switzerland), Jan 30, 2015 at 07:37

Dr. Pipes - I very much admire, respect and widely share your standpoints on "The New Right" (in Europe), Wilders and the corresponding challenges.

Albeit, if I understood you correctly, you "respect Islam", the religion, while standing in stark opposition to Islamism. If that's a correct interpretation of your viewpoint, you do, at least to some extent, take the avenue of many progressives/liberals in Western society who (imo) desperately try to repress the ironclad chainlink interconnection and-dependence between Islam and Islamism, the latter fundamentally impossible without the first and its 3 base scriptures plus 5 basic (across all Muslim denominations) pillars, yet far-reaching (across all aspects and frame paramters of civilitation) doctrine.

You kindly allowed me to post an extensive discourse about exactly this interdependence and those terrible causal chains and consequences, resulting therof. I tried therein to make a case for the impossibility of divorcing "true" Islam (the all-encompassing societal system - far more multi-dimensional, than just a religion) from Islamism, the toxic ideology, framing the mandate of enveloping the world (by all means available) with such a societal construct, which happens to diametrally collide with almost all of our concepts of framing our civilization.

I furthermore came to the conclusion that, based upon Islamic doctrine and factual evidence (mindset within Muslim demographics, polls, lack of prominent and popular repudiation of Islamism (not just violence), that the notion of "Nominal/Moderate Muslims" is a Non Sequitur, as such a Muslim would (have to ) violate too many rules of conduct or Islamic principles and hence would not and could not be accepted or considered as true Muslim anymore. Quite actually, aren't such individuals being repudiated by their own clerics as apostates?

If my deductions and framing of this "Clash of Civilizations" holds true, I derived, no such thing as integration, Assimilation of Muslims in our societies is possible under current frame-parameters.

I ask you, who respects Islam as a religion, therefore:

- In order to be called "moderate", wouldn't these individuals have to literally re-write their books?

- Can any Muslim who denies the all-encompassing nature of Islam and only subscribes to the religious component (in the privacy of his/her home) still be called a true Muslim? Or better yet - would he/she ever be accepted by the Islamic community as such? Is there such a thing as a "Nominal Muslim"?

- Isn't Islamism "designed" into Islamic scripture which reaches so far into all aspects of framing a civilization and one's conduct in response to it? Doesn't that perfectly explain, why there are no prominent Islamic clerics and scholars out there (please correct me, if I'm wrong) who forcefully repudiate Islamism?

- Is my analogy of Islam, being the engine, Islamism the fuel and violence, terror the (occasional, but unavoidable) crash too simplistic?

I say - true, unreformed Islam can by design not-coexist with the principles of western civilization. True, unreformed Islam can not be reduced to just a religion without abandoning its own fundamental structural pillars. (Radical) Islamism can not be divorced from Islam, but is a logical consequence of (unreformed) Islamic doctrine.

I would even go as far as to state that reforming Islam (modifying it, adapting, modernizing, even reducing it to a purely spiritual expression) would in effect mean throwing the entire book out and redrafting it from scratch. Zero chance to ever see such happen.

Where do I go wrong? How can you "respect" Islam, if it indeed is ground and fertilizer, upon which its toxic expression and consequences grow? How do you manage to separate Islam from Islamism, respecting the concept or construct, while opposing the innate mind-set to expand it?

In your mind, is there any scenario, in which Islam could co-exist with and within Western Civilitzation? Isn't the best case scenario some sort of a truce, based upon ratios of military, societal, legal, economical etc. power and strenght?

In other words - we agree to disagree, but refrain from imposing our values, principles and ideology upon each other - meaning that we may have to accept perceived injustice (according to our ways of framing a fair society) in Islamic nations, but push back hard against any efforts by the other side (Muslims living among us) to subvert, undermine or change those same values in our own western world.

I ask myself again and again - what am I not seeing here? How do learned people like you, surely much more educated and knowledgeable about the subject, resolve the cognitive dissonance and proclaim respect and tolerance for the religion, while condemning the ideology, which I am unable to separate from its root cause. How do you resolve this for me unresolvable dilemma?


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Daniel Pipes replies:

I am not taking on a whole religion but its dangerous manifestations. I am hopeful that Muslims can modernize their religion.

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