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Secularism first--moderation follows

Reader comment on item: What Antidote to Radical Islam?

Submitted by Dan Simon (United States), Mar 4, 2015 at 00:01

I agree wholeheartedly with Yetkin. Believers will never disappear, nor is there any need for them to--but what Yetkin understands is that religion simply does not moderate itself without the strong competing influence of secularism. Consider the history of Christianity: even well into the twentieth century, long after moderate Christianity had come to dominate the Christian world, it manifestly failed to make significant headway in places such as Ireland and Quebec where secularism was still weak. And even today, one of the strongest correlates with religious fanaticism--whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish--is isolation (whether artificial or circumstantial) from secular influence.

It's hardly a coincidence that in the Middle Eastern countries where Islam has been most successfully "tamed"--20th-century Turkey, 21st-century Tunisia--the taming has been at the hands of resolute secularists, not squishy moderate Muslims.

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