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Reader comment on item: Middle East Provocations and Predictions

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Sep 11, 2015 at 10:09

Daniel Pipes has produced an impressive tour d'horizon, far beyond anything even in some 'in-depth' press stories. In this broad survey, there are only two points to which I offer a dissent.

One of his strongest statements, with which I agree, is "Muslims in large numbers abominate ISIS."

But I don't think this means, as the world should perhaps wish it did, that they abominate Islam. How often have we heard the statements, "ISIS has nothing to do with islam" (King Abdullah of Jordan), or "this is not the real Islam" (countless comments, by both Muslims and non-Muslims). Despite the fact that everyone loyal to ISIS and all those streaming from around the world to join it agree with remarkable uniformity, and with countless precedents in the Koran and the Hadith, that ISIS represents the purest meaning of ISLAM, this remarkable capacity for rationalization continues in those who deny that ISIS is the clearest expression of Islam that the world has seen in centuries.

Nor does the abomination of ISIS mean the end of hope in the return of the Caliphate, just not 'in this form'. Therefore if and when ISIS disintegartes into anarchy or is obliterated from outside, the idea of the Caliphate, inseparable from violence, will just go into remission, and remain to bedevil the future of Muslims, just as Islam itself has prevented the emergence of viable, peaceful goverenments since the end of colonialsim in the Muslim world began after World War II.

Which leads to the secnd point of dissent. I agree with Dr Pipes on the three political forces in the Middle East. But if the second force really is Liberal, then I beleive it must stand for, or at least consider, opposition to Islam itself. Given the all-embracing tenets of Islam in opposition to so many vital attributes of civilized, orderly, peaceful living, such as gender equality for women, separation of Church and State (freedom of inidividual conscience, but not the right to dictate the behavior of others in its name), respect for secular thought, and 'man-made' law, there is no way to be liberal for people in Muslim lands without taking on the religion.

Given the world-changing ideas that have swept the world over the last 250 years which have, after much pain and suffereing, produced for a large part of the world a dramatic measure of peace, prosperity, and orderly life, it seems absurd to say that there is one idea, which is producing chaos and violence throughout its range, which must not be opposed or questioned.

If there really is a liberal force in the Muslim world, it must take on Islam.


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