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three major positions vis-à-vis Islam

Reader comment on item: Radical Islam creates terrorism

Submitted by Peter Chew (United States), Mar 24, 2016 at 12:31

I would submit that there is a position (one to which I hold) that is a hybrid of your #2 and #3. Namely, that Islam itself is the problem, but because only 15% or so of Muslims interpret Islam in a very literal way, 85% of Muslims don't pose an immediate threat - at any given time.

This differs from the Donald Trump formulation in that he does not appear to acknowledge the difference between the 15% and the 85% - he wants to keep them all out of the USA. He also doesn't seem to distinguish between "Islam" and "Muslims".

It differs from your formulation because it highlights a problem with your statement "Only anti-Islamist Muslims can defeat this [extremist, violent] form of Islam". In common, I think, with Islamists, I understand Islam to be what Mohammed practiced and preached, primarily as encapsulated in the Quran - as distinct, for example, from what Jesus practiced and preached as encapsulated in the Bible. If indeed the violent type of Islam derives naturally from the Quran, then anti-Islamist Muslims will NEVER be able to prevail. Yes, there is always a distribution of interpretations at any given time, but I'd argue the center of gravity of the Quran and the example of Mohammed will always pull a constant 15% towards the Islamist interpretation. This is something inherent to Islam itself.

If I am right, then the only way to defeat Islamism will be to defeat Islam itself, with its violent center of gravity, and replace it with something that has a more benign center of gravity. I submit that that "something" is Judaeo-Christianity - which, in fact acknowledges that our battle is primarily spiritual, again pointing to the problem being with Islam itself!


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Religion, like all human activities, changes over time. Islamists wish to return to period over a thousand years back, a fantasy that obviously cannot be fulfilled.

Rather than work for the equally implausible goal of "defeating Islam itself," I suggest something attainable, namely, to help Muslims move their faith in a better direction.

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