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Backwardness of Islamic thought

Reader comment on item: Why Israelis Shy from Victory
in response to reader comment: Why an Israeli "victory" won't bring peace

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Oct 22, 2018 at 19:12

Dear Dr Pipes, Your reader Jeffrey Sheff in his brief message captured quite accurately the reason why Israel's declaration of victory will not solve the problem of Islamic violence in the Middle east. Jeffrey hypothesized that if Palestinian Authority accepts defeat today, other terrorist groups will resort to violence against Israel.

I agree with Mr Sheff. The root cause of perpetual Islamic violence around the world is not victory or defeat in one geographic region. The root cause is that Islamic thought is several centuries behind the non-Islamic human thought. Let me illustrate briefly. If we look around the history most religions of the world at some point of time have seen significant movements toward peace. In India the Hindu king Asoka the Great won a furiously violent victory some centuries before Christ and converted to Buddism in remorse after the war ended. We still recite the story of Asoka in India. The life of Christ in the West constantly reminds us that it possible for a person to die on the cross and still not stop loving others. In the modern times, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and many others have shown that the path of non-violence can win major victories. After the second world war the movements to create the United Nations and the league of nations was an endorsement of peace by powerful and weak nations alike. And, in our day to day living most non-Muslims have more or less accepted that while religions are important, they are not worth killing each-other for.

Islam, unfortunately, has on the one hand isolated itself from other religions and people (e.g. by creating and maintaining religious theocracies) and on the other it has carefully not allowed any peace movements to be born and cultivated within its confines. Islamic thought, thus, has been centuries behind the rest of human thought. I think this is the fundamental problem why any thought of sustained peace is less likely in the context of Islam.

I often invite people to do a thought experiment. Imagine that Kashmir and/or Palestine were to become secular, democratic, and free nations like Luxembourg, Switzerland, or Nepal. I think no one will oppose a democratic Palestine or Kashmir. So, I believe, that wars of independence are not the problem but Islamic wars of independence.

We owe it to ourselves that we do not ignore this aspect. We need to convert Muslims to this modern way of thinking -- one mind at a time.

Submitting....

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