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Not So Sure Terrorism Obstructs Political Radical islam

Reader comment on item: How Terrorism Obstructs Radical Islam

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Aug 23, 2005 at 22:47

This comment is a response not only to this piece, but also to your pieces on
the bombings in Bangladesh and Talking Freely, ie.about the firing of Michael Graham.
First, I would say it's not at all clear whether active Terrorism hinders or helps
the inherent totalitarianism of 'political' Radical Islam. If enough 'Madrids' or
'London subways' take place, it may hinder or even smash PRI by finally galvanizing
the slowly 'boiling frog' of Western Civilization.
But absent that tipping point, it may, perversely, come to be seen as the 'moderate'
voice of Islam. That is, it may replace those that you think are moderates (I remain
radically unconvinced that this group exists in any meaningful political sense, regardless
of their numbers).
Indeed, if PRI is seen to rise in influence, then I expect it to have a marked
if gradual effect, or gravitational pull, on those forces you think are genuinely 'moderate'.
And if this happens it will be seen, too late, that 'moderate' Islam was only the Moslem
counterpart to the "flaccid" portion of the West all along.
In other words, whichever "flaccid" portion of each civilization toughens
up first, and most intelligently, may be decisive for the overall outcome.

Here's a radical idea, which will undoubtedly seem preposterous at first glance.
I think there should be a major campaign to SHAME Islam into genuinely and
openly either embracing its violent core, or convincingly renouncing its profoundly
anti-civilized, barbaric violence, i.e. all violence directed as a matter of religious duty
against civilians of any religion or society, including of course Moslem civilians,
like the cannon fodder for hyperviolent Islam in Iraq and elsewhere.
It seems truly shameful to me that there is no organized outcry, at either the
religious or political leadership or 'street' level in the Moslem world, against
Zarqawi's violence, and a foolishly lost political opportunity that this
absence isn't shouted from the rooftops in the West. In the absence of
Moslem protest at this type of Moslem violence against Moslems, no Moslem
or misplacedly tolerant Westerner who dares say that Islam stands for Peace
or non-violence, should go unchallenged.

No one I know has been better than you at pointing out the weasely and
unscrupulous way most Moslem organizations appear to denounce violence,
and claim it has nothing to do' with the 'real' Islam, while their actual theology and
fine print says and means nothing of the kind.
The only problem is that I see this same weaseliness and opportunistic
disengenuousness, albeit in a different form, in the comments of so-called
moderate Moslem leaders and opinion mongers, whereas you, for some mysterious
reason, take what they say at face value.

It seems clear that no amount of logic or outrage, and no level of violence
engaged in by the West SO FAR*, is going to deter the suicide bombers, or alter their
But what if the whole religion is sought to be exposed as having an irreducible
bedrock of violence? After all, the dominant strain of Islam in the 'holiest' sites of
Islam is utterly controlled by the hyperintolerant Wahabiism, which has flourished
unobstructed and unchallenged for a quarter of a millenium.
Since with both violent and 'merely' political extremist Islam, the West already
has the 'name' of opposing Islam, why not play the 'game', and stopped being ourselves
SHAMED out of not playing it, i.e. shamed into fighting this great planetary geopolitical
challenge with one hand - and that the strongest hand - tied behind our back.
What a perverse and ironic result to have imposed on ourselves!
Just how to do carry out a shaming campaign is subject to later comment. Ron Thompson

* By no means do I think 'taking out' Mecca should be taken off the table, or regarded
as beyond the pale of thought.
Here's one of several reasons. It has long amazed me that Jerusalem as the 3rd
'holiest' place of Islam either matches or (with all forms of radical Islam) trumps
Jerusalem as the 1st (and almost only) holy place of Judaism.
How did the West allow either version of this mindset to take root?
Thus if radical Islam (assuming, which I don't, that either violent or political islam
is that different from so-called moderate Islam) can talk of obliterating the State of Israel,
I don't think a categorical military response of the same nature to Mecca and Medina
should be automatically declared unthinkable.

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