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Well done Mr. Pipes, but one could be even more specific

Reader comment on item: Bush Declares War on Radical Islam

Submitted by Ari (United States), Oct 13, 2005 at 11:20

It is true, Bush did distinguish Radical Islam from Islam in general, but only by adressing Radical Islam's objectives (dominance, suppression, destruction, etc.), not by addressing the source for those objectives. The real source for these objectives is not America, Israel, repressive Arab regimes, or poverty--it is a literal and perverse interpretation of the Prophet Mohammad. According to Radical Islam, and what is preached in many Mosques and reflected on PA TV is that Mohammed said A and B so you should do C---he said there shall be no other religion but Islam, that you must kill infidels, that jews are evil transgressors, that it is o.k. to lie in peace treaties if the treaty is with an infidel and lying is to enhance the position of muslims.

So why is it important to communicate the real source of Radical Islam rather than it's objectives? Because to defeate the objectives of Radical Islam requires military reaction, which by default means it is left to America and Israel to combat, while the source is a problem for moderate muslims who have had their faith hijacked. Moderate muslims do not share Radical Islam's objectives, but they do share Mohammad. If we frame the issue in this way as something more specifically shared, it may force moderate muslims into the picture more. Only moderate muslims can lead the overhaul of interpretation of Mohammad, and vociferous condemnation from them can do to Radical Islam what other nations are trying to do, but quicker, cheaper and with much less killing. If the term Radical Islam continues to be used alone, I fear it lacks enough distinction and allows muslims to say "See, you have a problem with Islam." But if one frames the issue around interpretation of Mohammad it shows more respect and a more incisive distinction.

As an ex advertising man, I have tremendous respect for the possibility to shape perception and inspire action with the words we choose to frame an issue. In his intercepted letter to Zarqawi, Zahwahiri himself mentions the battle for the hearts and minds of muslims. It is crucial that all of us, especially politicians and moderate muslims, communicate the real issue effectively if we are to succeed in demonstrating how Radical Islam's use and misuse of Mohammad's words from the 7th century has lead to its untenable position today, and that the responsibility for that position is with it's followers, not with any government or any other religion.

Thank you for work and insights Mr. Pipes...the dialogue needs you.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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