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Where does the leadership of Islam come from?

Reader comment on item: Israel's Partial Victory
in response to reader comment: Defeat of Islamist is on the Horizon?

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Nov 16, 2022 at 23:08

Dear Dr Pipes,

Reader Robert presented the thesis that Israel's enemy is Islamism and the leadership of Islamism is in Gaza, Turkey, and Iran. The point of view presented by Robert is an interesting one. I do not agree with Robert's thesis but it forced me to think in a direction in which I had never thought before.

I often say that the original author of Islam franchised its violent methods to individual (Muslim) believers. When it comes to violence, every Muslim is eligible to wage a violent war. In this sense there is no concentrated leadership in Islam. And, I do not think that the leadership of Islamism resides in Gaza, Turkey or Iran. But this only explains the violence in Islam. There is more to Islamism than just violence.

Is Islam indeed a people's movement without no center(s) of leadership? How do all Muslims around the world unify to oppose Israel? How do most of them agree that Salman Rushdie needs to be violently punished? How do all Muslims agree that all wars if independence waged by Muslims are legitimate? How do all Muslims agree that not even one of them should question the existence of Islamic nations in the world (when all other nations are expected to be democracies)? Who issues the rallying cry? Where is the call coming from? Why doesn't any Muslim stand up in revolt?

I do not have an answer. I do not think Muslims in India directly take directions from Turkey/Gaza/Iran. Likewise, the Muslims in other parts of the world. Who provides the leadership to Muslims? Who is leading the Indian Islamism if Turkey/Iran/Gaza are not?

Why Islam works the way it does is something that psychologists must study. How can we replicate the Islamic phenomenon in a different nation with a different religion and for 14 centuries? I do not know the answer.


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