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Creativity and courage?

Reader comment on item: Two Germans vs. Islamism

Submitted by Timothy Halls (United States), Jan 3, 2006 at 12:48

Your somewhat positive comments about Mr. Sch√ľnemann's proposal frighten me as much as the Islamist cause frightens me.

I have just read the chapter in Sayyid Qutb's "Milestones" on Jihad, and the aggressiveness of the threat of Jihad by those who share his views is serious. While other chapters present real challenges to our western confusion about what is important for the future of mankind to which we must pay attention, his view of Jihad, apparently shared by Islamists, leaves very little space for "dialogue" with those who do not share his views about the cause that true believers must fight for.

Still I struggle a bit with your characterization of the "tag" tactic as "creative and courageous". The tagging reminded me of the Star of David that Jews were required to wear during the Third Reich. It must have sounded reasonable and correct to those who considered themselves threatened by the evil that Jews could bring on Aryan society. In the same way, we today feel threatened by Jihadists. So we might be tempted think such tactics are justified. Somehow, though, it feels like they make us worse than the enemy. Rather than creative, it is pulling an old failed tactic out of the trash heap. Courageous? I wonder if it isn't the cowardly response of those whose world view doesn't offer any moral basis to offer an alternative that might be validated by some higher power.

Whether we are right in using a particular tactic when the Third Reich was wrong in using a similar tactic, only history will tell. If the real battleground is in the realm of "culture and ideas" as you say, is "tagging" a legitimate weapon or a closing of our ears to the real challenges? Is it not similar to the forced closing of the Muslim world to competing world-views and the tagging of non-Muslims as Dhimmi's?

For too long the west has imitated the tactics of Islam. Do we not have a moral base on which to offer something better?
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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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You apparently missed a subtle distinction. Sch√ľnemann did not propose tagging all Muslims, just Islamists, adherents of a totalitarian ideology.

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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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