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Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism
in response to reader comment: To all conservatives

Submitted by Sidda (United States), Feb 15, 2006 at 16:17

Hi filipino liberal, thanks for the reply. I would just like to address a couple of the points you brought up.

I am Catholic too. I grew up in the church after Vatican II, but I know from talking to the elders that things were different pre-Vatican II. But, as you say, there were reforms within the Church which lead to a new spirit of ecumenism and respect for different religious traditions. However, the reason we were able to do this is because it was not forbidden within Christian scripture to ask questions. It is not so within Islam. It is forbidden for Muslims to criticize Islam or Mohammed and apostacy can be punished by death. Muslims who have left the faith do not talk about it and if they write about it cannot use their real names. Also, there is no separation of mosque and state within pure Islam. It is not simply a religion, but a comprehensive POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND SOCIAL belief system as well as a religious one.

Yes, fundamentalist Christians take a literal interpretation of the Bible. But, here's the difference: Jesus did not divide the world between the believer and unbeliever and make it the Christian's duty to wage war on people until they converted or agreed to live in subjugation. Just to make it simple: would you rather be gay in America or Saudi Arabia? In the Catholic church, while homosexual lifestyle is considered "disordered" we are taught to love and care for them just as any other of our brothers or sisters. Just because one, from a religious perspective, does not embrace homosexuality as a lifestyle, it does not mean that you cannot still love and respect the person, i.e., hate the sin, love the sinner. Just because a fundamentalist Christian is not "down" with gay marriage, does not mean they hate gays and want them dead. But in Islam, homosexuality is punishable by death, there is no tolerance for it; you know that. In Holland a Muslim cleric was deported for advocating that gays be killed by being thrown off the roof of tall buildings. I kid you not. There is no comparison. Yes, there are extremists in every group, but this group seems to have more than their share.

Along the same lines, I will put the fundamentalist Christians in the same category as fundamentalist Muslims when I see Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson exhorting their followers to behead people, strap bombs onto themselves, or fly planes into buildings in the name of Christianity. There is just no moral equivalence.

By saying this struggle against Islamofascism is 21st century civilization against 7th century totalitarian belief system, I am not saying that the West is "better" because it is not only those in the West who would suffer if the radicals were to win. Anyone who does not agree with their interpretation of Islam would suffer, that includes Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, atheists/agnostics, pagans, and even other Muslims who do not agree with them. They slaughtered thousands of Muslims in Algeria who did not go along with them; they are as we speak killing black Muslims in Darfur (after having slaughtered the Christians in the South). They do not care what your political affiliation is and they only care about your religion in as much as you do not believe EXACTLY as they do. Look at what the Taliban did to the people in Afghanistan who did not share the draconian Taliban beliefs; those people couldn't get rid of the Taliban fast enough. Surely you can see this.

As to the groups like the KKK, Aryan Nations, and the black and latino supremacist (yes, they aren't all white!) groups, they are marginalized in this country. They are not given air time on tv, they do not have thousands or millions of rabid followers. They are not supported by our government, nobody has fund raisers for them. You cannot compare with what goes on in the Middle East. If the KKK ran as a political party, do you really think Americans would vote them in? Hamas anyone? Yes, bigotry and racism is present in all societies; it is a sad fact of the human race. But we have laws against discrimination in the U.S. I don't want to hear about what happened 300, 200, 100, or even 50 year ago. Yes, we had slavery in the U.S. and we also fought a war to end it. There is no more slavery in the U.S. But there is in the Sudan TODAY.

Now for my last point. Maybe because I am a political centrist I have a different perspective than someone who identifies as either a conservative or liberal. I tend to look at issues from a practical viewpoint, gather as much information as possible and then decide which position I take. Sometimes I decide that the conservatives make more sense, sometimes the liberals do. What I am saying is that I do not reject on the basis of ideology what someone has to say. Just because someone is a liberal, does not mean that all of their ideas are wrong; nor are they always wrong because they are conservative. It is called keeping an open mind. I think this is a mistake a lot of people make. They start out with a preconceived idea dictated by their ideology and then bend everything to fit their ideology. They also demonize those with whom they disagree.

So, maybe Mr. Pipes is conservative in his political views; that does not mean he is not right in a lot of what he says about Islam. I have read the Quran, hadiths, and siras. There are some real problems there for fitting into the 21st century unless it reforms. Even other Muslims like Irshad Manji admit this. Any Muslim, such as Salman Rushdie, who dares to criticize Islam is under threat of death. I don't have to have a two by four hit me over the head to know there's something wrong with that. Radical Islam poses a direct threat to me and my country. Forgive me if I am more concerned about the danger that radical imams and Al Qaeda poses to my well being than I am about Jerry Falwell. I want to eradicate this threat first; then I will worry about politics.
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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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