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The Muslim Civil War

Reader comment on item: How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims [by Leading to a Separation of Civilizations]

Submitted by Morey Altman (Canada), Feb 15, 2006 at 16:49

We seem to be dealing with several issues: Muslims not willing to acculturate into society-at-large, and Islamic fundamentalists bent on re-shaping the world.

There may be, as Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia has said, a "huge chasm" between the Muslim world and the West, but there's probably a larger divide between Arab hardliners and mainstream Moslems truly searching for a better life in the West. I'm encouraged by a number of small but significant developments outside the Arab (speaking) world such as:

"The volatility of Muslims today is not because there is too much Islam in our hearts but because there is too little." (Fareena Alam, editor of Q-News, the Muslim magazine) http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1707922,00.html

I would certainly agree with Nonie Darwish of arabsforisrael.com and Irshad Manji (The Trouble with Islam) who both insist that a tiny minority of extremists have essentially hijacked the Moslem agenda around the world. The challenge for Western nations is to find ways of upholding the rights of Moslems without playing into the hands of extremists who wish to topple democratic governments, not work with them.

Ordinary Moslems are only beginning to grasp that the problem IS internal. It may come down to an Islamic civil war, if liberal Moslems in Westernized nations like Turkey and Malaysia are prepared to stand up to the extremists in their midst, and fanatical Arab governments are challenged from within.

Frankly, I don't believe it will happen. Things are likely to get much worse before they get better. We're still not standing up to extremists; and, it's going to take a lot more backbone and resolve than we may have. The litmus test is going to be our handling of Iran's nuclear program, starting with the outcome of deliberations by the UN Security Council. If Iran escapes unscathed from this state of global opprobrium, I swear all hell will break loose. We've been too weak for too long.


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