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Tying One Hand - and Perhaps the Stronger Hand - Behind One's Back

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Dec 5, 2006 at 15:29

I wholly agree with the opening paragraph of this article by Dan Pipes, and with most of what follows .. UNTIL I get to

"ONLY Muslims can undertake the formulation and spread of an Islam that is modern, moderate, democratic, liberal, good neighborly, humane, and respectful of women. ........ The success of moderate Islam represents the ONLY effective form of counterterrorism." (Emphasis added)

This seems to me a huge strategic mistake, and a dramatically self-disempowering error in the fight against global Islamic terror. It also seems to be exactly the same mistake we've made with the Palestinians for almost 60 yrs, and continue to make as I write, i.e. just waiting around mute and inert, waiting endlessly for some 'peace partner' to emerge from some supposedly moderate Palestinians.

We did not make this mistake with the Nazis, and we did not, at least after the election of Reagan, make it with the Soviets - although it could be argued we are trying to make this same mistake as Putin energetically goes about re-tyrannizing Russia (and murdering dissidents in our countries) while we stand around wringing our hands or 'hoping for the best'.

As it happens I think we have an excellent, if also ghastly, opportunity to reverse this dangerously mistaken idea of relying on some hypothetical "moderate" Islam.

I'm referring to what's going on in Iraq, which seems certain to get much worse before it gets the least bit better.

For months I have wondered where is the indignation, or even more, the SHAME at what's going on in Iraq, by Moslems.

We have a targeted, unlimited, and depraved killing of civilians, women, and children, almost all of them Muslims ..... by other Muslims. And nowhere in the Muslim world is there any protest - except against the US Army and other foreigners. No signed petitions, no peaceful protests, no editorials in the Muslim mass media of any country, no condemnations, NOTHING to indicate that any Muslims anywhere are ashamed of the acts being committed in Iraq in the name of Islam,

We have supinely put up with the spectacle of Muslim riots over the Danish cartoons - cartoons! - and further riots and even murder over the Pope's comments, i.e. the mordantly amusing irony of violence to protest the idea that Islam is inherently violent,

But no protest whatsoever over the behavior of both Sunnis and Shiites toward other Muslims in Iraq.

Where, I would ask, is Muslim SHAME at this despicable behavior by members, proudly self-identified as such, of both major branches of the Islamic religion? There is none.

Equally I would ask, where are those in the West of either the left or the right asking the question that "moderate" Muslims should be asking -- If they exist.

If there are no Muslims to address the problem of the horrific and depraved violence going on of Muslim against Muslim in Iraq, I submit it is a grave strategic error of the West to not be raising this issue with the Muslim world, instead of passing the problem onto a presumed type of Muslim .... who simply may not exist.

I have long had the suspicion that the majority of Muslims are, to a degree, passive Jihadists. That is, while they would never personally practice Jihad, they are actually rather proud of the impact Islam, through the behavior and globe-girdling threats of the Jihadists, is having on the world and especially the West.

If this is by any chance true, they can only be feeling contempt at those in the West who are rather pathetically calling out for the "moderates" to rise up and "take back" their religion. And perhaps a little insulted if it is also spelled out to them what form that supposedly "moderate" Islam should take.

Put another way, how much longer will the lunatic violence going on in Iraq and perhaps soon to spread in the region have to go on, or how much harder will they have to hit us in our own cities and countries, before we consider what should perhaps be obvious - that there is no such thing as "moderate" Islam when it comes to any sort of political violence by Muslims?

To realize, at long last, that there may be no alternative to finally taking up at least the verbal and intellectual challenge of a genuine clash of civilizations, i.e. a clash of bedrock values, starting with violence as a first resort [Islam] vs violence as a last or at least later resort [the West - despite Bush's 2003 war], is only the beginning of the work to be done.

As part of a campaign of self-defense, both physically and as a defense of our values, by trying to shame Islam, other questions would immediately rise once this basic decision has been taken.

For instance, I recently saw an article where an Iranian Ayatollah offerred his house to anyone who would kill a citizen of Iran - another Muslim - who had "insulted Islam." Is THAT something Muslims should be ashamed of? That the West should publicly and rather loudly take issue with?

Figures on the "honor" killings of women who get raped or run away from domestic beatings in many Islamic countries should be highlighted for discussion. Are Muslims proud of this as part of the core of their religion, or are they ashamed of it? If they condemn this vile behavior, then where are the clear condemnations of it, either on the 'Arab street' or in the Mass Media, such as Al-Jazeera?

And so on.

In short, when we will stop trying to fight this struggle with one hand carefully handcuffed behind our back - with, amazingly, the handcuff put on ... by ourselves?

Ron Thompson


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