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Source of Islamic terror?

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:

Submitted by Archimedes2 (Canada), Dec 5, 2006 at 20:05

I've been following both Daniel Pipe's analysis and Robert Spencer's. They both have a great deal of insight into the problems associated with islamic terrorism, but there appears to be a fundamental difference that will become problematic about the time someone tries to implement a "final solution" to Islamic Terrorism, such as Daniel proposes here.

Daniel says that Islam itself is not the problem -- just extract the politics and we'll be back to nice, peaceful, amicable relations: "This aggression results not from some perverse impulse to inflict damage for its own sake; nor does it flow from the religion of Islam, which just a generation ago did not inspire such murderousness. Rather, it results from political ideas."

Robert says quite the opposite. As laid out in his book "The Truth about Mohammed.." he makes a pretty strong case that Jihadism (and the less violent political Islamism) is not so much an abuse of mainstream Islam as an expression of it. Spencer stops short of declaring Islam to be unredeemable from the Islamist agenda, only that reform within Islam is necessary before the threat can be lessened. While Spencer's arguments are original, his data is not: he draws his material entirely from Islamic source documents and the teachings of contemporary supporters of Jihad. I would not presume to judge between these two emminent scholars.

My natural sympathies lie with Pipes, but I'm afraid that Spencer's passive analysis, just letting the data speak for itself, appears the stronger of the two. The reason I see this as an important divide is not that I believe there is a great distance between Pipes' camp and Spencer's, but that there are significant practical consequences between the two.

If Pipes is right then so is his call for action against the Jihad. If Spencer is right then a very different set of objectives must be pursued. Is it not time to straighten out, among those who speak for anti-Jihad, and those moderate muslims whose sympathies lie with us, to try to come to fundamental agreement on the nature of the problem before us? If we can arrive at even a rough consensus then "How to End Terrorism" may well be a relatively simple task. Maybe FPM would sponsor one of their symposia on this and feature leaders of the two camps seeking some common ground and presenting a defence of the two positions.


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