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Reply to Pipes' reply to Rick H.

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:
in response to reader comment: Your audience doesn't believe you

Submitted by Archimedes2 (Canada), Dec 11, 2006 at 04:08


I don't think your characterization of the naysayers as being of the "Islam-Is-Evil variety" is helpful here. I personally struggle to avoid outright and absolute vilification of this religion -- I'm hardly even interested in it on this level, and I know many peaceful, non-Islamist muslims. But I cannot read the Islamic source documents or the commentary of Islamic scholars or the implications of the daily news without a shudder. We are dealing with a problem that goes much deeper than a few, or even millions, of renegade religionists with an unfortunate interpretation of Islam.

I called, in an earlier post, for you and Robert Spencer to try to reach some sort of consensus on this matter precisely because he appears to have an unassailable point: That Islamists, and especially the violent Islamists, seem to be far more orthodox in their adherence to Islam, than those we call moderates. Where is the hole in his logic? Do you believe his scholarship of Islam is faulty?

What you are observing is a shift of a large number of online users toward buying into his analysis over those who say that some baddies need to be rooted out of an otherwise basically good religion. Spencer does not condemn this faith outright as evil: He only points out the various connections between mainstream islamic thought and jihadism in the world today, and invites muslims to engage in reasoned dialogue with him about these connections and how to address the problem of Islamism. If Spencer was wrong one would expect him to be met by *someone* with a reasoned and scholarly argument to this effect, perhaps on the same level as his own writings. But he is met with baseless accusations against his character and scholarhip, outright denial, and flimsy attempts, by those who style themselves as moderates, at deconstructing his straightforward, almost facile, portrayal of what is taught in Islam ... instead of an aggressive campaign to actually reform the faith into something that can live peacefully in a pluralistic society.

The most outspoken of these "moderates", as you know, belong to groups like CAIR that follow a thinly veiled Islamist agenda and are far and away more interested in sanitizing the image of Islam among the Kafir of the west (and promoting their own ascendency among their coreligionists) -- more than likely for strategic reasons -- than in rooting out the cancer in the Ummah itself. I think you are watching the natural evolution of westerners as they slowly wake up to this reality. As one who is already awake, you of all people should understand this shift.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

Robert Spencer and I have discussed the perceived differences in our view of Islam. He and I concluded that, although we have different emphases - he deals more with scriptures, I more with history - we have no disagreements.

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