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The distinction between radical Islam and Islam as a religion is artificial

Reader comment on item: Debate in London: Radical Islam vs. Civilization

Submitted by Michael (Austria), Feb 1, 2007 at 15:14

Professor Pipes!

I think you are either guilty of wishful thinking or you're playing the game of political correctness.

Your three listed features of "radical Islam" are not so radical. They reflect traditional Muslim thought. Concerning the first, that radical Islam wants to reinstate shari'a, I grant you that there are plenty of Muslims who prefer western laws to shari'a. They are not, however, serious about their religion. Please tell me how someone can claim to be a good Muslim and still reject shari'a.

Concerning your second feature, how can a good Muslim reject the basic distinction between dar al-islam and dar al-harb? This is so much a part of traditional Muslim thought, with the dar al-sulh only being a temporary status accorded to peoples while the Muslims gather their strength for resuming the jihad at a future time.

In your third feature, Islam was never merely a personal faith. The attachments to the community are very strong and the shari'a penalty for apostasy is death.

I'm sure you know all this Professor Pipes. Were you just being polite?

Most Muslims are not extremists, but I think this is because they have enough personal decency and common sense to subtly reject the more repugnant precepts of their religion. In times of religious stagnation, the rest of the world is safe from Islam. It's only when they have a revival and more Muslims begin taking their religion seriously that they cause problems for themselves and the rest of the world.

Submitting....

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