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Radical Islam is just Islam, pure and simple.

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

Submitted by Caesar M. Arevalo (United States), Feb 4, 2007 at 01:19

Dr. Pipes participation in London was brilliant. I agree when he said,"I reject the ‘clash of civilization' argument…The problem is not so much a clash of civilizations, but a clash of civilization and barbarism." He is right on this point, however, I find disturbing the distinction between "radical" Islam and Islam.

First of all, Dr. Pipes quotes the Bible, Quran, the US Declaration of Independence, and the French Constitution to support the long history of civilization in the world. The problem with those four quotes is that they all contradict each other. The Bible and the Quran are religious texts, which contradicts each other theologically and created cultures that differ themselves in values and worldview. Faith in the Judeo-Christian God brought a civilization of progress, justice, and human rights. Faith in Allah, brought repression, totalitarianism, and barbarism.

Islam history is a continual clash between Judeo-Christian civilization and Islamic barbarism. The US Declaration of Independence and the French Constitution are political expressions based on different philosophies of government. The Declaration of Independence recognizes the principle that our political and social freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness come from the Creator, the Judeo-Christian God. The French constitution, instead, is atheist and secular in essence.

The fundamental point of discussion, however, is the false distinction between Islam and the so-called "radical Islam," between Islam as religion and Islam the ideology called "Islamism." This distinction is purely political and subjective. If radical Islam is the ideology, then the religion of Islam is radical, because it is the teaching of Islam that promotes suicide bombers, blowing up buildings, murder for insulting Mohammed, and calling for the destruction of Israel, USA, and Europe. Islam is ideology and religion, plain and simple.

Another issue related to this topic is the idea of an existent "extremist utopian version of Islam." But that claim adds more confusion than clarity. What is the difference between the utopian version of Islam and the "extremist" utopian version of Islam? Who in the Muslim world follows the utopian version of Islam and who follows the "extremist" version of Islam? Which version of Islam the Quran supports? When does the practice and interpretation of the Quran make Islam "extreme"? Who set the boundaries in Islam so whoever crosses that line makes Islam "extreme"? Is Wahhabism the "extreme" expression of Islam? Is the Suni version of Islam, the "extreme one"? Or it is the Shi'a version of Islam the "extreme" Islam? Is "extremism" to obey literally what Muhammed says in the Quran? What is the real interpretation of the more than four hundred verses in the Quran that calls for violence against non-Muslims?

I am not so sure if the "modern" reading of Islam is being reading in a very unusual way as Dr. Pipes claims. That would imply that there is another way of reading Islam, which is not "modern and unusual." So, who, in the Muslim world, can tell us how to read the Quran in the "old way" and not in the "modern and unusual" way? Is Osama Bin Laden and Palestinian terrorists reading the Quran in a very "unusual and modern" way? If so, who can convince the billions of Muslims around the world that Osama bin Laden and other Muslim terrorists are wrong in their interpretation of Islam? Would the Muslim world listen to the "moderates"?

History and current events show that there is not such thing as "radical" Islam as oppose to Islam. Modern Muslims are doing Jihad not because they are radical, but because they are taking seriously the Muslim faith. All the history of Islam is full of detailed and specific events of violence, murder, invasion, pillage, rape, destruction, and the imposition of Islam on non-Muslim people by force and violence. Islam of today is just reclaiming its historical roots. The idea of personal faith in Islam is different from Christianity and Judaism. Islam dominates every detail of the life of Muslims. This is evident in the case of apostates. When someone decides to leave Islam, the price of his/her decision is death.

Actually, a true "radical" Islam would be, in words of Dr. Pipes, "a modern, moderate, democratic, humane, liberal, and good neighborly…respectful of women, homosexuals, atheists, whoever else. One that grants non-Muslims equal rights with Muslims." But I don't hold my breath.

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