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Question for Dr. Pipes

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

Submitted by Noah Wilk (United States), Feb 4, 2007 at 07:08

Dr. Pipes,

I keep hearing you speak of siding with the so-called "moderate forces" in Islamic society. However, I fail to see proof of any sort of significant numbers of these "mythological moderates", as I refer to them. Could you please cite some examples to back your claim(s)?

Again, in America there are (according to the most accurate estimates, and to which you have agreed in previous columns) about 2 million Muslims in America. Even if one-half of one percent (0.5%) of them were interested in reforming their religion, we would expect to see approximately 10,000 of them marching, demonstrating, and reclaiming their religion.

Yet, as you yourself posted on a blog entry or article from 2002, there was a rally for Muslims in Arizona (a community of about 50,000 Muslims), in order to provide them a chance to demonstrate against Islamic terror. Less than 400 people showed up despite widespread advertising and promotion, and some estimates are as low as 250 people, with most of them being white college kids waving anti-war signs. All this was published right here on your website. That comes to only 0.5% to 0.8% attendance by Muslims if every attendee was Muslim, which was obviously not the case. We can probably safely assume only about half of them were Muslim, which gives us an attendance rate of about 0.25% (one-quarter of one percent). Are you claiming this is a significant demographic?

So once again, where are you seeing all these mythological moderate Muslims? What causes you to believe they exist?

Can you provide evidence of any Islamic society in the world being transformed from within by so-called moderates? All the so-called "moderate" Muslim states are teeming over with hatred for the West. As a Pew Center Poll pointed out, 86% of Jordanians favor suicide bombings against Israelis and 70% of them favored suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq. Most polls are showing roughly 50% favoring violence.

Next, you wrote in this article:

"I would argue to you, ladies and gentlemen, it must be fought and must be defeated as in 1945 and 1991, [applause] as the German and the Soviet threats were defeated."

I would ask you to look back at how we destroyed Nazism in 1945 and how we finally won against the Soviets in 1991. In 1945 we had fire-bombed entire cities (Dresden, etc). We basically reduced Germany to rubble, along with any men, women, and children who got in the way. We did not use "surgical strikes", we did not target only "insurgents", we did not negotiate, and we did not engage in dialogue. We bombed them into the stone age and we slaughtered them. We reduced their entire country, civilians as well as military, to rubble. We broke them totally and demanded unconditonal surrender. It was, obviously, quite brutal. Likewise with the Japanese in WWII.

We did not engage with "moderate Nazis", nor did we differentiate between Nazis and Germans. If you were German, you were a legitimate target! We did not invent euphemistic terms to deal with them in order to avoid "offending" Germans. We did not refer to them as "Nazists", "Radical Germans", "Nazist insurgents", or "Fundamentalist Germans/Nazis". We called them all "Krauts" (a derogatory term) and we killed them.

Likewise with the case of the Soviets up until 1991. We had a policy of M.A.D. (Mutual Assured Destruction). We told them straight out that any attack on the USA would result in the immediate launching of a barrage of nuclear missile that would wipe their civilization off the face of the earth for all time. Once again, this approach is unrelated to our current stance against Islam.

So if you are saying that Islam (or as you refer to it, "Islamism") must be defeated as we defeated Nazi Germany in 1945 and the Communist Soviets in 1991, then what you must be advocating (if you acknowledge historical reality) is a massive attack against Islam itself...targetting men, women, and children, targetting population centers, firebombing their cities, and crushing them into rubble until we obtain an unconditional surrender. You would be advocating nuclear strikes on their cities (ala Japan in WWII) and you would be advocating a policy of nuclear deterrence (ie simply "assured destruction" in this case) against them. Because that is indeed how we dealt with and defeated these threats in 1945 and 1991...not by dividing them into illusionary sub-groups, using "non-offensive" euphemistic language, and encouraging "dialogue" with the "moderates" among them.

It's an illogical contradiction to claim that we should deal with the enemy today as we dealt with the enemy in 1945 and 1991, and then in the next sentence advocate the exact opposite of what we actually did in order to win in those earlier battles.

Next, you wrote:

"Our goal must be, in this case, the emergence of Islam that is modern, moderate, democratic, humane, liberal, and good neighborly. And that it is respectful of women, homosexuals, atheists, whoever else. One that grants non-Muslims equal rights with Muslims."

And I will ask you as I have asked others on this forum...how about some details? How are you going to accomplish this lofty and unrealistic goal? The so-called Palestinians had a chance to vote in a reform group and instead they voted in terrorist group Hamas, a group that still calls for the complete destruction of Israeland who are instituting Sharia law. They had elections in now (supposedly) "democratic" Afghanistan, and they voted for Sharia law and just a few months back tried to hang a man for the "crime" of converting from Islam to Christianity. The Islamic Brotherhood is gaining power in Egypt, and Hezbollah virtually controls Lebanon. iraq's constitution specifies that it cannot contradict Sharia law. When Muslims get the chance to vote, they tend to vote for violent terrorist groups and Sharia. So where are all these mythological moderates who are going to transform Islam, and why aren't we seeing more than the odd exception to the rule every now and then?

I simply cannot agree with an approach that presumes the existence of something for which we have no compelling evidence, and which is unprecedented in Islam.

This challenge is likewise open to anyone who agrees with Dr. Pipes' article and who wishes to participate in the discussion by backing these claims.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

I have supplied names of moderates many times - indeed, have a whole bibliography devoted to this.

On your final point, just as I would have favored of destroying the Nazis but not the Germans, so I would crush the Islamists, not the Muslims.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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