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Religion and politics

Reader comment on item: Documentary Exposes Radical Muslim Rhetoric

Submitted by j (United States), Feb 7, 2007 at 09:03

Daniel Pipes is right on the money this time. The biggest danger is "working the system." Obtaining a legitimate stronghold in the governance of a place is far more powerful ultimately then the threat of inflicting violence. Truth of the matter is that everyone already knows this, that's why wars are being fought to impose democracy on countries where the rule of law does not prevail.

But there's a difference that the article explains, on a basic level we despise the hate speech, the encouragement for others to use violence. It is a two tiered problem then. One is outrage at the blatantly hateful rhetoric, which should be addressed by the rule of law, the other is the ascension of an ever-increasing group of people with values that differ from others. Unfortunately, values are subject to the popularity of a movement and its numbers.

Without making a comparison between the US Christian right and radical Islamists, it is still possible to use the recent dominance of the Christian Right in US politics as an example. US citizens need go no further than the ascension of George Bush on the shoulders of the Conservative Christian Right. Sure, every conservative Christian is angry right about now, but this is well known. This ascension was done through legitimate means and, as shown in our recent elections, 50% of our population (or more) are not behind George Bush and his politics. Our protection is the rule of law, and our governmental process, though here too, we see that leadership strongly influences what is "legal." (For example, few in the US thought there would be a push by the Federal government to have a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage). From faith-based school programs to new exceptions carved out to citizens' fourth amendment rights, the US should serve as an example of how far things can go when religious groups and ideologies "work the system." But as long as activities are "legal" within a system, the system itself provides some protection such as elections and laws.

This is the main issue regarding the article, the activities and speeches going on in Mosques that seem to be crossing legal lines in advocating overthrow, violence and mayhem. But where is the application of laws to the advocacy of illegitimate means of attaining power?

In the US, advocating the commission of felonies is an actionable offense as is any clear intent vis a vis the possession of weapons or plans to inflict destruction. The US also has hate crimes laws. I don't think anyone still believes that the right to freedom of speech is absolute; most high school students know that you can't yell fire in a crowded theater.

In the case of these established mosques, neither the locations nor the individuals are mysterious and unknown, prosecute them the same way another citizen would be prosecuted.

Submitting....

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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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