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How do we trust them?

Reader comment on item: Bolstering Moderate Muslims
in response to reader comment: Dr. Pipes - Please Define Your Terms

Submitted by Pat (United States), Apr 17, 2007 at 20:08

"This asymmetry in organization and resources explains why radicals, a small minority in almost all Muslim countries, have influence disproportionate to their numbers."

Is it possible that there is a simpler reason for this influence?

How many Muslims are just sitting on the fence, prepared to fall in line behind the winner? This doesn't make them evil and it doesn't mean they are all that moderate. For instance, Iranian ex-patriates tell us that Iranians long for better relations with the US but all we see or hear from most Iranians is "death to America". They'll go along with whichever side wins.

What happened in Iran in 1986? Weren't we told that there was a bloc of 'moderates' who were dissatisfied with the Khomeini government and wanted better relations with the US? We know how that turned out. We also have Ahmad Chalabi and the INC, who told Dick Cheney that Iraqis were waiting to welcome us into Iraq. It boils down to trust, and trust has been broken. How do we trust them?

Maybe they need to learn the words of Edmund Burke: evil only prospers when good people do nothing. Either the moderates are willing to confront the radicals or they're not. If they believe what they say then they have to be willing to take risks to get their message out. They have to establish their own credibility among their fellow Muslims. We can't do it for them. What good does it do to build moderate networks in the West when the problem originates in the Middle East and Asia? Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to spread their venom. Are we expected to buy the friendship of the Muslim world? Then of what value is it? If we can buy them, then others can too. They have to earn our trust. As I see it, they have a long road ahead of them.

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