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Apples and Oranges

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March

Submitted by Alo Kievalar (Saudi Arabia), May 8, 2007 at 14:41

Karachi, the largest city and once capital of Pakistan, can hardly be considered typical of Pakistan, any more than New York City is representative of the USA. Now if the demonstration Dr Pipes mentioned had taken place in Quetta or Peshawar near the Northwest Frontier, such a demonstration would have been significant.

Nevertheless, Dr Pipes' point is well taken: "moderate" Muslims do exist. (Below, I'll explain why I've put scare quotes around the term moderate).

Turkey is a completely different case altogether. Anyone visiting modern Turkey, at least the largest cities, will hardly be aware that Turkey is an Islamic country anymore than he might feel surrounded by "Islam" if he visited the Alhambra in modern day Spain.

Oh, Islam is there allright - mosques and so on all over the place - but it hardly imposes itself on you in the way it does in the Arab world.

A common refrain one hears about Turkey from the Islamists is: "Do we really want to go the way Turkey has gone?"

Muslim Arabs who have visited places such as Indonesia (another "Islamic" country) or the Muslim Balkans, or Malaysia and similar supposedly Muslim countries are prone to say: "Well, yes, they're apparently Muslim.....but not really...not like us".

What I'm saying is that Islam in the Arab world is very different from Islam in other Islamic countries.

Without going into great detail, one can say, with only slight exaggeration, that Islam in the Arab world hits you in the face the minute you step off of your arriving airliner.

Anyplace else, you almost have to go looking for Islam to find it. (People really familiar with the Arab world will know what I mean).

So, what occurs in places like Pakistan and Turkey (as far as events such as demonstrations), has little affinity nor does it reflect Islam in the Arab world (except occassionally).

My bottom line: stating that "moderate" Muslims exist is almost beside the point.

Without doubt, most Muslims (the vast majority who are not Arab) are definitely "moderate": "servile" would be too strong a term, but definitely, "retreating" and "reticent".

But they have no impact or influence over militant Arab Muslims who look upon non-Arab Muslims with disdain if not contempt.

Therefore, I still believe that the "Islamists", to use Dr Pipes' terminology, cannot be persuaded to change their ways, certainly not by their moderate brethern. They have to crushed military and completely. Only the West can do this.

The hundreds of millions of moderate Muslims - the vast majority who are really helpless peasants - will not - because they cannot - lift a finger in this battle.


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