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Apples, Oranges, Prunes

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March
in response to reader comment: What makes a Muslim a moderate?

Submitted by Alo (Saudi Arabia), May 10, 2007 at 12:43

Pat -

1. "You say that the majority of Muslims are moderate, but compared to what?"

Well, compared to Muslim members of Al-Qaida, for one. Most Muslims are not members of Al-Qaida.

2. "Will the majority of Muslims accept (not just accept, but willingly accede to) being ruled by anyone other than a Muslim?"

Happens all the time. Look at Muslims in Britain, the USA, Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, China and so on. They are all ruled by non-Muslims. They "accede" to this situation because, at least in western countries, they emigrated to those (Christian) countries willingly, knowing full well that they would be "ruled" by non-Muslims. So to answer your question: yes, they will accept and willingly accede to being ruled by non-Muslim.

The problem arises with 2nd and 3d generation of these "reticent" and "huddled" immigrants.

3. But - and here I fear to tread on tender toes - the problem with these 2nd and 3d generations has very little to do with "religion"……it has to do with race. Because by the time they reach early adulthood, these 2nd & 3d generation suddenly realize that they will never be fully accepted into mainstream society…..not because of what they believe, but because of who they are.

4. You can pass all the "politically correct" laws you want but the fact of the matter is that if you are a non-Caucasian (in the West), you will always be considered a second-class "citizen", Condoliza Rice notwithstanding.

5. To take one example: for centuries, the Arabs fought against Ottoman rule. Why? The Ottomans were Muslims after all, so supposedly, they should have been perfectly content to live under Ottoman rule. Well, they weren't….and I'll tell you why……it was because the Ottomans were Turks, not Arabs…..had nothing to do with "religion".

6. I know this sounds atavistic, boorish, uneducated. trailer-trashy and even evil. But it is a dimension that is at the heart of the "Islamic" problem (and not just Islamic).

(This, by the way, explains the sudden and recent "conversion" of Dinesh D'Souza from "conservative" to "Muslim apologist"….see his recent book "The Enemy at Home". The poor man has been a huge literary success during his active years, but, well, he was never really accepted in what used to be called "polite" society….he just doesn't have the proper, well, the proper "blood-line".

7. This dimension is also at the heart of the "insults" and "humiliations" that Muslims go on and on about constantly. It is at the heart of the problems with Muslims in France….and Britain and so on. And it is not just race…..it is equally as much about sex, but I'm not going to dilate on that here.

No one dares say any of this, of course, at least not publically, particularly if you hold public office, but there you are.

8. There is another side to this dimension which does have to do with "religion"…..but not religion as a belief system….rather religions as a daily practice. Westerners tend to mock and ridicule Muslim ritual practices. I don't want to go into this here either…..(someday I'll write a book where I will go into all this), but it is also a fact.

9. "Would they accept the building of a new church or synagogue in their neighborhood?"

Again, happens all the time……..a new cathedral (!) is supposedly being built in Doha, Qatar (one of the Gulf countries), and almost every Muslim country has both churches and synagogues.

10. The bottom line: The dimensions and politics of race and sex have almost completely been ignored in explaining the rise of militant Islam. What part they in fact have played is open to question……but I think it is a very big part.

Sayyid Qutb, one of the intellectual precursors of the rise of militant Islam, returned from his studies in the US "aghast" at what he had seen there….but what he was really aghast at was that in the US, he was totally ignored as a "funny little man from some Arab country" who wasn't in the least bit attractive to the opposite sex and so on.

He probably spent most of his time in a dingy little rooming house, mocked at by his roommates and eating cat food from cans to survive. Except for the cat food, a lot of this is also true of our dearly beloved Osama Bin Laden.

You can take only so much of this and then you explode.

"Islam" is the "occasion" or the "setting" for all these problems. But it's not Islam the religion but Islam as a daily way of life that's the issue.

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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