Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purging the Islamaphobes

In the greater scheme of things, few would consider Dean Esmay a leading conservative voice. But he is the proprietor of Dean’s World, one of the most-read group blogs on the center-right. And he’s just tackled head-on an issue that may become a huge point of conflict within the conservative movement: Islamaphobia.

A few days ago, Dean drew a line in the virtual sand and purged all front-page writers and all commentors who refused to abide by these five points:

1) Islam does not represent the forces of Satan or the Anti-Christ bent on destruction of the Christian world.

2) There is no 1,400 year old "war with the West/Christianity" being waged by Muslims or anyone else.

3) Islam as a religion is no more inherently incompatible with modernity, minority rights, women's rights, or democratic pluralism than most religions.

4) Medieval, anachronistic, obscure terms like "dhimmitude" or "taqiyya" are suitable for polite intellectual discussion. They are not and never will be appropriate to slap in the face of everyday Muslims or their friends.

5) Muslims have no more need to prove that they can be good Americans, loyal citizens, decent people, or enemies of terrorism than anyone else does.

He’s right. He’s right on all five points whether or not he’s right to cast out those who disagree (I’m not one for purges but it’s his blog and there are far worse reasons to cast people out).

Here’s the crux of it: Islam is not the cause of terror anymore than Christianity was the cause of the Spanish Inquisition. Islam is a tool being used by evil men who desire total power at any price. Religion is problematic that way. Ancient texts are easily abused, meanings easily warped, taken out of context and applied wrongfully to the modern world.

Don’t agree? Let me ask you this: do you believe there are Muslims who have no bloodlust and no plan (secret of otherwise) to forcibly convert us all? If yes, then you have to accept that Islam is indeed compatible with modernity and can be practiced free of violence. If no, then you have to claim that every non-violent Muslim is not a real Muslim. And who are you to make that claim? It’s fallacious on every level.

Look, the problem with Nazism was the Nazis, not the German people. The problem with Soviet communism was the Soviet communists, not the Russian people. And the problem with radical Islam is the radical Islamists, not the Muslim believers. Yes all radical Islamists are Muslims but the equation doesn’t work in reverse. In many ways, the Muslim world is just as threatened by this death cult as are we in the West.

Combating the radical Islamists is already extremely difficult because they’ve wrapped their ideology in the trappings of religion. We do not need to make things any more difficult by accusing those not on the radical side of being incapable of coexisting with our values. Are we going to exterminate one of the world’s largest religions? Hell no. And there’s no sense even taking one step down any path that will result in such a profane conclusion.

Maybe Dean is wrong to effectively silence debate on the issue. But, then again, the end of this war can only come by forming alliances with and providing aide to moderate Muslims. Those who think otherwise really don’t leave much room for debate.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Moderate" muslims have not attempted to reform their society in the last thousand years. The grand irony of Islam is that many of the greatest advances in the history of mankind occurred in the cradle of civilization in the middle east, and yet the societies of the middle east, eg Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. have hardly changed in over a thousand years while western civilization has advanced dramatically. Why is that? Fundamentally - its a difference in the beliefs of man as evidenced by religion. The two competing houses of Islam ultimately have achieved the same result - societies that have not developed. Sure, they may have the trappings of modernity, but from a societal stand point nothing has changed. Therefore, you ask us to accept moderate muslims are peaceful and that we must work with them to achieve peace and stability in the middle east. And yet moderate muslims have not attempted to silence or reform their own religion. How frequently do muslims in America attempt integrate? Does this mean we are to assume that all muslims living in America are potential terrorits? No, but its troubling that people who wish to enjoy the liberties and freedoms of living in our society are so unwilling to embrace those same liberties and freedoms for their own society.

12:28 AM  

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