Given the large amount of space that I have offered to the debate over the nature of Islam and the realities of what we are dealing with in policy and in politics…. I am thinking that I will have this post as an updated compendium of worthwhile articles to view on the topic. Like the Blog info post.
There are numerous brave voices who are delving into analysis of whether we can expect Muslims to moderate and what it would take for them to do so. There will also, no doubt, be more voices who enumerate the various human tragedies that are done in the name of Islam. This will be a collation of such information.
First on the list of reading:
- Is it Islamic “extremism” — or is it Islam itself?,So, is “radical Islam” a redundancy? -Bidinotto
- British Opinion Surveys from an Islamist Hell -Daniel Pipes
Relevant Posts on this site:
======updates and commentary======
In reading some personal comments in space given to the public in the BBC site in the UK, I came across two that speak of this conflict in ways that illuminate what is so hard about showing mercy and benefit to those devoted to Islam.
The first shows what a strong denial is manifest within a Muslim:
“This is the first time I have ever seen that media from the west would like to interact with Muslims and wants to share their views about how feel and think towards the west, and what are the differences between them. If we look to the Prophet Mohammed, he treated everyone with good faith and respect and fought the people who refused to let him speak and spread the word of Allah. After all what they did to him he forgave them with his big heart and good nature. The problem with the people in the west is they only listen to their media and their government and their propaganda against Islam. They should read and listen to our Scholars and what they have to say, and read the Qur’an. People in the west should know that we are not killers and not blood suckers, we only fight to defend our selves.
Bilal, London, UK (originally from Yemen)”
this writer obviously sincerely believes that Muslims are only acting in self-defense. There is no address of the offensiveness of terrorism. The second quote contrasts the sense of those in the West and those in Islamic countries. I think a strong point is made:
It’s perhaps more revealing to look at the difference between the Western and Islamic worlds as being cultural, not religious. The fear and hatred of America seems to be an amplified version of France’s fear of becoming Disney-fied. It is not that the West shows much interest in ‘invading’ Islamic markets. Rather that just the existence (reinforced by mass-communications) of a hedonistic society such as ours acts as an undermining force within the Islamic world. Especially among the young. The West is unlikely to radically change its culture. What, in that case, is the point of ‘understanding’ Islam? We are not troubled by Islam’s existence – it is Islam that is troubled by ours. Russia was able to pretend that the West was inferior, until the reality became impossible to ignore. The irony is that many of the tenets of Islam – the virtues of simplicity and family strength, for example – are what many in the West feel is missing in our society. Without a convincing demonstration of Islamic progress, however, it will be hard not to argue that Islam is at the moment looking backwards, while we look forwards.
Rupert Stubbs, UK
We are a threat because we exist, because we frame our lives with freedom. That will make us a threat to their system of practice. And we will, on that basis always be an affront to the Muslim, in the basic core of religion. And so we will be drawn into the vortex of Islam’s struggle within itself: the traditional historical Islam that swept through nations, and held merciless sway over the conquered, and the Islam which coexists with a West it disputes. The Sharia/ secular struggle of Islam has become our struggle, as we are seen as vectors of all that threatens Sharia, from our freedom for women, to our freedom of the press, to our cultural license. Our allowing of cultural license is perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back.
This throws the debate into a different corner. Have we brought things upon ourselves, in one sense, through our refusal to control ourselves…even as we fault the moderate and more moral Muslims? It is always true that if we will not govern ourselves, we will make way for tyrants who will. Did we, do we, think that we will get away with offending every moral sense of man, dismissing it lightly in our secular conversations, as mere relative and unproven standards? And expect no backlash from anyone that is outside our ability to control? The Americans very success in muting its own internal call for reining in the excess is perhaps one base for the Islamic world’s call to arms against us. It is one we could do something about.
Americans are highly incensed at such a thought. But such a thought must be entertained if it holds any truth. While putting out fires abroad, we would do well to clean up the source for such within our own basements. But this isn’t the source that the Liberal anti-war speakers desire. They don’t want to look at their own corruption and license as a possible contribution…. they, too, are looking outward, and passing the blame on down the line.
It is my contention that we cannot win the war on terror on force alone. We must win by attaining and maintaining the higher ground. This alone will stamp out the fires of it. We will have to enjoin the discussion of shoring up the foundational values and worthy goals that served America for its stability and integrity thus far. If we don’t we are doomed, and this is no different than the what the conservative sector has been saying. It is different in positioning only. It is now positioned as airing the dirty laundry…. as if we could maintain our preferred image amongst outsiders simply by not naming the unmentionable.