I’m driven to comment on author/scholar Daniel Pipes’writings (and beliefs) about the nature of Islam. He has a view of Muhammad’s life and bellicose influence on his modern-day followers that is troubling to some of us who continue to observe the progression of the current jihad wave – throughout the world.
I just received Andrew Bostom’s latest essay, published in The Jewish Press. Dr. Bostom responded to, and examined, Pipes’ latest musing on the subject of Islam(ism), which was also recently published in TJP. I highly recommend that you read both essays in their entirety.
What motives lay behind last month’s Boston Marathon bombing and the would-be attack on a VIA Rail Canada train?
Leftists and establishmentarians variously offer imprecise and tired replies – such as “violent extremism” or anger at Western imperialism – unworthy of serious discussion. Conservatives, in contrast, engage in a lively and serious debate among themselves: some say Islam the religion provides motive, others say it’s a modern extremist variant of the religion, known as radical Islam or Islamism.
As a participant in the latter debate, here’s my argument for focusing on Islamism.
Those focusing on Islam itself as the problem (such as ex-Muslims like Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) point to the consistency from Muhammad’s life and the contents of the Koran and Hadith to current Muslim practice. Agreeing with Geert Wilders’ film Fitna, they point to striking continuities between Koranic verses and jihad actions. They quote Islamic scriptures to establish the centrality of Muslim supremacism, jihad and misogyny, concluding that a moderate form of Islam is impossible. They point to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan‘s deriding the very idea of a moderate Islam. Their killer question is, “Was Muhammad a Muslim or an Islamist?” They contend that we who blame Islamism do so out of political correctness or cowardliness…
Bostom writes, in part::
Has there been an unexpected “harmonic convergence” regarding Islam between Daniel Pipes, the historian, and unabashed Zionist, and Edward Said, anti-Israeli, Arab polemicist?
Daniel Pipes’ recent essay in The Jewish Press (originally published in the Washington Times) derides “those who focus on Islam itself as the problem”—identifying Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, and Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders by name…
Most of his essay re-affirms (without hard doctrinal and historical facts) the arguments Pipes has discussed before: Islam’s prophet Muhammad was not an “Islamist,” and was not responsible for “Islamism,” which is a “modern extremist variant” of Islam; an “unbearable” discordance between “pre-modern accomplishment and modern failure” caused the “psychic trauma” which engendered “Islamism” in the 1920s; and a mere 10-15% of Muslims support “Islamism.”…
Most troubling to me is Pipes’ conclusion, which goes thusly:
Our killer question is “How do you propose to defeat Islamism?” Those who make all Islam their enemy not only succumb to a simplistic and essentialist illusion but they lack any mechanism to defeat it. We who focus on Islamism see World War II and the Cold War as models for subduing the third totalitarianism. We understand that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. We work with anti-Islamist Muslims to vanquish a common scourge. We will triumph over this new variant of barbarism so that a modern form of Islam can emerge.
Really? It is not that we made all of Islam our enemy. Rather, Islam, by and through Muhammad’s doctrinal dictates and actions, declared total war on all of the world’s non-believers nearly fourteen hundred years ago. The recent atrocities we are witnessing (including the Boston Marathon bombing), are not in any way a “new variant of barbarism”, except to the extent that there are now cell phones to use in detonating the devices of jihad. It is all a continuation of the unthinkable savagery from the 7th Century, promulgated and commanded by Muhammad, himself – for eternity.
Mr. Pipes has a dream that will never be realized, because it’s not based in any way on reality or historical fact. It is truly just a dream.