Saturday, August 13, 2005

Totten: not all about us

In his new Tech Central Station article, Michael Totten points out some facts about the internal strife in the Islamic world, and how the west tends to ignore it and only notice the war the terrorists are waging against us.

Totten's point, if I may be so bold as to summarize it, is this:

Islam doesn't just have bloody borders; it has bloody centers, as well. And it appears that those bloody borders and centers are not about Islam itself so much as the ascendance and growth of its totalitarian, nihilist, fundamentalist sects.


At 3:59 PM, August 13, 2005, Blogger RiverRat said...

Agreed, except many refer to these Caliphascists as being birthed in extreme sects such as the Wahabi. Those who have studied, even for a few hours, the Qur'an and the Hadith will realize the motivating beliefs are central to orthodox Islam. Orthodox Islam is premised on conversion, subjugation, or death for all infidels with an emphsis on the use of force. The religion itself rejects pluralism.

Little Bin Laden and others have said is not taken directly from the Qur'an and the Hadith and is believed by the vast majority of Muslims.

As in most religions some are just more committed to the faith than others. It's sorta like rejecting rules on birth control by Catholics. They oftem truly believe in the Prohibition but just find it inconvenient and retain guilt for non-compliance. Most Muslims, similarly, find dying for shared beliefs inconvenient and are silenced by their shame.

At 4:42 PM, August 13, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

The most important part of Michael's point is that most death squad members are NOT suiciders. But they DO support death squad dictatorship gov't.

At 10:40 AM, August 14, 2005, Blogger knox said...

I know Michael Totten's spent A LOT of time in the M. E. and I truly do not doubt that he know what he's talking about when he says:

"Moderate Muslims aren't an urban legend imagined by politically correct liberals. They already make up the absolute majority in some parts of the world. They are our friends as well as our allies"

I have tremendous respect for Totten, and it's not like I don't believe him. But as someone who hasn't had direct contact with people in that part of the world, I can't help but be a little skeptical that there are these undiscovered millions upon millions of Muslims chomping at the bit to join with us against the tiny extremist minority.

Where does our support of Israel factor into all this, for example? Are the moderates comfortable with that? And where are the Muslim protests against terrorist bombings and the like?

I don't know, I am basically always vascillating back and forth on my faith in the existence of true allies in the M.E.

At 12:14 PM, August 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

knoxgirl--I think Totten is including the entire Moslem world when he talks about majorities who are moderate, not just the Middle East. If only limited to the latter, I'm not sure he'd make the same statement. After all, the Moslem population of a place such as Indonesia is absolutely enormous, and apparently sports a more moderate brand of Islam. So far.

I also think--and this is just a hunch--that in general human beings tend to not be natural doctrinaire fanatics. It takes some doing--a great deal of brainwashing--to make them into people who "love death more than life," and I'm thinking (and hoping) that for the vast majority, such indoctrination doesn't take, or only takes in a superficial way. In the Middle East, especially in a place like Palestine, the penalties for expressing moderation are huge, so moderates would be very, very quiet if they wanted to live very long. So, you can say I'm a dreamer, but I tend to believe there are a fair number of moderates.

Whether or not they constitute a "silent majority" at present, there's no way to tell.

At 3:34 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I also think--and this is just a hunch--that in general human beings tend to not be natural doctrinaire fanatics."

No, indeed. Most human beings tend to have a life, so ideology does no appeal to them. They can temporarily be talked into ideological struggles when they sense that their families are threatended, or will benefit form the struggle in some way, but they don't stay convinced long if the bet doesn't pay off. I think that is the basis of his contention about the masses of moderates.

The argument about the incompatibilty of Islam and democracy is the complelling debate. I wonder if anyone would have predicted that Cromwell's cultural descendants would have been such a force for democracy in later generations - the Cromwell who was both a parliementarian and who committed genocide in Ireland? How different from Islamic theocracy is Evangelical Dominionism in their intents? How common ancestry do they share in the Old Testament, and speaking of the OT, why is that Jews seem so blessedly immune to the seductions of theocracy?

And just how conducive to democracy is Catholicism, with the Latin authortarianism we saw on display mostt recently duuring the pedophilia scandal?

Maybe the outward face of a religion as a culture is not a reliable indicator of very much.


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