Pipes re-affirms false distinction between radical and moderate Islam

Daniel Pipes sums up the heartening new realism in Europe and Australia about Islamic terrorism and jihadism, and the hardline statements coming from European and Australian politicians regarding “radical Islam” (a term that implies that there is also a moderate Islam) and “Islamists” (a term that implies that there is a peaceful, traditional Islam that is different from Islamism).

If I mix good news with sour observations in the above sentence, it is because Pipes in recent days has made it clear that he is more strongly committed than ever to his false bifurcation between traditional and militant Islam. He did this by repeating in an article (and re-affirming in an e-mail to me) his widely quoted statement that “Traditional Islam seeks to teach human beings how to live in accord with God’s will; militant Islam aspires to create a new order.” This stunningly untrue statement would lead people to believe that traditional Islam was not, in addition to being a religion, a quasi-totalitarian movement to create a new order. No. For Pipes, Muhammadanism, which conquered and crushed peoples and civilizations across half the world, was and is merely a peaceful activity by individuals seeking God, and this “moderate” Islam remains the solution to “radical” Islam.

It thus becomes evident that the clarifying debates of recent months and years, the important work of scholars such as Bat Ye’or, Robert Spencer, and Andrew Bostom to show the falseness of the “moderate Islam” thesis, not to mention my big article last January critiquing Pipes’s arguments in detail, and showing that he himself has implicitly acknowledged in several of his articles that moderate Islam has never existed, have made zero impact on his thinking. As I demonstrated, Pipes in the course of his many writings drifts from one formulation about Islam to another, contradicting himself with abandon; and yet, in the end, he always returns to his default position, that there was this benign, spiritual Islam that existed for 1,300 years, and then this nasty, terrorist, totalitarian Islam that has come into being in the last 100 years.

While Pipes will continue to play a leading and valuable role in exposing “radical” groups such as CAIR, and even advocating the removal of “radicals” from the U.S., at the same time, he will continue to help legitimize all other, non-“radical” Muslims, and thus assist in the steady increase of Muslim power in the West. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but there it is.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 30, 2005 10:37 AM | Send

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