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Bolstering Moderate Muslims
DanielPipes.org ^ | 4/17/07 | Daniel Pipes

Posted on 04/19/2007 5:43:29 AM PDT by Valin

When I suggest that radical Muslims are the problem and that moderate Muslims are the solution, the nearly inevitable retort from most people is: "What moderate Muslims?"

"Where are the anti-Islamists' demonstrations against terror?" they ask me. "What are they doing to combat Islamists? What have they done to reassess Islamic law?"

My response: Moderate Muslims do exist. But, of course, they constitute a very small movement when compared to the Islamist onslaught. This means that the American government and other powerful institutions should give priority to locating, meeting with, funding, forwarding, empowering, and celebrating those brave Muslims who, at personal risk, stand up and confront the totalitarians.

A just-published study from the RAND Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, methodically takes up and thinks through this concept. Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell Schwartz, and Peter Sickle grapple intelligently with the innovative issue of helping moderate Muslims to grow and prosper.

They start with the argument that "structural reasons play a large part" in the rise of radical and dogmatic interpretations of Islam in recent years. One of those reasons is that over the last three decades, the Saudi government has generously funded the export of the Wahhabi version of Islam. Saudi efforts have promoted "the growth of religious extremism throughout the Muslim world," permitting the Islamists to develop powerful intellectual, political, and other networks. "This asymmetry in organization and resources explains why radicals, a small minority in almost all Muslim countries, have influence disproportionate to their numbers."

The study posits a key role for Western countries here: "Moderates will not be able to successfully challenge radicals until the playing field is leveled, which the West can help accomplish by promoting the creation of moderate Muslim networks."

If this sounds familiar, perhaps it is because of a similar scenario in the late 1940s, when Soviet-backed organizations threatened Europe. The four authors provide a helpful potted history of American network-building in the early Cold War years — in part to show that such an effort can succeed against a totalitarian enemy, in part to suggest ideas for tackling contemporary problems. (One example — "a left hook to the Kremlin is the best blow" — implies that Muslims can most effectively overcome Islamism.)

The authors review American efforts to fight Islamism and find these lacking, especially with regard to strengthening moderates. Washington, they write, "does not have a consistent view on who the moderates are, where the opportunities for building networks among them lie, and how best to build the networks."

They are only too right. The American government has a disastrously poor record in this regard, with an embarrassing history of accepting twin delusions: on the one hand, thinking Islamists are moderates, and on the other hand, hoping to win them over. Such government figures as FBI director Robert Mueller, State Department undersecretary Karen Hughes, and National Endowment for Democracy chief Carl Gershman wrong-headedly insist on consorting with the enemy.

Instead, the RAND study promotes four partners: secularists, liberal Muslims, moderate traditionalists, and some Sufis. It particularly emphasizes the "emerging transnational network of laicist and secularist individuals, groups, and movements," and correctly urges cooperation with these neglected friends.

In contrast, the study proposes de-emphasizing the Middle East, and particularly the Arab world. Because this area "offers less fertile ground for moderate network and institution building than other regions of the Muslim world," it urges Western governments to focus on Muslims in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and in the Western diaspora, and to help make their ideas available in Arabic. This novel stratagem defies a centuries-old pattern of influence emanating from the Middle East, but it is well worth a try.

Even the generally hardheaded RAND study sometimes lets down its guard. Dismayingly, the quartet refrains from condemning Washington for holding talks with lawful Islamists even as it cautiously endorses European governments treating some Islamists as partners. It mistakenly characterizes the American-based Progressive Muslim Union as promoting secular Islam, when it was really another Islamist organization - but with a hip tone. (No other Islamists dared host a feature called "Sex and the Umma.")

Although Building Moderate Muslim Networks is not the final word on the subject, it marks a major step toward the systematic reconfiguration of Washington's policy for combating Islamism. The study's meaty contents, clear analysis, and bold recommendations usefully move the debate forward, offering precisely the in-depth strategizing that Westerners urgently need.

Mr. Pipes, who is the director of the Middle East Forum, resumes his column this week after taking time off to teach a course titled "Islam and Politics" at Pepperdine University.


TOPICS: Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: danielpipes; islam; moderatemuslims; muslim; rand; randcorp; warofideas

1 posted on 04/19/2007 5:43:31 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin

A just-published study from the RAND Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, methodically takes up and thinks through this concept. Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell Schwartz, and Peter Sickle grapple intelligently with the innovative issue of helping moderate Muslims to grow and prosper.

Road Map for Moderate Network Building in the Muslim World (long read)
RAND Corp. ^ | Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell H. Schwartz, Peter Sickle
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818382/posts


2 posted on 04/19/2007 5:45:00 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin

IMO the west should start to stick it to so called moderate muslims. They better start doing something fast or there will be no moderate muslims.


3 posted on 04/19/2007 5:48:12 AM PDT by tkathy
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To: Valin
"Moderates will not be able to successfully challenge radicals until the playing field is leveled, which the West can help accomplish by promoting the creation of moderate Muslim networks."

"Promoting". Money is what's being ask for. Give them MONEY to act moderately... eventually they may... but if you don't see any significant change and pull away that money, they'll revert to the natural state of killing indiscriminately again.

4 posted on 04/19/2007 5:50:43 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: Salem; Convert from ECUSA; Alouette; SJackson; GMMAC; fanfan; Clive; Merta; ...

You fine folks might be interested in this Daniel Pipes article on moderate Muslims and supporting them versus the extremists and terrorists.


5 posted on 04/19/2007 5:51:45 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Valin

These days, conservatives are more willing to give moderate muslims a fair shake than liberals are.


6 posted on 04/19/2007 5:52:05 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: Valin
Supporting Moderate Muslims is a very good start.

Supporting Secular Muslims is a very good GOAL.

7 posted on 04/19/2007 5:53:36 AM PDT by Wormwood (Future Former Freeper)
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To: cripplecreek

You mean PBS and they’re not showing Islam Vs. the Islamists?


8 posted on 04/19/2007 5:54:45 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin

First you terrorize your opponents into silence so that your movement appears to have no opposition. This gives you tremendous power, not only because moderates quietly feel they are alone in their disagreement with you, but also because the ignorant media – especially the foreign media – casts you as the choice of the people. Having succeeded in silencing moderates, the next step is terrorizing them into cooperating with you. Soon passive cooperation is not enough. You want more than their body – you want their soul, so you terrorize the moderates into being “passionate” in your cause.

In the end, your movement appears to have only loyal and active supporters. Now you are in total control, for who would dare speak out against you? As Hitler said, 10 years before he finally rose to power, “The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen.” In other words, all opposition is evil and we will protect you from it. Sound familiar?

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=24656


9 posted on 04/19/2007 6:00:58 AM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Some people see the world as they would want it to be, effective people see the world as it is.)
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To: Valin

There are lots of moderate Muslims. The cemeteries are full of them. Make no mistake the nutcases drive the bus in Islam. If moderates ride quietly, they get to move up a notch above the Christians and Jews when the nutcases take control.


10 posted on 04/19/2007 6:04:22 AM PDT by Goreknowshowtocheat
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To: theDentist
"Promoting". Money is what's being ask for. Give them MONEY to act moderately... eventually they may...

I can see where they're going. Right now rich oil Muslims funnel millions to the extremists to preach and convert people to radical Islam. The moderate community lacks such money, and thus at a disadvantage in spreading moderation.

11 posted on 04/19/2007 6:07:49 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: Luis Gonzalez

The radical loser (Long Read)
Der Spiegel ^ | 1/12/05 | Hans Magnus Enzensberger
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1694568/posts

(snip)

To date, few loser-collectives have operated on a global scale, even if they were able to count on international flows of cash and weapon supplies. But the world is teeming with local groupings whose leaders are referred to as warlords or guerrilla chiefs. Their self-appointed militias and paramilitary gangs like to adorn themselves with the title of a liberation organization or other revolutionary attributes. In some media, they are referred to as rebels, a euphemism that probably flatters them. Shining Path, MLC, RCD, SPLA, ELA, LTTE, LRA, FNL, IRA, LIT, KACH, DHKP, FSLN, UVF, JKLF, ELN, FARC, PLF, GSPC, MILF, NPA, PKK, MODEL, JI, NPA, AUC, CPNML, UDA, GIA, RUF, LVF, SNM, ETA, NLA, PFLP, SPM, LET, ONLF, SSDF, PIJ, JEM, SLA, ANO, SPLMA, RAF, AUM, PGA, ADF, IBDA, ULFA, PLFM, ULFBV, ISYF, LURD, KLO, UPDS, NLFT, ATTF ...

“Left” or “Right”, it makes no odds. Each of these armed rabbles calls itself an army, boasts of brigades and commandos, self-importantly issuing bureaucratic communiqués and boastful claims of responsibility, acting as if they were the representatives of “the masses”. Being convinced, as radical losers, of the worthlessness of their own lives, they do not care about the lives of anyone else either; any concern for survival is foreign to them. And this applies equally to their opponents, to their own followers, and to those with no involvement whatsoever. They have a penchant for kidnapping and murdering people who are trying to relieve the misery of the region they are terrorizing, shooting aid workers and doctors and burning down every last hospital in the area with a bed or a scalpel – for they have trouble distinguishing between mutilation and self-mutilation.

(snip)

There is also no mistaking other similarities, such as the fixation with written authorities. The place of Marx and Lenin is taken by the Koran, references are made not to Gramsci but to Sayyid Qutb. Instead of the international proletariat, it takes as its revolutionary subject the Umma, and as its avant-garde and self-appointed representative of the masses it takes not The Party but the widely branching conspiratorial network of Islamist fighters. Although the movement can draw on older rhetorical forms which to outsiders may sound high-flown or big-mouthed, it owes many of its idées fixes to its Communist enemy: history obeys rigid laws, victory is inevitable, deviationists and traitors are to be exposed and then, in fine Leninist tradition, bombarded with ritual insults.

The movement’s list of favourite foes is also short on surprises: America, the decadent West, international capital, Zionism. The list is completed by the unbelievers, that is to say the remaining 5.2 billion people on the planet. Not forgetting apostate Muslims who may be found among the Shiites, Ibadhis, Alawites, Zaidites, Ahmadiyyas, Wahhabis, Druze, Sufis, Kharijites, Ishmaelites or other religious communities.

(snip)

Contrary to what the West appears to believe, the destructive energy of Islamist actions is directed mainly against Muslims. This is not a tactical error, not a case of “collateral damage”. In Algeria alone, Islamist terror has cost the lives of at least 50,000 fellow Algerians. Other sources speak of as many as 150,000 murders, although the military and the secret services were also involved. In Iraq and Afghanistan, too, the number of Muslim victims far outstrips the death toll among foreigners. Furthermore, terrorism has been highly detrimental not only to the image of Islam but also to the living conditions of Muslims around the world.

The Islamists are as unconcerned about this as the Nazis were about the downfall of Germany. As the avant-garde of death, they have no regard for the lives of their fellow believers. In the eyes of the Islamists, the fact that most Muslims have no desire to blow themselves and others sky high only goes to show that they deserve no better than to be liquidated themselves. After all, the aim of the radical loser is to make as many other people into losers as possible. As the Islamists see it, the fact that they are in the minority can only be because they are the chosen few.

(snip)


12 posted on 04/19/2007 6:10:40 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin

Stop Jihad Now!


13 posted on 04/19/2007 6:12:47 AM PDT by Paladin2 (Islam is the religion of violins, NOT peas.)
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To: Valin

I’m not impressed by the so called ‘moderate muslim “movement”’. I will occasionally see a moderate muslim here and there on TV or hear one on radio... maybe find an occasional article, but these moderates have nowhere near the network, organization and voice of mainstream (read: radical) muslims. In fact, I don’t view it as a “movement” at all. Most of them come accross as voices in the wilderness. At this point I am convinced that, at least here in the US, radical Islam will have to be defeated by non-muslims.


14 posted on 04/19/2007 6:12:55 AM PDT by navyguy (We don't need more youth. What we need is a fountain of SMART.)
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To: Valin

Exactly. Walid Shoebat and Zach Anani tried to speak at UofM a while back and faced nothing but disruption.


15 posted on 04/19/2007 6:13:14 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: Valin
This means that the American government and other powerful institutions should give priority to locating, meeting with, funding, forwarding, empowering, and celebrating those brave Muslims who, at personal risk, stand up and confront the totalitarians.

Rubbish!!!!!!!!!
16 posted on 04/19/2007 6:24:24 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: Valin

” Dismayingly, the quartet refrains from condemning Washington for holding talks with lawful Islamists even as it cautiously endorses European governments treating some Islamists as partners”

This makes no sense to me. What am I missing? (besides the
proverbial one brick)


17 posted on 04/19/2007 6:27:58 AM PDT by Redhd2
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To: HEY4QDEMS

Rubbish!!!!!!!!!

Stupid...Silly..Counter-productive...Simplistic...I could go on


18 posted on 04/19/2007 6:28:41 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin

Don’t forget Racist and Narrow Minded.


19 posted on 04/19/2007 6:31:50 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: Redhd2

Road Map for Moderate Network Building in the Muslim World (long read)
RAND Corp. ^ | Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell H. Schwartz, Peter Sickle
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818382/posts

(snip)
Should Islamists Be Engaged?

Within the academic and policy communities in the United States and Europe there is a major debate surrounding the question of whether or not Islamists should be engaged as partners. Before outlining the two sides of the argument, we first need to define the term “Islamists.” One definition is that they are simply Muslims with political agendas.16
This definition is too broad to be useful, since it encompasses anyone involved in politics in the Muslim world. A narrower, more useful defi.- nition identifies Islamists as those who reject the separation of religious authority from the power of the state. Islamists seek to establish some version of an Islamic state, or at least the recognition of shari’a as the basis of law.17

The argument in favor of engaging Islamists has three attributes: first, that Islamists represent the only real mass-based alternative to authoritarian regimes in the Muslim world (and especially in the Arab world); second, that Islamist groups such as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have evolved to support pluralistic democracy, women’s rights, etc.;18 and third, that Islamists are more likely to be successful in dissuading potential terrorists from committing violence than are mainstream clerics.19
According to Amr Hamzawy, in countries like Egypt there has been a convergence of left-leaning liberals and moderate Islamists on the rules of democracy, good governance, and anti-corruption.
Hamzawy states that since the 1990s, the Muslim Brothers in Egypt have revisited their conception of politics and society. Their evolution includes a retreat from the goal of an Islamic state and a shift from conservative to less-conservative perceptions of society: for instance, a more modern view of women’s rights.
Hamzawy concedes that less-progressive zones do still exist within the Muslim Brotherhood. Moderate Islamists are not liberals. They harbor conservative views. Nevertheless, he believes that there is a window of opportunity for the United States to reach out to moderate Islamists, and that by engaging them the United States will be able to in.uence them.20

The U.S.-funded, Washington-based CSID subscribes to this approach. CSID aims to bring together scholars and activists to promote democracy in the Muslim world. The center’s partners are secularists and moderate Islamists who believe in democracy and reject violence; the center engages these groups in discussions on conceptions of democracy, ways to implement it in their countries, areas of agreement and disagreement, and whether they can work together on the issues on which they agree.21
Some European governments are willing to recognize and promote Islamists, although in some cases this seems to stem more from an inability to distinguish Islamists from liberal Muslims than from a conscious policy. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the Muslim Council of Great Britain (the main government-recognized Muslim organization), is led by Islamists. In Spain, leaders of the Unión de Comunidades Islámicas de España [Union of Islamic Communities of Spain] (UCIDE)—one of the two federations that compose the government- recognized Islamic Commission of Spain—have close ties with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
In France, radicals took control of a new government-sponsored organization, the French Council for the Muslim Religion, following elections held in April 2003 in radicalcontrolled mosques.

Like the argument for engaging Islamists, the argument against engaging them has three parts.
First, we do not know whether the Islamists’ pro-democracy rhetoric and relatively more moderate discourse represent a strategic or a tactical shift. Have they ceased to be true Islamists, in the sense that they have accepted the separation of religion and the state?
Or are they simply lowering the profile of one goal (the establishment of an Islamic state) and emphasizing a more appealing and less controversial agenda? Without a fundamental and demonstrable change in their outlook, what guarantees are there that if Islamists came to power they would not revert to a more radical agenda? Iran provides a cautionary example.

The second argument is that even if Islamists might be more effective in the short term in dissuading potential jihadists from committing acts of terrorism (a questionable proposition to begin with), offcial recognition and support would enhance their credibility and enable them to proselytize more e.ectively in the community. Over the long term, the social costs of the spread of the Sala. movement to the masses would be very high.

Third, even if one concedes that in many parts of the Muslim world moderate and liberal groups are organizationally weak and have been as yet unable to develop substantial constituencies, for the West to bypass these groups in favor of Islamist interlocutors would simply perpetuate these weaknesses. One presumption of this study is that the primary weakness of these groups is organizational and that linking them together in robust networks would amplify their message, broaden their appeal, and enable them to compete more e.ectively with Islamist groups in the political marketplace.
This is not to say that the United States and its partners should not enter into a dialogue with moderate Islamists; such a dialogue could be constructive in clarifying the positions of both sides. However, capac- ity-building programs and resources are better directed at moderate and liberal Muslim organizations.22


20 posted on 04/19/2007 6:32:28 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: HEY4QDEMS

Right, that’s something to be really proud of.


21 posted on 04/19/2007 6:33:45 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin
"Moderates will not be able to successfully challenge radicals until the playing field is leveled, which the West can help accomplish by promoting the creation of moderate Muslim networks."

I doubt that moderate Muslims can ever successfully challenge radicals. The radical always has the advantage. Non-Muslim moderates cannot succussfully challenge radicals. The radical always has the advantage.

22 posted on 04/19/2007 6:39:27 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Valin

Sure, I love being the subject of ad homonym attacks.


23 posted on 04/19/2007 6:47:09 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: Alexander Rubin
FYI, there are several people including Ali Sina and myself who have openly disagreed with Daniel Pipes views on this matter.

To sum it up for you, there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. It would be like saying there is a moderate Christian.

The reality is that there are lapsed Muslims and those who have chosen not to follow the tenets of Islam. Likewise there are lapsed Christians and those who identify themselves as Christian but don't adhere to the tenets of Christianity...

Simple question... Would you call gay Bishop Gene Robinson a "moderate Christian"?

To say that there are moderate muslims would insinuate that there is a moderate "politically correct" form of Islam of which there isn't.

24 posted on 04/19/2007 6:49:38 AM PDT by expatguy (http://laotze.blogspot.com/)
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To: Valin

read later


25 posted on 04/19/2007 6:52:27 AM PDT by don-o (Proudly posting without reading the thread since 1998.)
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To: HEY4QDEMS
Sure, I love being the subject of ad homonym attacks.

You mean words that sound like attacks but actually mean something entirely different?

26 posted on 04/19/2007 6:53:52 AM PDT by Wormwood (Future Former Freeper)
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To: Wormwood
No I mean words that sound like an opinion but are nothing but subtle insults.

Winston Churchill made no concessions to appeasers and neither do I.

27 posted on 04/19/2007 7:02:46 AM PDT by HEY4QDEMS (Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.)
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To: Valin

Just as “ordinary” Germans passively accepted the nazi atrocities and were guilty, the moderates who passively accept terrorism are guilty.


28 posted on 04/19/2007 7:03:27 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: theDentist

“Money is what’s being ask for. Give them MONEY to act moderately... eventually they may... but if you don’t see any significant change and pull away that money, they’ll revert to the natural state of killing indiscriminately again.”

Is that called “extortion” where you come from too?


29 posted on 04/19/2007 7:09:40 AM PDT by Let's Roll (As usual, following a shooting spree, libs want to take guns away from those who DIDN'T do it.)
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To: Let's Roll

No, in Mass. they call it either “Politics” or “tax cuts”.


30 posted on 04/19/2007 7:11:34 AM PDT by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: PGalt

I doubt that moderate Muslims can ever successfully challenge radicals.

In the last elections in Malaysia & Indonesia the Islamist parties got their asses handed to them. Just one example off the top of my head.


32 posted on 04/19/2007 7:29:14 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: expatguy

Hewitt: Hour 2 - Hugh discusses al Qaeda and the war on terror with Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens

http://www.townhall.com/MediaPlayer/AudioPlayer.aspx?ContentGuid=1dad309d-394b-4f17-8a91-2389736c1b4c

No transcript up yet.


33 posted on 04/19/2007 7:49:25 AM PDT by Valin (History takes time. It is not an instant thing.)
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To: Valin

I read the Rand report (thanks for posting it) and found it interesting and educational.

from it...

“Reversing the flow of radical ideas from the Arab world to the non-Arab regions of the Muslim world will be a formidable challenge because of the lack of Arab civil-society institutions that could act as disseminators of moderate ideas and because of cultural resistance within the Arab world to interpretations of Islam that originated outside the Middle East.”

Radical ideas/actions are taking hold in this republic, The United States of America, and other democracies. Stopping their flow here (in a non-muslim, non-Arab country) is a daunting task. Reversing here and beyond here is even greater.

Iraq was bold and necessary in terms of Arab/Sunni radicals.

Pipe’s efforts are noble, your examples are optimistic. Indonesia and Malaysia are not clear and present dangers.

Trickle down annihilation works.


34 posted on 04/19/2007 8:22:11 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: theDentist

Tax cuts? In Mass?

Oh, wait, I bet in Mass they call tax hikes, cuts - right?


35 posted on 04/19/2007 9:14:58 AM PDT by Let's Roll (As usual, following a shooting spree, libs want to take guns away from those who DIDN'T do it.)
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To: expatguy

First, I think there is enough of a desire for one that there can be, even if there isn’t now (which I am not convinced there isn’t). Secondly, does anyone have any better ideas that are legal and not terribly immoral?

And the Kurds have many moderate muslims amongst them. And, as I recall, Sufis are generally pretty moderate.


36 posted on 04/19/2007 10:19:49 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Alexander Rubin; expatguy; Valin; Let's Roll; Liberal Equals Coward; theDentist; ...

“Secondly, does anyone have any better ideas that are legal and not terribly immoral?”

Yes! Grab a pot of coffee sometime this weekend after a break from yard/house work and read this (all 6 parts)....

http://www.islam-watch.org/NoSharia/PreventEuropeIslamization6.htm

Many, many thanks to NoSharia.


37 posted on 04/19/2007 8:12:11 PM PDT by PGalt
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