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Islam has become its own enemy
The Observer (U.K.) ^ | 10/21/2001 | Ziauddin Sardar

Posted on 10/20/2001 6:30:09 PM PDT by Pokey78

Muslims everywhere are in a deep state of denial. From Egypt to Malaysia, there is an aversion to seeing terrorism as a Muslim problem and a Muslim responsibility.

The meeting last week of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Qatar condemned the 11 September attacks, but refused to accept any responsibility. Instead of taking the lead in tackling the problem, once again they are being railroaded into joining a 'global coalition'.

Terrorism is a Muslim problem for some very good reasons. To begin with, most of the terrorist incidents actually occur within the Muslim world. In Pakistan, for example, terrorist violence is endemic. Marauding groups of fanatics, such as Sepa-e-Shaba ('Soldiers of the Companion of the Prophet') and Sepa-e-Muhammad ('Soldiers of Muhammad'), have spread terror throughout the country. In Egypt, militants of Islamic Jihad have killed tourists, and members of the extremist organisation Gama-e-Islami have made the life of ordinary Muslims a living hell. The Abu Sayyaf group of the Philippines, far from fighting for 'liberation', is nothing more than a band of ruthless kidnappers who kill other Muslims without hesitation.

Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Iran - there is hardly a Muslim country that is not plagued by terrorism.

It goes without saying, then, that the bulk of victims of terrorism are also Muslims, 11 September notwithstanding. This is particularly so when we consider that violence and brutalisation has become the norm in unending quests for self-determination in such places as Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya. Terror and counter-terror forms an endless cycle that has cost countless Muslim lives.

Thus, terrorism, the horror it provokes and the consequences it breeds, are more familiar to Muslims than to any other people.

Yet, while they have been shocked and sympathise with the victims of the atrocities in the US, Muslims have stubbornly refused to see terrorism as an internal problem. While the Muslim world has suffered, they have blamed everyone but themselves. It is always 'the West', or the CIA, or 'the Indians', or 'the Zionists' hatching yet another conspiracy.

This state of denial means Muslims are ill-equipped to deal with problems of endemic terrorism. Indiscriminate violence, terror by governments against their own people, by opposition groups and between factions, has now become such an integral part of the political discourse of failed polities that it is taken for granted.

In the US-led coalition against the Taliban, liberal Muslims have found an ideal substitute for self-examination and the critical, internal struggle needed to address home-grown problems.

The coalition now waging war against terrorism in Afghanistan harbours another danger for Muslims. In the indiscriminate politics of coalition, the first people that the hesitant Muslim states will turn against are the few voices of sanity in their midst. As Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and a rare lucid voice, points out, the democratic cause in Muslim countries 'will regress for a few decades as ruling autocrats use their participation in the global war against terrorism to terrorise their critics and dissenters'.

Anwar has to know. The article was written from the prison cell where he is serving a 15-year sentence. His crime? To stand against the tyranny of Mahathir Muhammad's government.

This is not the time, he says, to stir up anti-American sentiments, or sermonise over US foreign policy. It is time to ask 'how, in the twenty-first century, the Muslim world could have produced a bin Laden'.

The answer has two components. Anwar hints at the first. There is simply no place in the Muslim world to express dissent. Autocratic, theocratic, despotic regimes allow no political freedom, all thought is outlawed, and brute suppression is the norm. In such circumstances, violence is seen as the only way of expressing dissent.

In his youth, Anwar Ibrahim founded a dynamic Islamic movement. I also spent my youthful days working for various Islamic movements; it was how we first met in the borderless internationalism of the worldwide Muslim community. And it is in the Islamic movements that we must look for the second reason for the violent state of affairs in Muslim societies.

In the Sixties and the Seventies, the Islamic movements, such as Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, represented hope, the language of justice, the ideal of self-reliance for the masses languishing in misery. A plethora of Islamic movements and initiatives made their appearance; and we toiled against autocracies and despotism in Muslim societies.

But the movements became a mirror image of what they were fighting. The leadership passed from intellectuals to semi-literate demagogues. What the Islamic movements have generated is fanatic militancy, a fundamentalism that is as autocratic, illiberal and repressive as the established order they seek to dethrone. Instead of allowing debate, and a rethinking about the contemporary meaning of Islam, fundamentalist notions became something to die for and finally something to kill and destroy for in pure hatred.

The failure of Islamic movements is their inability to come to terms with modernity, to give modernity a sustainable home-grown expression. Instead of engaging with the abundant problems that bedevil Muslim lives, the Islamic prescription consists of blind following of narrow pieties and slavish submission to inept obscurantists. Instead of engagement with the wider world, they have made Islam into an ethic of separation, separate under-development, and negation of the rest of the world.

The struggle against violence in the Muslim world is much more than a struggle against murdering fanatics like the Taliban. Or despotic leaders like Saddam Hussein and Mahathir Muhammad. It is also a struggle against the Islamic movements whose simplistic and virulent rhetoric often ends up sanctifying the fanatics and demonises everything else in the absolutist, unquestioning terms of all totalitarian perspectives.

The answers to the problems of the Muslim societies are not hard to find - merely difficult to initiate. Political freedom, open debate, the liberation of society to be civil, plural and humane - these are obvious remedies. But the Islamic movements have become a barrier to them.

We need reasoned creativity and critical awareness. These used to be favourite phrases of Anwar Ibrahim. But his most frequent prescription was humility. The humility to acknowledge one's own mistakes and shortcomings.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: islamicviolence
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1 posted on 10/20/2001 6:30:09 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
bump
2 posted on 10/20/2001 6:33:26 PM PDT by Free the USA
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To: Pokey78
So what Islam is facing is essentially what Christendom faced during the 30-years war? People killing each other over their interpretation of their religion. Can an Islamic "Peace of Westphalia" be reached and these individual nations respect the separation of Church and State, or will Ceasar and God continue to march hand in hand?
3 posted on 10/20/2001 6:45:07 PM PDT by lanceboyle
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To: Pokey78
Good article.

Thus, terrorism, the horror it provokes and the consequences it breeds, are more familiar to Muslims than to any other people.

Small point: I don't think the Tutsis and Hutus follow Islam - the Tutsis tried to find refuge in Catholic churches.

4 posted on 10/20/2001 6:49:15 PM PDT by secretagent
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
Bull Crap.

Islam has not become its own enemy. We have become Islam's enemy.

Islam did not destory Mecca. It destroyed the WTC and part of the Pentagon.


6 posted on 10/20/2001 6:51:43 PM PDT by Common Tator
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To: Pokey78
The article is pure whitewash. History shows tat every culture which has embraced (or forced into) Islam has eventually degenerated into a Pandora's box of hate, killings, misery, hopelessness, and poverty. Guess hell doesn't freeze over in the deserts.
7 posted on 10/20/2001 6:54:20 PM PDT by TransOxus
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To: lanceboyle
Do we WANT that? I say let 'em kill each other off.
8 posted on 10/20/2001 6:57:05 PM PDT by GuillermoX
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To: Pokey78
Very nice column. But will anybody in the Islamic world listen to this guy? After watching a bit on TV the other night about madrassas (religious schools) in Pakistan, it is clear the problem goes very deep. As Mr. Sardar says, fundamentalist Islam can rightly be called the "blind following of narrow pieties and slavish submission to inept obscurantists."

The fantasies of theocrats are deadly.

9 posted on 10/20/2001 7:03:20 PM PDT by beckett
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To: Pokey78
Islamic societies are still stuck in the 18th century. Time to grow up and join the rest of the civilized world.
10 posted on 10/20/2001 7:06:50 PM PDT by l33t
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To: Pokey78
Good article. Islam is having a huge, violent identity crisis that is a danger to the world. This is going to be a long and drawn out just like the Cold War against communist Russia. It might be much more difficult. We will have to have a strategy for killing the terrorsits AND helping Islam integrate into the modern world. It could take as many as 50 years for this to be resolved.
11 posted on 10/20/2001 7:12:40 PM PDT by Theresa
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To: Pokey78
after living in the mid-east for 5 years, I would say that, unfortunately, this article is accurate, and shows that the problem is not one which can be solved by war, unless we wage a jihad of our own, as it is a cultural problem.
12 posted on 10/20/2001 7:53:28 PM PDT by XBob
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To: Pokey78
This article is almost frighteningly accurate. Lets hope more Muslims come to voicing this type of sanity.
13 posted on 10/20/2001 7:58:09 PM PDT by JmyBryan
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To: Pokey78
FYI

An Arab Moment of Truth
Which way the Islamist fantasy?
By David Pryce-Jones
From the October 15, 2001, issue of National Review

The conflict that has now erupted has been gathering for a long time. Its roots lie deep in history. To be brief and blunt, the Muslim world has never known exactly how to respond to the West, whether to adopt its values or to reject them. A logic arises: The West is powerful; power is arrogant; we are proud people; therefore we must overpower and humble the West. False as the logic is, it locks in high emotion. It also raises for Muslims an existential question of identity: What sort of people do we think we are?
For the past half century and more, the Muslim world has been free and independent, with every opportunity to organize as it wishes. And this is the heart of the issue: The Muslim world is a political and social disaster for all to see. With the arguable exception of Turkey, it consists of a series of despotisms, each with an absolute ruler whose ultimate justification is his strength and will. A family or a clique gathers around the ruler under the protection of the state apparatus of secret police and military repression. To the powerful, the spoils; to the weak, submission. No rights, no freedom of expression, no loyal opposition, no rule of law, no redress except through violence, conspiracy, a coup, and ultimate civil war.

Whose fault is this? The huge majority of Muslims understand that they are responsible for themselves. They know what they have to put up with. Describing the daily corruption and injustices of despotism, they ask the aching question, "What can we do?" Muhammad Haikal was once the spokesman of Gamal Abdul Nasser, the ruler who set Egypt back for decades. Haikal was no friend of the West either, but he could write: "The Arab and Muslim world is completely naked. [None of us] can claim any more that he is independent. We have proved we are not modern. We have proved that we are not religious in the real sense of the word. We have proved that we cannot afford democracy." Today Ahmad Bishara, a prominent Kuwaiti, says that Arabs and Muslims "should engage in deep soul-searching" about their institutions and culture.

To write like that requires protection at the highest level, as well as personal courage. There are such men, and women too. It is a moving experience to sit in rooms and cafés in Cairo or Beirut, and even Gaza and Ramallah, and listen to their clear and rational analyses of the faults of their society. They are the equivalent of Soviet dissidents in the old days, and if there is hope for the Muslim and Arab world, it lies in their example. Like Soviet dissidents, they are only saying what almost everyone knows to be the truth. For most Muslims have answered the existential question for themselves the way the populations under Soviet rule did: They want what those in the Free World have.

Muslims by the millions already live in the West, wherever they can find refuge and opportunity. This in itself defies the doctrine of Islam, whereby Muslims are prohibited from living among unbelievers. Muslim publications abroad make it clear that integration is under way, bringing with it problems — all soluble — concerning dating of non-Muslims, rejection of arranged marriages, correct manners in a multicultural society. The news reaching home countries confirms that life in the West is good. With the news comes money for medicine and education. Jamia'at Ulema-e-Islam is one of the most extreme Islamic movements in Pakistan, and its leader — a ferocious old man with a white beard — is currently summoning the faithful onto the streets to overthrow the government of President Musharraf and launch a holy war. But two of his sons are studying in the United States. He says that they will be better able to understand their enemy. This humbug reveals the inner ambiguity common to his kind. He knows, and we know, that he is supplying them with a brighter future, as any father would.

In the first months of 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran. He was a Muslim equivalent of Lenin. He gave a quite different answer to the existential question of Muslim identity. Muslim society was a failure, he concurred with secular critics like Haikal, and one cause of this was the people's abandonment of their faith. Islam had made its believers great and powerful in centuries past, and it would do so again. But there was another overriding cause of the general backsliding. Over the long term, Khomeini held, the West had had the cunning and deliberate intention of destroying Islam. Why the West would have such a wanton and malign ambition he did not explain. But he crystallized a mindset with revolutionary implications: Muslims were not responsible for their plight, it was all the fault of the West, to be rectified by war.

So mosques in Iran, and then elsewhere, began to resound with cries that America was the Great Satan, and crowds burned the Stars and Stripes. The emotional logic hardened into a series of syllogisms: Islam is righteous; America is imperialist; therefore unrighteous America is uprooting Islam. Or again: Good Muslims must kill Jews; America helps Jews; therefore America is killing good Muslims. Yet again: America is arrogant; Muslims are proud; therefore suicide bombers are giving America what she deserves.

A fantasy is loose in the world, the fantasy of an Islamic supremacy destined deservedly to triumph everywhere. Like Communism before it, this Islamic fantasy aims to impose its vision on others — and call it peace. In an unexpected form, here is another totalitarian movement with the usual murderous belief that the ends justify the means. Latching on to local or regional issues everywhere, Islamic supremacy has been developing its cause: condemning Salman Rushdie to death for supposed apostasy; holding Americans hostage in Teheran; killing Marines in Beirut; sponsoring suicide bombers; threatening pro-Western rulers in Muslim countries with assassination and civil war; preparing for the genocide of Jews in Israel. The false syllogisms of the Islamist mindset have hardened into axioms supporting one outrage after another. As in the old Soviet Union, everything political becomes a metaphor for war and apocalypse. If there is no room for Muslims, the extremists declare with passion, then there is no room for anybody else either. This failure of intellect could hardly be more complete.

Except for one thing: The Left throughout the West picks it up and fans it. Demonstrations against President Bush and his response to the suicide attacks have occurred in most major cities of Europe. In the media, even in the United States, people have jumped forward to blame the suicide attacks on America and its policies, rather than on the actual terrorist perpetrators. Here comes Susan Sontag, for example, to sneer that this attack on "the world's self-proclaimed superpower" was as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions." Barbara Foley of Rutgers University believes that America's "fascist foreign policy" over many decades is to blame for the attack. Harold Pinter, playwright of the absurd, writes to the press to say that it is President Bush who is fanning the flames of intolerance.

The Taliban exemplify the Islamist fantasy. They are tribalists of a medieval brutality. They forbid women to have an education or a job, and bury a woman suspected of adultery up to her shoulders before stoning her to death. They kill suspected homosexuals by collapsing walls onto them. They have driven millions of desperate fellow Afghans into exile, and leave the remainder to face destitution and starvation. Their honored accomplice is Osama bin Laden, who for the last ten years or so has been telling everyone who can listen that the United States is the source of all wickedness and he intends to destroy it.

The Left blamed the United States for the Cold War and the division of Europe, and for unrest in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. Whatever happened, the Soviet Union was innocent and peace-loving. This same Left — in the Sontags and Pinters, these same people — follows an unbroken line in its attitude towards extremists in the Arab and Muslim world. Happy to leave millions at the mercy of Communism, they are happy to leave millions at the mercy of Islamist terror, so lining themselves up as ever on the side of oppression and lies. Their intellectual failure probably does not matter much here, where long exposure has shown that their opinions have foundations in psychopathology rather than reality. But it plays well in extremist circles, where assorted fanatics can now say, Look, the West is wicked, their intellectuals tell us so.

In the event of liberation from the general Islamist fantasy and the suicide bombers in particular, most of the Muslim world will feel a grateful relief that can only surprise and shock the Left as much as the joy of those liberated from Communism did. Should America fail to rescue them for whatever reason, though, Muslims will know that the Islamist fantasy is coming true, and they will have to endure it for a very long time to come.

14 posted on 10/20/2001 9:36:13 PM PDT by Valin
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To: Common Tator
bump
15 posted on 12/25/2001 12:16:50 AM PST by timestax
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To: Valin
BRAVO !
16 posted on 12/25/2001 12:25:57 AM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons
Bravo bump!!!
17 posted on 12/25/2001 4:36:29 AM PST by timestax
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To: Pokey78
They are more then in deep denial, they are in deep sh*t. Now that the Truth is coming out about how intolerant, and racist they are.
18 posted on 12/25/2001 11:37:07 AM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
bttt
19 posted on 12/25/2001 11:48:28 AM PST by timestax
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To: Valin
Look, the West is wicked, their intellectuals tell us so.

I wonder if the leftists have any idea the damage they have done?

20 posted on 12/25/2001 11:58:13 AM PST by McGavin999
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To: lanceboyle
What Islam needs is its own Martin Luther and a strong Reformation movement. A widespread believe in a personal G-d and the validity of personal interpretation of their scripture would go a long way to dampen SOME of these wackos.

Also, it would let them leave us alone and fight with themselves kind of like the way good Christians did for centuries.

21 posted on 12/25/2001 12:02:35 PM PST by muir_redwoods
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To: Pokey78
  

Islam is the wellspring of terrorism because Islam is all about fanatacism. That is precisely the attribute by which it attained the ranks of the so-called World Religions -- those half-dozen or so religions that have achieved globe-spanning reach in a vicious, Darwinian battle for mindshare that has been waged for thousands of years. Memetically, Islam is most akin to Nazism: it spreads because it inculcates selfless group-loyalty and fanatical hatred for outsiders, inspiring its followers to military conquest. Obviously, it has been much more succesful than Nazism, which was a mere flash-in-the-pan, Hitler's pale, secularized attempt to pull off what the prophet Mohammed achieved in the seventh century, AD. To some extent, of course, that is a reflection of the fact that it is harder to completely brainwash the people of a sophisticated, intellectually diverse, modern industrial power than a bunch of pre-scientific savages eking out a shabby existence in the middle of the Arabian desert. In any event, as its memetic approach is essentially militaristic, the best way to deal with Islam is to inflict repeated, crushing military defeats on its adherents, and continue until their resolve collapses and the cult implodes, much as Nazism and State Shinto did at the end of World War II. But, there's no denying, we've got our work cut out for us. This is going to be a tough nut to crackm, but there is no substitute for victory.

22 posted on 12/25/2001 12:37:58 PM PST by Clinton's a rapist
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To: Pokey78
Living down to the prophecy of Ishmael.
23 posted on 12/25/2001 12:44:22 PM PST by hsszionist
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To: secretagent
bump
24 posted on 12/25/2001 6:48:09 PM PST by timestax
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To: lanceboyle
bttt
25 posted on 12/26/2001 10:05:17 AM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
Good article - thanks!
26 posted on 12/26/2001 12:36:37 PM PST by secretagent
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To: Pokey78
bump
27 posted on 12/26/2001 3:21:55 PM PST by timestax
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To: GuillermoX
bttt
28 posted on 12/27/2001 12:21:24 PM PST by timestax
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To: Clinton's a rapist;Islamic_Violence ;Pokey78
Ugly, and scary!

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Islamic_Violence

Click here: Islamic_Violence

I found an interesting forum here:

al-imam.net Message Board ::: al-imam.net General Discussion ::: Wahabis are root cause of all muslim world problem

We had a heavy discussion last night here:

Freeper Message- Stop The Muslims Bashing !!

29 posted on 12/27/2001 12:38:38 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: XBob
bump
30 posted on 12/27/2001 12:43:58 PM PST by timestax
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To: JmyBryan
bump
31 posted on 12/27/2001 2:18:08 PM PST by timestax
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To: Valin
bump
32 posted on 12/27/2001 2:28:39 PM PST by timestax
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To: Clinton's a rapist
said well. The more I read of the Islamic culture, the more more I'm reminded that they only respond to shows of masculine strength, as in crushing military victory. It seems to bear out. When Al Queda thought that all American males were like the cast of Friends or some other mindless Hollywood sitcom, they felt confident that they could crush the USA.

They miscalculated. They met our Rangers, Marines and SEALs instead.

33 posted on 12/27/2001 2:45:07 PM PST by moodyskeptic
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To: moodyskeptic
bttt
34 posted on 12/27/2001 3:52:10 PM PST by timestax
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To: hsszionist
bttt
35 posted on 12/27/2001 3:52:59 PM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
bttt
36 posted on 12/27/2001 4:16:12 PM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
bttt
37 posted on 12/29/2001 12:07:18 AM PST by timestax
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To: timestax
bump for the newbies to read!!
38 posted on 12/29/2001 12:13:23 AM PST by timestax
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To: Valin
bump for the newbies!!
39 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:08 AM PST by timestax
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To: l33t
Islamic societies are still stuck in the 18th century.

18th century? You are much too kind. I would have said maybe the 12th century, or earlier.

40 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:08 AM PST by Mark17
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: StopTheGuilt
bttt !!
42 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:10 AM PST by timestax
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To: l33t
Not the 18th century, but the seventh.
43 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:12 AM PST by crystalk
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To: Pokey78
Not its own enemy, but an enemy to any NON-Islamic person, nation, or faith!

Mecca cult is world capital of xenophobia. Mecca lacks diversity.

44 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:12 AM PST by crystalk
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To: moodyskeptic
They miscalculated. They met our Rangers, Marines and SEALs instead. They also met the Todd Beamers of the USA!
45 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:15 AM PST by Ace's Dad
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: Clinton's a rapist
To some extent, of course, that is a reflection of the fact that it is harder to completely brainwash the people of a sophisticated, intellectually diverse, modern industrial power than a bunch of pre-scientific savages eking out a shabby existence in the middle of the Arabian desert. In any event, as its memetic approach is essentially militaristic, the best way to deal with Islam is to inflict repeated, crushing military defeats on its adherents, and continue until their resolve collapses and the cult implodes, much as Nazism and State Shinto did at the end of World War II.

So well said I'll repost it. This can't continue. We have been too tolerant. Y'know, with all that oil money you might have thought that Arabs would have been building schools, universities for their fellow muslims, at least something to improve things. No, they've been giving to the local terrorist organizations, building palaces and stocking up on Swiss bank accounts.

47 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:16 AM PST by xJones
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To: StopTheGuilt
But two of his sons are studying in the United States. He says that they will be better able to understand their enemy.

Well, kick the rastards out! What the hell is so difficult about that?

48 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:17 AM PST by xJones
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To: StopTheGuilt
Lets hope that someone is keeping a eye on these two lads.
OTOH they just might take a look around and realise that our system works pretty good.
49 posted on 12/29/2001 12:17:20 AM PST by Valin
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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