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Rising Threat of Hindu Extremism
Boston Globe ^ | 7/12/2002 | Greenway

Posted on 07/15/2002 9:53:04 AM PDT by traditionalist

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:07:59 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

Whereas Vajpayee was the human face of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has led a coalition government for four years, Advani is more in tune with the party's base of radical nationalists who seek to undermine the secular India of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. In addition, Advani's policy towards Pakistan is larded with nuclear threats and bellicosity.


(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: advani; bjp; hindism; hindu; india; islam; moslem; muslim; pakistan; southasialist; vajpayee
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1 posted on 07/15/2002 9:53:04 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
For some reason, you omitted the opening paragraph

WHILE THE Western World worries about Islam, the specter of Hindu nationalism carries the potential of threatening the stability of the Indian subcontinent and the world beyond. A bit of bad news out of New Delhi earlier this month was that the hard-line, Pakistan-bashing home minister, Lal Krishna Advani, had been named the number two man in the Indian government and a potential successor to the ailing and aging Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

2 posted on 07/15/2002 9:59:40 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
The RSS is a Hindu group that rivals the Taliban in fanaticism and holds significant power in the BJP. It is as frightening as the Islamic radicals. Not only because of their own numbers, but because they incite the worst of the Muslims.

Indeed, the recent India-Pakistan flareups are largely due to the desire of the government to externalize what is largely an internal problem. Dealing with it internally would mean sitting on the RSS.

-Eric

3 posted on 07/15/2002 10:04:40 AM PDT by E Rocc
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To: traditionalist
Okay, why exactly is this article doing its best to make Muslims seem like complete victims in all this? I seem to remember Islamists starting a big hubub by setting a traincar (and a few busses packed with women and children) on fire killing dozens and dozens of people. The alleged 'hundreds of muslims killed while police looked on' seems to be something of an exageration to make Islam look like the lesser of two evils...just my opinion...I could be wrong.
4 posted on 07/15/2002 10:12:08 AM PDT by Live free or die
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To: Dog Gone
Sorry. Posting mistake. Thanks for posting it.
5 posted on 07/15/2002 10:14:24 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
HDS Greenway is a notorious bleeding heart with a strong anti Indian bias he has expressed in many columns that he writes for the editorial pages of the Glob.

He, like so many others, is threatened by an india that can watch out for its own self interest.

The CongressParty is always touted as the solution to the problems of the current govt. Conveniently forgotten is their 50 year history of an antiAmerican bias, a socialist economy and their placating of the muslim minority that led to ever increasing demands on part of the muslim hardliners.

Next you'll be touting Maureen Dowd as an avatar of American political thought.

And of course, no mention of the original atrocity against Hindu pilgrims by whom......
6 posted on 07/15/2002 10:17:01 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Live free or die
Okay, why exactly is this article doing its best to make Muslims seem like complete victims in all this? I seem to remember Islamists starting a big hubub by setting a traincar (and a few busses packed with women and children) on fire killing dozens and dozens of people. The alleged 'hundreds of muslims killed while police looked on' seems to be something of an exageration to make Islam look like the lesser of two evils...just my opinion...I could be wrong.

Moslems in India are not a peaceful bunch, and the incident you mention was not unprovoked, but they have been bona fide victims of unprovoked Hindu Nationalist violence in some cases. The destruction of the 700 year-old (I don't remember the exact age) Babri mosque a few years ago, and the accompanying riots and killing is one example. Hindu Nationalists have also harrassed and assulted Christians in many incidents.

As a threat, I agree with you that Islam is the worst of them, but Hindu naitonalism is also an evil not to be ignored.

7 posted on 07/15/2002 10:20:26 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: swarthyguy
I'm not touting anyone. I just thought this article was interesting.
8 posted on 07/15/2002 10:21:28 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: E Rocc
I don't care much for Hindu extremists, although at least they aren't flying airplanes into American buildings. They are a threat, though, to democracy in India and so we have a reason to be concerned.

Being rabidly anti-muslim gives them some political cover for now, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

9 posted on 07/15/2002 10:26:30 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: traditionalist
One important distinction is overlooked here.

Hinduism is non-expanisionist.

The same cannot be said of Islam.

10 posted on 07/15/2002 10:30:03 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: swarthyguy
The CongressParty is always touted as the solution to the problems of the current govt. Conveniently forgotten is their 50 year history of an antiAmerican bias, a socialist economy and their placating of the muslim minority that led to ever increasing demands on part of the muslim hardliners.

Yes, from what you've said earlier and what I've gleaned elsewhere, the Congress Party is certainly not the solution.

11 posted on 07/15/2002 10:30:19 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: B Knotts
Hinduism is non-expanisionist. The same cannot be said of Islam.

"Less expansionist" is a better adjective. Islam seeks to conquer the world. Hindu Nationalists want to dominate a "greater Hindustan," which goes beyond the present borders of India. So yes, I agree Islam is the greater threat, but Hindu Nationalism is not to be dismissed.

12 posted on 07/15/2002 10:33:49 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: swarthyguy
CongressParty is always touted as the solution to the problems of the current govt.

Yes, I know the Congress Party is socialist and completely hopeless. From what I have read about Indian politics, the only parties that aren't socialist are Hindu Nationalist. There do not appear to be any major secularist, pro free-market parties. Am I wrong?

13 posted on 07/15/2002 10:38:27 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
What do we mean by more secular? Do we mean Stalinism? I am worried at the assumed logic here; the more secular a state is the better for all. America isn't exactly secular. Here, even Atheists enjoy the rights afforded to them by principles extracted from Jewish/Christian philosophy. As much as we try to separate Church and State here we still fundamentally owe our current governmental philosophy to religion, which is, where the concept of justice is fundamentally defined.

Religion is not the antithesis to governance. (Constantine)

14 posted on 07/15/2002 10:40:01 AM PDT by SQUID
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To: traditionalist
You have a point; there is a desire for "Akhand Bharat," which seems to encompass all of British India, and then some. Strange, since from historical sources I've seen, there has never been such a nation, encompassing all those areas.

Still, radical Islam is a much more immediate threat to peace worldwide.

15 posted on 07/15/2002 10:41:16 AM PDT by B Knotts
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To: traditionalist
Let's see, who are the Hindus mad at? The Christian West? Noooo. Moslems? Why yes! And why are they mad at Moslems? Could it be that Moslem militants have been blowing up Hindus for decades? Methinks we have nothing to really worry about with the Hindus.
16 posted on 07/15/2002 10:44:08 AM PDT by Junior
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To: Junior
Let's see, who are the Hindus mad at? The Christian West?

Actually, yes (in addition to Moslems). Radical Hindus view Christianity as a foriegn contaminant. There have been incidents of anti-Christian throughout India.

17 posted on 07/15/2002 11:14:53 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
Congress's brand of secularism has taken a beating because the increasing radicalisation of indian muslims over the past 10-15 years and the rise of islamic jihadism in Pakistan. Constant concessions to the Muslims and a dogmatic adherence to socialist, central command economy lost them crediblity among the middle class voters.
The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by an LTTE suicidal murderess left a void at the top of the party.

Older pro-US freemarket secularist parties are a part of the ruling BJP coalition; for example, the erstwhile Foreign Minister turned Economics Minister, Jaswant Singh was a leading light in the old Swatantra party, the most ProUS and free-enterprise party in the Indian polity.

IMO, the extremism and chauvinism of the BJP is exaggerated;
there is an increased nationalism, but view that in the eyes of an aggressive China to the east, a rabidly militant Pakistan financed by Saudi money to the west, a vicious proxy war conducted by Pakistan against India in Kashmir.

If the Congress Party broke free of the shackles of its reflexive antiAmericanism and anti freemarket system, it would probably garner a lot of votes. But it would also have to cease its affirmative action bias when it comes to Muslims; and stop coddling them in order to get their votes. They would also have to distance themselves from the Communist parties and the trade unions.

I'm not diminshing the horrendous antiChristian attacks that happened, particularly early in the 90's. However, no less a man whose ministry has a large presence in India, Pat Robertson, has commended the authorities in tracking down the perpetrators of those crimes.

In short, the secular, freemarket indian parties are a crtical part of the ruling coalition headed by the BJP.
In fact, Advani, who Greenway treats as the antiChrist, is a very open market, hi-tech booster, albeit being an RSS supporter from way back when.

Are the Hindu nationalists expansionist? Sure. They would like to see Pakistan gone and the equivalent of the British Raj in a geographical sense.

Do they claim the whole world as a Dar-el-Hindu? No.

The saffronistas do not claim Hinduism as a worldwide phenomenon. They don't seek to impose some kind of Hindu type sharia on a worldwide basis.

Primarily their objections are more along cultural lines; too much 'westernisation' of the young; an antipathy to American fast food; i think they torched a KFC a few years ago. They end up sounding and acting much like the French.
18 posted on 07/15/2002 11:15:54 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: traditionalist; livius
That's their viewpoint; that Christianity is foreign to India. But they're wrong; Christian scholars will tell you that Christianity arrived on the western shores of India at a very early date; earlier than some parts of Europe even.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable with the history of early Christianity will be able to add to this.

19 posted on 07/15/2002 11:19:55 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: SQUID
What do we mean by more secular? Do we mean Stalinism?

No, I mean a state that does not establish any religion, does not hinder the peaceful expression of religion, and does not favor citizens of one religion over another.

I am worried at the assumed logic here; the more secular a state is the better for all. America isn't exactly secular.

It is secular in the sense the I put forth. It is rightly not secular in the sense that all religion is banished from government.

Here, even Atheists enjoy the rights afforded to them by principles extracted from Jewish/Christian philosophy. As much as we try to separate Church and State here we still fundamentally owe our current governmental philosophy to religion, which is, where the concept of justice is fundamentally defined.

Hinduism does not contain the same principles of justice as Christianity. Consider that before you start advocating a Hindu-dominated government.

20 posted on 07/15/2002 11:23:48 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
"There have been incidents of anti-Christian throughout India."

In a country of 1.2+ billion people, you can find evidence of virtually anything. The perps have been tracked down and arrested. I don't know all the details and stats but there certainly has not been any lack of effort on part of the authorities to nab the nutcases.

And not all over India; most the antiChristian violence occurred in the northern "Hindu" belt. Other hindu areas across the country were not affected ie. Bombay, Kerala, Goa, the entire southern half, so certain hot spots existed and were dealt with; but Christians all across the country were certainly not threatened on a wholesale basis.
21 posted on 07/15/2002 11:23:57 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
In short, the secular, freemarket indian parties are a crtical part of the ruling coalition headed by the BJP.

I'm surprised how free-market they've been; before they took office I thought that whole "swadeshi" thing was a big part of their platform. I know some of their extremist trouble makers have attacked stores selling Valentine's Day paraphenalia and (as you say) a KFC, but the anti-Western variety seems to be the least extreme of the strains of cultural protectionism that crop in BJP thinking.

22 posted on 07/15/2002 11:24:18 AM PDT by untenured
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To: swarthyguy
Thanks for that very informative post. Do you have a link that gives more information about the secularist, pro free-market parties in India?
23 posted on 07/15/2002 11:26:45 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
The BJP just succesfully nominated a Muslim to be the next president of India http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/716422/posts .
Some religious extremists.
This article and those like it on Anti-war.com and the mainstreme publications are an attemp by the left to discredit our allies. This is anti-anti-communism applied to the war on Islamist-terror.
24 posted on 07/15/2002 11:27:54 AM PDT by rmlew
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To: swarthyguy
That's their viewpoint; that Christianity is foreign to India. But they're wrong; Christian scholars will tell you that Christianity arrived on the western shores of India at a very early date; earlier than some parts of Europe even.

Yes, I have read a little about this. According to local tradition, the Apostle Thomas was the first to bring Christianity to India. If this is indeed true, then Christianity came to India a thousand years before it came to the Slavic parts of Europe, and several hundred years before it reached the parts under Germanic control.

25 posted on 07/15/2002 11:31:19 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: untenured
"Swadeshi" -- self sufficiency was actually a Gandhian and Congress concept that was also taken up by the rightwing parties like that composing of the BJP coaltion because of its popularity. Unfortunately, a dogmatic adherence to it led to closed import markets and a severe case of statism.

As a country, India still adheres to it as a concept but with a flexibility component; if there's a better mousetrap elsewhere, let's import it and reverse engineer it. Let's learn from those who do things better seems to be the ever increasing mantra.
26 posted on 07/15/2002 11:32:17 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: *southasia_list
Index Bump
27 posted on 07/15/2002 11:35:50 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: traditionalist
No links of the top of my head but here are some good webzines with a lot of contemporary articles about all these issues, as they get vigorously debated in Indian society. Careful, EuroLeftism is strongly entrenched in the Indian intelligentsia.

www.outlookindia.com ( Mainly liberal/moderate with some conservative type voices....
www.sulekha.com - Goto Newshopper or Articles.
www.rediff.com ( Search for Varsha Bhosle; she's the literary equivalent of a pen wielding JoanofArc -- or the Indian Ann Coulter as she's been referred to. Fun to read, even if the cultural references can be obscure sometimes.
28 posted on 07/15/2002 11:37:57 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
"Swadeshi" -- self sufficiency was actually a Gandhian and Congress concept that was also taken up by the rightwing parties like that composing of the BJP coaltion because of its popularity.

Wasn't Swadeshi originally Ghandi's call for cottage industry? I seem to remember reading that it began with him calling upon all Indians to spin their own clothes.

29 posted on 07/15/2002 11:38:48 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: rmlew
That's definitely a good sign, and assuages my fears somewhat, but my there are many things that seem to indicate that this was an empty political gesture. From the article:

"The surprise nomination of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the mainly ceremonial post...
"Election to the presidency would make Kalam supreme commander of the armed forces under the constitution but analysts say effective military control resides with the government."

30 posted on 07/15/2002 11:42:39 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: swarthyguy
Thanks for the links.
31 posted on 07/15/2002 11:42:59 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
Yes, it came out of the fact that there were no clothing factories in India. All cotton was exported to Great Britian, where the clothes were made in factories and shipped back to India for sale. Profits, technology knowhow etc all stayed in the UK. That was the genesis of make and wear your own clothes.

Something similar happened when people stared gathering their own salt from tidal flats, thereby bypassing the British Imperial Salt monopoly.
32 posted on 07/15/2002 11:50:30 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: traditionalist
The Presidency of any parliamentary could be considered an empty suit. In Germany, for instance. In England, the Queen is the head of state.

Regardless, it sets a tone at the top of the government by the calibre of the man. Kalam is a unique eccentric guy; a bachelor rocket scientist, a muslim vegetarian whose father earned a living by ferrying Hindu pilgrims to a shrine, he can quote from both the Koran and the Gita.

The best endorsement i have seen of him is that arabnews.com, the flagship paper of Riyadh and islamonline.net have referred to him as a "Muslim", enclosing the word in quotes. They insult him by enclosing his religion in quotes. Obviously, to their eyes, he is an apostate. Let's not even bring up his official visits to Israel to exchange info with the defense establishment there.

BTW, this is the third or fourth muslim President that India has had.
33 posted on 07/15/2002 11:57:57 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
Sounds like he's what might be called an Islamic non-conformist.
34 posted on 07/15/2002 12:34:50 PM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
"an Islamic non-conformist."

Otherwise known as -dead- in islamic countries.

35 posted on 07/15/2002 12:47:37 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
Otherwise known as -dead- in islamic countries.

Some, not all. For example, did not unorthodox Islamic beliefs such as Sufiism flourish under the Mughals?

36 posted on 07/15/2002 1:18:23 PM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
Yes. Tongue in cheek with a particular reference to the more extreme arab regimes, like Saudi.
37 posted on 07/15/2002 1:25:42 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: traditionalist
No, I mean a state that does not establish any religion, does not hinder the peaceful expression of religion, and does not favor citizens of one religion over another.

Well, India fits the bill here except for the last part...since it has favored Muslims since partition. What we are seeing in India today is part of "Nehru's legacy."

This is the second article to be posted in the last 24 hours bashing India's supposed extremism and mistreatment of minorities. Well, it's a steaming load of dung.

If the press wants true mistreatment of minorities or a threat of extremism to write about, they have no further to look than "Azad" Kashmir, or Pakistan itself. Why will the media not look at the truth?

38 posted on 07/15/2002 2:32:50 PM PDT by keri
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To: traditionalist
B4 we worry about this writers' Hindu boogieman maybe we should finish taking care of an actual threat - the one's who have killed thousands of Americans over the past few years - the radical islamic bastards.
39 posted on 07/15/2002 2:37:59 PM PDT by KSCITYBOY
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To: dighton
Ping. You always seem interested in things sub-continental. parsy.
40 posted on 07/15/2002 2:44:55 PM PDT by parsifal
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To: keri
Well, India fits the bill here except for the last part...

Right now, yes. The problem is that there are elements withing the BJP that don't want it to fit that bill. My only point is that we should be aware of them and not ignore them.

41 posted on 07/15/2002 3:17:20 PM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
"The surprise nomination of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for the mainly ceremonial post...

The Presidency in India (and many other ex-Brtish Parlaimentary democracies) is a ceremonial position analogous to that of the modern British Monarchy. Nevertheless, making a Muslim head of state is a serious political statement. If the BJP wanted a theocracy, they would have put in a Hindu nationalist or religious leader. By picking a assimilated and moderate Muslim, the BJP made the statement that Muslims are part of a pluralistic but mainly Hindu Indian society.

"Election to the presidency would make Kalam supreme commander of the armed forces under the constitution but analysts say effective military control resides with the government."
And these analysts are?
This is a case of journalistic doublespeak. They acknowledge a flaw in their arguement and then say it is irrelevent by saying that some analysts told them so.

42 posted on 07/15/2002 3:35:40 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: traditionalist
This is hilarious, I hope Greenway is just doing a favor for his Islamist buddies by trying to take some heat off them (not working). We have much bigger problems to deal with and this aint one of them.
43 posted on 07/15/2002 3:48:54 PM PDT by Aaron_A
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To: traditionalist
At this point, I say one enemy at a time.

AFTER we wipe the Muslime and Islamazis off the planet, we can turn to the next group of inhuman scum that pop up.

44 posted on 07/15/2002 4:59:27 PM PDT by Itzlzha
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To: traditionalist
Thank you traditionalist. I simply wanted to understand better. I did not, by the way, suggest any sort of government dominated by either religion. In this case, however, I think they must try to incorporate the basic principles of justice from both sides. We are not dealing with the American mindset.

Where is the threat? The problem is with those who believe it's their God given duty to make you Muslim or die. In that case there is no common ground and no negotiating, only war. If it lies with any side, that has been the Ottoman (and now the neo-Ottoman) M.O., at least, for the last 600 years and I doubt they are going to rest any time soon. (In the Balkans during the 15th Century, the Ottoman Sultan took the youngest child of non-muslim families and raised them as Muslims) I would reexamine where that threat lies, all you have to do is look at Chechnya, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Philippines, Congo... Look at the History!

45 posted on 07/15/2002 5:04:19 PM PDT by SQUID
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To: SQUID
Where is the threat?

Peace in central Asia is essential to American security interests. An expansionsit India run by Hindu Nationalists would threaten that peace.

The problem is with those who believe it's their God given duty to make you Muslim or die. In that case there is no common ground and no negotiating, only war. If it lies with any side, that has been the Ottoman (and now the neo-Ottoman) M.O., at least, for the last 600 years and I doubt they are going to rest any time soon.

The West had no major conflicts with the Ottomans from the 18th century until WW1, and that would not have happened had the British accepted an alliance that the Ottomans had proposed. Rebuffed by the British, they allied themselves with the Germans, and the rest is history. The Ottomans never attacked the British, but rather the British used their alliance (signed before the war) with the Germans as a pretext for invading the Middle East.

In earlier times the Ottomans assisted the British in defeating Bonaparte. There exist many examples of Islamic countries that are at peace with the West: Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia, and Turkey to name a few.

(In the Balkans during the 15th Century, the Ottoman Sultan took the youngest child of non-muslim families and raised them as Muslims)

I'm not endorsing this practice, but it was not as if anyone was killed, and it was not from every family. Those children later made up an elite force in the Sultan's army and were highly decorated members of his court, if I remember correctly. Many empires, Islamic and non-Islamic, had similar practices.

Your contention that the Ottomans believed it was their "God given duty to make you Muslim or die," as you put it, is simply untrue.

I would reexamine where that threat lies, all you have to do is look at Chechnya, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Philippines, Congo... Look at the History!

Contrary to what some people think, history does not show the West in constant conflict with the Islamic world.

Saddam Hussein is not an Islamist, but a secularist and a socialist. Radical Islamists want to overthrow regimes like his. Chechnya wants independence from Russia, so that conflict is driven by nationalism, not religion, though as in Afganistan's war against the Soviets and most other wars of independence, religion is employed in the service of nationalism.

Of course, there are certain forms of Islam that are a threat, one much greater than Hindu nationalism, and that form of Islam is dominant in the places you mention. But just because one threat is greater than another does not mean that the lesser one is to be ignored.

46 posted on 07/16/2002 6:36:15 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: traditionalist
Agreed. Thank you for the discussion. Interesting. :)) No extreme is beneficial when peace is at stake. It angers me, the last semi-presidential administration, to allow a muslim extremist such as Alia Isetbegovich to be the president of Bosnia when in 1956 he wrote a book in which he sated that the Balkan region must be rid of all non-Muslims. If his intent is to use whatever means necessary to achieve his destructive goal how was he seen as an officer of Democracy, civil rights, and peace? It's sick policies like these which fuel the hatred we later have to send "peace" keepers in to stop. We have had a failed foreign policy for 8 years and unfortunately I believe much of the world is reacting to it negatively.

Your right, Islam and the West have little conflict with one another, directly anyway. But wait. We have yet to border an Islamic nation and we have yet to see a giant Islamic majority in the US.

the reason why I bring up the Balkan region is because it an excellent example of Western political failure. There, Islam and Christianity are at a front with on another, causing this friction. The Easter Orthodox Church has experienced the full force of Islam to the amusment of the Western cousin.

47 posted on 07/16/2002 10:39:50 AM PDT by SQUID
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To: SQUID
Yes, I agree with you completely. Our policy in Bosnia is totally screwed up. If you ask me, we should have let the Serbs and Croats ship off all the Mohammedans in the Balkins to Albania.

I also agree that Islam can only be peacefully coexisted with when it is at arm's length. That's why we should have as little to do with the Islamic world as possible.

48 posted on 07/17/2002 7:13:18 AM PDT by traditionalist
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To: E Rocc
As I understand it, it was a member of the RSS that killed Gandhi. (apparently Gandhi was insufficiently Hindu)
49 posted on 07/17/2002 7:29:58 AM PDT by Hamza01
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To: swarthyguy
HDS Greenway is a notorious bleeding heart with a strong anti Indian bias he has expressed in many columns that he writes for the editorial pages of the Glob.

----> He's always been no good on Israel too. He's cut from Boston Brahmin cloth thinking he some divine right to judge other peoples and be amused by their doings. Screw him.
50 posted on 07/17/2002 7:32:30 AM PDT by dennisw
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