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Secularization as part of the Current World Order and Islam
Islam Online ^ | April 15, 2002 | Dr. Siraj Islam Mufti

Posted on 04/15/2002 6:06:27 PM PDT by swarthyguy

A consistent theme given prominence in the impending war of civilizations is the secularization of the Muslim world. With the United States gaining its world superiority, it is now being pushed with the utmost vigor and has become a sine qua non for its dealings with Muslim countries.

The problem is that secularism is a purely Western construct, developed in the particular European environment in response to Church excesses and the ensuing antagonism it produced, furthered by internecine Christian wars of the time, culminating in the separation of church and state. Thus, secularism, as it evolved, is based on the exclusion of faith having any significant role in human affairs and is devoid of the essentiality of transcendence with its vital role in human existence. This is the opposite of the Muslim experience with Islam. Rather than letting them lead their lives in accordance with their Islamic aspirations, the U.S. is intent on imposing a Western secular value system upon Muslims. In order to accomplish this objective, Islamic schools and mosques have now become the major targets.

Since every measure taken after September 11 is labeled as a “war on terrorism,” Islamic schools and mosques are not immune and are being projected as the breeding grounds of terrorism. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times writing in a column in the November 27, 2001, issue believes that the West is “not fighting to eradicate ‘terrorism.’ Terrorism is just a tool … [it is] fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism. … But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism can’t be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.”

There are many secularist leaders within Muslim countries who are ready and willing to do the job: for example, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. In a speech to his nation on January 12, 2002, he attempted to prove that every ill afflicting his country, and Muslims in general, is because of the “misinterpretation” of Islam, and if cured of it, Pakistan could become a “progressive” heaven on earth for other Muslims to emulate. As a result, he has since then instituted restrictions on the building of new mosques and ordered that all religious schools henceforth be registered and their curricula “improved” by including secular subject matters. The U.S. administration was pushing for these changes all along, and now has promised some help in “reforming the education” of Pakistani youngsters.

Thus Pakistan is “progressing” on the lines that Egypt already is, where religious education is in state hands and the construction of mosques is placed under strict restrictions: requiring a deposition of surety with a bank and the acquisition of a permit from the relevant government ministry. Such is the case with most other Muslim countries.

General Pervez Musharraf is pushing forward the secularization of Pakistan

This was great news for Western leaders, especially the media, since Pakistan is home to strong Islamic movements. They appreciated the “leadership” qualities of Musharraf and his “vision” of “a new course for the Muslim world.” As an example, the January 28 issue of Newsweek adorned him with a lengthy five-page article entitled “Pakistan’s Striving Son.” Admiring his unique courage, it said, “his government launched a series of dramatic policies that, if successful, will mean a real about-face for Pakistan. … Not only Musharraf wants to move Pakistan away from its long and troubled drift into theocracy, but he says he hopes to set an example that other Islamic countries with fundamentalist undercurrents will follow” (Mind you, Islam does not advocate rule by clergy or any elitist group, but it is egalitarian, and stands for popular vicegerency of humans under the sovereignty of God).

Then comparing him with Anwar Sadat of Egypt, it says, “Musharraf exhibits similar daring and vision, and also similar hubris. Many Pakistanis fear, and some of them wish, that he may yet meet Sadat’s bloody fate.” The same magazine had earlier called him a weak military dictator with a dilemma. Even now, it stated, “Musharraf is touchy when his democratic credentials are challenged. He pledges to hold parliamentary elections in October, but also plans to remain in place as president. ‘I have to do it not just for my sake, but for the sake of the nation,’ he says (echoing a line dear to many a dictator)” (Italics added).

The West, in all honesty, must admit that terrorism cannot be associated with any particular religion or people; and for that matter, it should also examine itself. Europe and the U.S. have by far the greater amount of terrorism, as apparent from the daily incidents of homicide reported in U.S. towns and metropolises. For example, in the U.S., 22,000 innocent civilians die every year as a result of heavy firearm shooting: because a growing number of fanatics (among them children) have in some cases suddenly started firing indiscriminately at persons in their vicinity - in schools, workplaces, and other places. And the government is unable to check this widespread terror among its citizens. Yet, it plays the role of policeman for the world, arrogating to itself the right to categorize whomever it wants to label as “terrorist.”

This blame is specifically directed at Islam and Muslims. Writing in the March 18, 2002, issue of the Washington Times, Anthony Sullivan and Louis Cantori, two well-known Middle East experts, write, “There is the policy posture that suggests Washington’s agreement with the notion that Islam is inherently a “fanatic” religion. … The demonization of Islam is troubling in two respects. First, it may be understood to justify establishment of an American world empire. Any such American imperium would assuredly not prove to be in the long-term interests of the United States. This policy orientation, of course, reflects views which are expressed regularly by American neoconservatives.” Further, that “the apparent association of Islam with fanaticism is related to an additional troubling phenomenon. This association suggests that both government officials and journalists have not understood how categorical and widespread the condemnation by prominent Muslim religious leaders of what occurred on September 11 has been” (Italics added).

Let us also look at Islamic schools in Muslim countries, which have been following the same curricula for generations and hundred of years. Like other religious schools, their primary goal is to teach the Islamic faith, its scholarship, and its ethical and moral principles. Their curriculum encompasses reading of the Qur’an and its Tafsir (exegesis) provided by a reputed scholar, along with Hadith (sayings of the Prophet of Islam) and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) literature at the advanced level. There is nothing in the courses taught that could be remotely associated with terrorist teachings, such as the mechanics and use of firearms. In fact, incidences of violence are very low among graduates from these schools. On the other hand, it is the secular schools, colleges and universities (those inherited from the colonial period, and added on to) where armed groups exist and where incidents of terror and death take place. To those critics who often give the example of the Taliban one could ask the question, where did they learn this art? It was during the war with the former Soviet Union from where they received their training, along with the active assistance of the U.S. If this is true, as is generally acknowledged, then why are those who trained them accusing others of its occurrence in places where it is not?

In order to fight terrorism, the West and the U.S. would have to address the causes that lead to it. Terrorism is an act of desperation by those deprived of their rights; all it needs in order for it to end are just and fair solutions. Muslim desperation with the U.S., extending from a few terrorists to their predominantly large peace loving populations (totaling 1.3 billion in more than 55 countries), is largely due to the following reasons:

It is unjustly aligned with Israel against the Palestinians, while Israel violates its agreed upon accords and continues the Occupation, raiding Palestinian homes and killing civilians and children with U.S. supplied tanks, gunships and F16s.

It has instituted mindless cruel sanctions on Iraq, which has caused the death of more than 500,000 children and another 500,000 adults, mostly the elderly. And in general, it not only backs, but also ensures that their ruthless rulers remain entrenched in the status quo.

The real root cause of problems of the West is its adoption of Godless secularism that, along with its associated atheism, has led to its crass materialism, hedonism and moral and environmental decay. It has produced grave problems in its society, causing its disintegration, which is also very evident in its basic institution of the family. It is because of the absence of ethical and moral education that Western society is suffering from decadence, with constant increase in daily occurrences of crime and drug use, juvenile delinquency, violence, sex exploitation and abuse, along with rampant racism. Admittedly, Muslim societies suffer from grave problems of economic and political leadership, but their family institutions are strong and they possess a long tradition of firmly established values emanating from their mosques and religious schools.

Indeed, the current phenomenon of satellites beaming their shows into most homes in the Muslim world provides a stark contrast: that with the importation of secular values, the problems peculiar to the West are now emerging in the Muslim societies as well. Is this what the West wants to propagate to others? Shouldn’t it rather seek remedy for its grave moral and societal problems, rather than throw them onto the world stage?

The right course would be for the West and the U.S. to refrain from blind advocacy of secularism as the solution for Muslims and to conversely seek and adopt mutually beneficial ways of life in cooperation with them. Many Western intellectuals are conscious of the immorality of their social order and its implications for future social economy. Therefore, these leaders of conscience, rather than acquiescing in eroding the eternal transcendental nature of Islam and replacing it with spiritually blind, transient, relativistic and valueless secularism, should join forces with their counterparts from Muslim countries. They should thus work conscientiously to restore transcendence to their society - that is groping for it, in the prevailing darkness of minds - with their extant God-given goodness. Only when they are so engaged sincerely, they would, hopefully, through their unrelenting activism be able to convince government leaders and politicians not to become captives of arrogance and give in to wrongful ways, thereby arriving at a beneficial norm for the good of humankind.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizatio; islam; musharraf; muslim; nwo; pakistan

1 posted on 04/15/2002 6:06:27 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
The real root cause of problems of the West is its adoption of Godless secularism that, along with its associated atheism, has led to its crass materialism, hedonism and moral and environmental decay. It has produced grave problems in its society, causing its disintegration, which is also very evident in its basic institution of the family. It is because of the absence of ethical and moral education that Western society is suffering from decadence, with constant increase in daily occurrences of crime and drug use, juvenile delinquency, violence, sex exploitation and abuse, along with rampant racism.

The above is the really tricky sneaky part of the argument. I have not doubt that many would agree with all or some of the criticisms expressed above, but none would advocate a heavy handed theocratic solution, least of all the one offered by the writer.

Admittedly, Muslim societies suffer from grave problems of economic and political leadership, but their family institutions are strong and they possess a long tradition of firmly established values emanating from their mosques and religious schools.

Strong enough to tolerate losing one out of a every few kids to "firmly established values emanating....."
Emanating is right!
2 posted on 04/15/2002 6:13:55 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: swarthyguy
Moral decay? Wouldn't that better describe Mohammed Atta: the lap dance scoring, liqour swilling, murdering jihadi along with their corrupt imams who send them out and the corrupt culture which fetes them?
3 posted on 04/15/2002 6:19:05 PM PDT by Dialup Llama
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To: swarthyguy
>but their family institutions are strong and they possess a long tradition of firmly established values emanating from their mosques and religious schools.

Would those family values include sending out a daughter with a bomb belt on and profiting from her death no less?

4 posted on 04/15/2002 6:20:29 PM PDT by Dialup Llama
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To: swarthyguy
, with constant increase in daily occurrences of crime and drug use, juvenile delinquency, violence, sex exploitation and abuse, along with rampant racism.

Except that this sentence is factually incorrect. Crime is dropping. Things are getting better, as evidenced by uniform crime statistics. The left and the arabs have a reputation as liars.

/john

5 posted on 04/15/2002 6:23:28 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper
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To: Dialup Llama
Just as the Germans and to a lesser extent, the Japanese, misunderstood the true nature of America, so will the islamatics.
Superficially, America is all goodtime charlies, beachs, bars, discos dancing and music. But, boy, interrupt our pursuits and watch out.
Arab Street, mean the American Couch!

Jacque Barzun's book, "From Dawn to Decadence" about 500 years of western history, should be renamed
From Dawn to Decadence to Rebirth!!
Are these bozos going to regret that they hit us before they had nukes.
6 posted on 04/15/2002 6:28:27 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: kd5cts
True, but he's talking about the West and in general i think all freedom secular societies around the world that offer their citizens equal rights, freedom of worship, association etc etc.
7 posted on 04/15/2002 6:30:47 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: kd5cts
The left and the arabs have a reputation as liars.
And deservedly so, you're right.
8 posted on 04/15/2002 6:32:01 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Dialup Llama
Wait a second:: lapdancing, liquor swillings...isn't that the domain of secularists?:))
9 posted on 04/15/2002 6:35:20 PM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: Dialup Llama
HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE'S A TERRORIST BY THEIR BUT.. One unifying factor with all terrorist is that they can rationalize it. I'm blowing myself up and killing others because of this, this, and this. I am mad at the political atrocities in several nations, but I am not going strap a bomb on myself or for the cowards- a child. I am just amazed how they will say "terrorism is wrong, BUT,,," and it's always that" BUT..." that signals they are a Terrorist.
10 posted on 04/15/2002 6:35:49 PM PDT by jobedo
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To: swarthyguy
The organizational contrast between Christianity and Islam could not be more complete. Christ wanted no part of the state: "my kingdom is not of this world". Early Christianity had no sacred texts. The Gospels were not written down until nearly 80 years after the Crucifixion. There was not even a Creed, or organized statement of doctrine, until the Council of Nicae (now part of Islamic Turkey) 185 years after Christ founded the Church. It had no organized source of financing. It had no army ("Put your sword into the sheath" John 18:11).

In contradistinction, Islam was created by Mohammed as a complete universe, encompassing both secular and sacred. It had a legal system, the sharia, a form of government based on descendance from the Prophet, the caliphate, a written koran, an army, the Companions and a source of revenue, the pilgrimage trade to Mecca, once to a meteor, hence renamed the haj.

Islam, its adherents claim, is "more than a religion". They are right. It is a world you enter, and from which there is no exit.

Christianity did not adopt the state, rather, the State adopted Christianity, for its own convenient purposes. Constantine, in particular, claimed it for the rather worldly purpose of winning a military battle. "In Hoc Signo Vinces". But despite the best efforts of Kings and medieval Popes, Christianity remained rooted in the spirit, and not in the world.

There is no Christian version of sharia law, or a caliphate, or an army (Stalin once asked, "how many divisions has the Pope?", or a haj. And, last time I checked, it had no version of a suicide bomber corps.
11 posted on 04/15/2002 6:39:21 PM PDT by wretchard
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To: swarthyguy
The problem with what Dr. Siraj Islam Mufti has to say here is that he has only part of an argument. Besides ignoring the parts of Islam which advocate violence and discrimination against non-Muslims, his sweeping indictment of secularization is misdirected, since he can show no example of a Muslim society with a remotely comparable standard of living to that of the West which doesn't show most, if not all, of the same characteristics he arbitrarily ascribes to 'secularism'.

However, there may be a middle course satisfactory to most. Islam is probably unique in being the only major religion which has numerous and repeated passages in the Quran and other holy texts which specifically enjoin Muslims to perpetrate acts of violence and discrimination against non-Muslims. If laws (in the US and elsewhere) were passed which defined any such passages (in whatever religion's books) as being not religious or divinely inspired teachings by nature of their inherent injustice to others, only versions of the Quran and other religious texts with those passages expunged could be allowed to be used for any religious or teaching purpose, and the use of texts which include the inciteful passages could result in criminal prosecution and closing of mosques and schools which refuse to comply with the law.

The really advantageous part of this is that it would leave judeo/christian teachings untouched for the most part. With this approach, we could keep the best of Islam and reject the worst of it. It would not amount to censorship, since unexpurgated Islamic texts could be accessed in libraries, for instance. It would just be illegal to use such texts for religious purposes which include passages which incite unlawful or discriminatory actions. And if Muslims don't like it, they can suck sand, IMO.

12 posted on 04/15/2002 6:59:49 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: Post Toasties
it's not as if most people have considered the KJV of the Bible as the only useable version, and versions which have references to an asexual god are being used. Given this, I see no reason not to bar, by law, the use of socially destructive and discriminatory passages from the Quran and other Islamic texts for 'religious' purposes, since they are arguably already in violation of the laws relating to literature which advocates violence and insurrection.
13 posted on 04/15/2002 7:07:30 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: swarthyguy
Btw, your link to the article isn't working for me.
14 posted on 04/15/2002 7:18:12 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: Post Toasties
It's the lack of exigesis, or evolution, of Islam that makes these passages you speak of so dangerous. For centuries, Islamic scholars who sought to bring the religion into the modern era, by putting the Koran into an historical context -- and thus debunk its absolute orthodoxy -- have been persecuted and banished from Islamic society, since they were a threat to the abolute power of the Mullahs. Rather than editing the Koran, it needs scholarly and open interpretation for what it is: the work of "holy" men over a period of time, and not something to be taken verbatim as written by the hand of God, and thus not open to interpretation by mere mortals.

The same slavish devotion applies to the Sharia, or teachings, that accompany the Koran, and not least to the Mullahs who perpetuate this "surrender" of the mind to a totalitarian religion by teaching followers that they can make no moral or religious decision, however insignificant, on their own.

15 posted on 04/15/2002 7:28:58 PM PDT by browardchad
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To: Dialup Llama
Perhaps we've been too harsh on our benighted Musselmani brothers. We should seek to guide them on their path. I see plenty of mouthy female news reporters on Gulf States TV. They should all be guided to the proper role of women under Islam. The key word being under. And the men should abide by the prohibition on alcoholic beverages. If we enforces this rigidly in, say, one of the Gulf states, it might help the Arabs on their way.
16 posted on 04/15/2002 7:40:50 PM PDT by Ukiapah Heep
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To: browardchad
Regardless. I'm simply not of a mind, period, to dally for an indeterminate, but certainly very long, period while naively hoping Islam gains the maturity it has stubbornly resisted for 14 centuries.

My point is that, without violating any commonly accepted religious tenets, we can strip Islam of its hate speech and incitements to violence. Many of us are quite comfortable with interfering more than that to Christianity, as I've pointed out. Therefore,I see no good reason not to excise this, as you point out, dangerous cancer from Islam in the US and other countries.

17 posted on 04/15/2002 7:43:10 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: browardchad
Rather than editing the Koran, it needs scholarly and open interpretation for what it is: the work of "holy" men over a period of time, and not something to be taken verbatim as written by the hand of God, and thus not open to interpretation by mere mortals.

There's simply no viable candidates for this approach; therefore it's not any sort of real world solution to the problem.

18 posted on 04/15/2002 7:45:33 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: Post Toasties
I didn't point out, but I should add here, that we should give Muslim clerics the first opportunity to excise the hateful and inciting texts in any amended Quran to be used for religious instruction. But, one way or other, out it goes. Not in a millennium or a century or probably even a decade. Now.
19 posted on 04/15/2002 7:49:23 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: Post Toasties
Don't misunderstand me, I agree that the problem is urgent. Unfortunately, our government hasn't taken the first step, openly, in confronting it. I almost dread to think what it will take to force the confrontation.
20 posted on 04/15/2002 7:57:19 PM PDT by browardchad
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To: browardchad
Another thing. What I'm proposing is to bring Quran and other Islamic texts in line with the Bible wrt the rights of nonbelievers. Until we accomplish that, Islam will always be behind the religious curve regardless of how many millennia we wait, and stripping the evilness from the Quran is a process that can be started tomorrow, if we gave a damn.
21 posted on 04/15/2002 8:00:03 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: browardchad
You're right. It'd be an almost unprecedented undertaking. But, I guess my point is, that it would be a way with effectively dealing with the situation.

I guess I was brought to this line of thought by reading how Ataturk pretty well tamed Islam in a few years in Turkey using similar techniques.

22 posted on 04/15/2002 8:04:47 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: Post Toasties
erratum: ...way of dealing.... I'm typing too fast.
23 posted on 04/15/2002 8:05:45 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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To: swarthyguy
The problem is that secularism is a purely Western construct, developed in the particular European environment in response to Church excesses and the ensuing antagonism it produced...

Whereas, Islam which never has any excesses and is a religion of peace, has done nothing to provoke any antagonism. Infidels are antagonistic because that is a characteristic of infidels. You know what infidels are like dontcha?

NOT!

24 posted on 04/15/2002 8:07:15 PM PDT by Salman
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: expatriot
What of the Islam adherant in the west? The argument supposes that the religion of Islam cannot be practiced in the USA? Secularism allows that Islam be practiced.

Of course, Islam can be practiced in the US using the approach I described. I'm basically saying that the part of Islam which causes Islam to be excessively prone to violence and discrimination to non Muslims be defined as not part of Islam, and discarded from the religion by law.

Basically, my approach is that no religion can act as a cover for criminal behavior or insurrection. It's just a matter of degree as compared to allowing 'religious' human sacrifice, sex with animals, cannibalism, etc. Are we saying we're not secular because we don't allow the religious practice of these criminal behaviors? Then why should we give Islam a free hand to plot mischief under the guise of 'religion'?

27 posted on 04/15/2002 8:53:03 PM PDT by Post Toasties
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: Post Toasties
If laws (in the US and elsewhere) were passed which defined any such passages (in whatever religion's books) as being not religious or divinely inspired teachings by nature of their inherent injustice to others, only versions of the Quran and other religious texts with those passages expunged could be allowed to be used for any religious or teaching purpose, and the use of texts which include the inciteful passages could result in criminal prosecution and closing of mosques and schools which refuse to comply with the law.

Incitement to violence, perhaps ?

I'm glad someone has thought of a way to address this. I've been torn between the idea of freedom of religion and the sense that Islam doesn' t seem to have a place in a democratic, freedom -loving society such ours. I have been truly concerned about the influx of Muslims to this country because of the totalitarian worldview which this religion seems to espouse. As many westerners who have lived in Dar es Sallam (the land of Islam) have said, as long as muslims are in the minority, they will present the "Islam is peace" face to the world. But, because of the totalitarian spirit of their worldview,i.e., that it encompasses everything, I have a difficult time seeing how it could be the majority religion of a society and not be a constraint on the freedom of non-believers at minimum.

Your suggestion about expunging parts of their scriptures or teachings, while extreme, call to mind the requirements imposed on settlers of Utah, who, when they wanted to join the Union as a state, were requred to prohibit polygamy as a legal right. I don't know if it was expunged within the LDS teachings, but it is not permissable (legally) in Utah.

All I know is, I do not want the kind of Muslim influence here (heavily financed and politically oriented to a foreign end) as is seen in Europe, especially with imams who plead innocence as to the "political" nature of their mosque.

29 posted on 04/15/2002 10:51:35 PM PDT by happygrl
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: 4ourprogeny
I agree with the sentiments with the following modifier: Radical Islam is an insane death cult, moderate islam in America is a true 5th column and virtually all the mosques in America are Trojan Horses.
31 posted on 04/16/2002 9:22:06 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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To: *Clash of Civilizatio
Indexin'.
32 posted on 04/16/2002 9:31:39 AM PDT by denydenydeny
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To: Post Toasties
Sorry about that; i clicked on it thru FR and it went straight to the article.....
33 posted on 04/16/2002 10:17:31 AM PDT by swarthyguy
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