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We have written before that one fundamental problem with U.S. and other Western policymakers is that too many of them simply don’t understand (or refuse to understand) our enemy. Barry Rubin, Middle East expert and head of the GLORIA Center, writes at PJ Media that this is exactly the problem that has infected the defense and intelligence establishments and the Administration:
There was a secret debate happening in the Defense Department and the CIA in which some people thought that all Muslims were a problem, some believed that only al-Qaeda was a problem, and still others thought the Muslim Brotherhood was a problem. The main problem, however, was that all Islamism was a political threat, but it was the second position that eventually won over the Obama administration.Comments (21) »
Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Stand For Israel
George Packer, writing in the New Yorker, has a tough and compelling piece on the scourge of Islamist violence against Muslims – although there is always plenty to be said about their attacks on Christians and Jews. Packer outlines recent history in the region and comes to the obvious conclusion – especially given the drawing down of U.S. forces across the region – that it’s not the West’s fault:
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And yet scores, or hundreds, of people—shoppers, shopkeepers, worshippers, government workers, college students, housewives, children, most of them Muslims, none of them guilty of anything more than having been born in the wrong country—are being murdered every day, blown to pieces, burned alive, shot to death, beheaded, in the name of an extremely violent strain of Islam.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 at 7:16 AM | Stand For Israel
Ali Salim, writing at the Gatestone Institute, deals with a problem that has grown to dominate the culture of the Arab and Muslim worlds: virulent Jew-hatred. Salim goes so far as to call it “a national mental illness” within the body of Islam. Few westerners are aware of how pervasive the problem. Read this article and prepare to be shocked and disturbed.
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Almost no Ramadan evening goes by without tedious “historical” dramas on Al-Jazeera and the other Arab TV channels, whose objective is to brainwash viewers with anti-Semitic propaganda. They deal with the Jews’ denial of the Prophet Muhammad’s message, Jewish attempts to poison him and their betrayal of him at the Battle of the Trench in Al-Medina. Almost all the series’ end on the same note: the message is always that the fate of the Jews in the Palestine they stole from the Arabs will be the same as that Muhammad wreaked on them at Khybar, they will be slaughtered and their women and children will be sold into slavery.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
Writing in the Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet, Mustafa Akyol honestly addresses the fact that the Muslim world has produced precious few Nobel Prize winners, and almost none if you look only at the sciences – yet the Muslim world was an intellectual leader 700-1000 years ago. Akyol’s hypothesis is worth a read:
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Muslims were quite successful a millennium ago, because they had formed a cosmopolitan civilization that did not shy away from being open to foreign cultures, such as Ancient Greece, Eastern Christianity, Judaism, Persia, India or China. Muslim intellectuals were confident about their faith and hence did not see a problem in learning from non-Muslim sources of knowledge and synthesizing them with Islam. However, today’s common Muslim mind, including the intellectual Muslim mind, is quite insular, and is focused on protecting an “Islamic” (and quite closed) mental sphere from influences from the outside world.
Thursday, August 15th, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Stand For Israel
Bret Stephens, writing at the Wall Street Journal, points out the growing violence between subsets of the Islamic world and suggests that Syria has become the central battleground in that conflict. While we might be tempted to sit back and enjoy watching the enemies of the West duke it out, Stephens doesn’t think that’s the right approach:
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But here comes the whispered suggestion: If one branch of Islam wants to be at war with another branch for a few years—or decades—so much the better for the non-Islamic world. Mass civilian casualties in Aleppo or Homs is their tragedy, not ours. It does not implicate us morally. And it probably benefits us strategically, not least by redirecting jihadist energies away from the West. Wrong on every count.
Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 6:59 AM | Stand For Israel
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, writes on his blog that there is a difference between Islam and violent, radical Islamism. Both are a reaction to Muslim history, which has seen the Islamic accomplishments of the seventh through thirteenth century stagnate into today’s social and economic morass in most Muslim countries. Pipes’ conclusion is interesting and worth reading in full.
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Major dissonance began around 1800, when Muslims unexpectedly lost wars, markets, and cultural leadership to Western Europeans. It continues today, as Muslims bunch toward the bottom of nearly every index of achievement. This shift has caused massive confusion and anger. What went wrong, why did God seemingly abandon His faithful? The unbearable divergence between premodern accomplishment and modern failure brought about trauma.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 9:04 AM | Stand For Israel
Professor Barry Rubin, writing at Pajamas Media, describes in pitch-perfect fashion how the only way to truly confront radical Islamism is to do so from within Islam – a movement that Rubin says he just doesn’t see. Other Western reactions either tend to make things worse, understate or, worse, excuse the problem, or undermine themselves.
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Part of the problem is this. Most powerful institutions and people say that Islam is a religion of peace. There’s no problem, except for a few mysterious extremists who just seem to pop up either at random or due to American and Western sins. The next largest segment says that Islam is an inherently violent and extremist religion. Thus, since the problem is Islam, there’s nothing to do but to combat it directly in some form. Both of the main Western responses, then, deny the importance of waging a real and serious battle within Islam.
Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Stand For Israel