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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The New Islamic Mindset

The Islamic mindset is varied, complex and sometimes contradictory like everyone else. What sets them a part are their aspirations. Muslims want the whole world to be Muslim. The difference in methods to achieve these aspirations are what defines the western labeling of different Muslim groups, Radicals or extremists, moderates, reformists and suicide bombers. What is new is the success of groups such as Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and many others against the West. When the Ottoman Empire was crushed in WW I, the Infidels of the world surpassed the Islamists in technology, education, wealth, and military power. This put a damper on Islamic aspirations. The success of tiny Israel against the combined armies of Islam was devastating. But the Islamist view of the world today is very different. High priced oil has brought wealth and education to Islam. A constant string of military success by extremists against the West and it’s super power, America has rekindled resolve among all Islamists that Islam can compete with the Infidels. The 9-11 attack was viewed as an atrocity by the West. However, Islamists all over the world but especially in the Middle East were dancing in the streets by the millions. Europe is in denial, Russia was beat in Afghanistan and cannot defeat Chechnya, and the Great Satan continuously retreats from determined confrontation. When the US is “thrown out of Iraq” the confidence of the Islamists will soar.

How did I get here? This is what’s new.

1. While surfing the web I came across this interesting article. What makes it a must read is the insight the very experienced documentary journalist provides into the psychology of suicide bombers. His conclusion is the same as mine the only thing you can do to stop them is kill them.

He is also the first writer to provide a coherent description of the difference between moderate and extremist Muslims:

“The main difference between moderate Muslims and extremists is that moderate Muslims don't think they will see the absolute victory of Islam during their lifetime, therefore they respect other beliefs. The extremists believe that the fulfillment of the Prophecy of Islam and ruling the entire world as described in the Koran, is for today.”

2. This collaborates the poll taken in the large Muslim community in Deerborne Michigan where 90% stated that Muslim nations should be ruled by Sharia law.

What is so frightening is similarities of moderate and extremist Muslims. That explains why moderate Muslims do not speak out against extremists, they share the same goals but not the same methods. The real threat to Americans and the west is Sharia law. In this, there is no difference between moderates and extremists. It also dovetails with goals of certain Muslims who do not support either the moderates or extremists. They call themselves reformists. As seen on Glenn beck over the last 2 months, reformists want an Islam of peace and equality and tolerance for others. They are a small minority just getting organized. They are the only ones that speak out against violence.

3. Let me throw in the results of a Gallop poll taken across the Middle East and reported in Times Online. Here are some highlights:

Percentage with unfavourable view of US in 2005 (all increased since 9/11 except where indicated:
79% Saudi Arabia
65% Jordan
49% Morocco
52% Iran (down from 63 in 2001)
65% Pakistan (down from 69 in 2001)

Gallup’s Centre for Muslim Studies in New York carried out surveys of 10,000 Muslims in ten predominantly Muslim countries. One finding was that the wealthier and better-educated the Muslim was, the more likely he was to be radicalised.
The surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2006. Along with an earlier Gallup survey in nine other countries in 2001, they represent the views of more than 90 per cent of the world’s Muslims.

A large number of Muslims supported the Western ideal of democratic government. Fifty per cent of radicals supported democracy, compared with 35 per cent of moderates.

Religion was found to have little to do with radicalisation or antipathy towards Western culture. Muslims were condemnatory of promiscuity and a sense of moral decay. What they admired most was liberty, its democratic system, technology and freedom of speech.

While there was widespread support for Sharia, or Islamic law, only a minority wanted religious leaders to be making laws. Most women in the predominantly Muslim countries believed that Sharia should be the source of a nation’s laws, but they strongly believed in equal rights for women.

This finding indicates the complexity of the struggle ahead for Western understanding. Few Western commentators can see how women could embrace the veil, Sharia and equal rights at the same time.

“We find that Muslim radicals have more in common with their moderate brethren than is often assumed. If the West wants to reach the extremists, and empower the moderate majority, it must first recognise who it’s up against.”
“ There is no significant difference in religiosity between moderates and radicals. In fact, radicals are no more likely to attend religious services regularly than are moderates.”

But it is the radicals who earn more and stay in school longer.”In fact, the surveys found that the radicals were more satisfied with their finances and quality of life than moderates.

Genieve Abdo, a senior Gallup analyst and author of Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11, said “We have to assume that these Islamic parties and movements that are coming to power are popular and have a large constituency. People are not just voting for a party, they are voting for a religion, a way of life.”

“a vote for Hamas was a vote against the former Palestinian government of Arafat rather than a vote for the extreme religious position of the new government.”

Liberty or Death

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