Islam historian Daniel Pipes discusses Islamism
Daniel Pipes is an historian of Islam and was recently interviewed on the topics of Islam and Islamism. Highlights from the interview:
- Muslims believe they should be the wealthiest and most powerful people; in fact, they are the least wealthy and least powerful. What went wrong? Islamism has provided a widely convincing answer: If you want to be successful, then apply Islamic law. Live by the law. Spread the law.
- Islamism is a trend within Islam and it is a mistake to see all of Islam as Islamism. Plenty of Muslims hate Islamism.
- Terrorism is not necessary to promote Islamism. Islamists succeed more with non-violent means than violent ones.
- The Muslim Brotherhood is the most important Islamist organization.
- Assuming Iranians do not acquire or explode atomic weapons, Turkey is the greater long-term Islamist threat in 20-30 years. Iran will not be such a long-term problem because Iranians resist Islamism.
- The Islamist idea is so powerful that Western secular education does not succeed in “reforming” it – Europe is proof.
- Europe faces major problems and bleak options: (1) more Muslims, more Islam, more Islamic law, and more Islamization; (2) resistance to Islamization. Everywhere you look in Europe there is a growth in anti-Islamic feelings.
Read the rest of the interview: “You Can’t Fight Islamism with Ideas coming out of Europe“
Christianity, Islamism, and Secularism
Many Europeans are looking for answers to Islam and Islamism. Daniel Pipes says that European secular education has not succeeded in this task. He emphasized that when it comes to the values of democracy we need to “go slow, slow, slow because, ironically, democracy at present strengthens Islamism.” The problem is that Europe does not have all the time in the world to wait for Islamists to see and embrace secular values.
It seems that certain values of democratic societies are making more converts to Islamism. For example, the more Europeans use freedom of speech (e.g. cartoons of Muhammad) and democratic laws (i.e. banning veils) to oppose Islam, the more Muslims are going to resist democracy.
So what can Europeans do if they want their great grandchildren to live in Europe and not Eurabia? 1It is believed by some that European nations will one day become a Muslim majority; in fact, the Muslim televangelist, Amr Khaled, gave a confident interview that this would be the case in 20 years. Others say that a Muslim majority in Europe is a myth (Eurabia) and worries are unfounded.
The answer to Islam and Islamism is found in the truth of Christianity. Europe and the West need to take more seriously the central and historic claims of Christianity concerning Jesus Christ – claims which Islam and Islamism deny.
For the last century, Europe and the West have been abandoning their Christian roots. I think part of the reason is that the great threat was atheistic communism. Europe and the West didn’t need a vibrant biblical Christianity to confront the ism of communism – nominal or no Christianity worked alongside humanism and secularism.
Atheism, communisim, humanism, and secularism are all materialistic. By this I mean that you don’t have to believe in God to believe in any of these isms. While communism and democracy are not compatible – materialism works with both communism and democracy. Islamism is not fundamentally materialistic. Unlike the nominal remnants of Christianity, Islamism is not nominalism. Islamism is theistic to the core and stands against many of the values of humanism and secularism.
Could it be that the real question Europeans are asking is whether Islamism can be nominalized – as Christianity was nominalized – so that it accepts the moral decay of Europe.
A vibrant – as opposed to nominal – Christianity is necessary to address Islamism.
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