The reality of violent religious extremism in our time « and why so called moderates are what define it

September 20, 2010

Naif Al-Mutawa wrote an essay for the Philadelphia Inquirer last year which is typical of such politically correct thinking.  The central point, in his essay, “The Many Shapes of Extremism”, was this:

“My intent was to advance the notion that extremism is nothing more than a bunch of neurotransmitters working overtime – or perhaps under time. It is not Islam or Judaism or Hinduism that creates extremism; rather, some people are predisposed to extremism and will pursue it in any faith.”

(Here’s a link to Al-Mutawa’s essay published elsewhere)
Al-Mutawa may be correct to some extent. I’m sure certain individuals are indeed naturally (even, perhaps, biologically) more predisposed to extremism than others, just like some people are more predisposed to abusing drugs or alcohol. But, as with alcohol abuse, we wouldn’t deny an element of choice involved in the behavior would we? Further, if certain cultures have a higher degree of alcoholism than other cultures it would be reasonable to ask why…what are the cultural and ethical norms that may contribute to this disparity. Naif Al-Mutawa refuses to acknowledge or address the fact that (while, again, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not extremists), violent extremist acts are, when motivated by religion, dramatically more likely to be carried out by Muslims than by non-Muslims (Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.)
The point isn’t to prejudge or, in any way, demonize Muslims.  Rather, the point is that, as extremism in our day is to a large degree a radical Islamic phenomena, it is incumbant for the Muslim community to acknowledge this problem, figure out the religious/cultural factors influencing such aberrant behavior, and stop insisting (contrary to all the evidence) that other religions are also plagued with the same degree of extremism.  Ultimately, the moderate forces in their community must do ideological battle with the extremists in their midst – to win hearts and minds for a future Islam not compromised such extremism.
Here is my reply to Al-Mutawa, published by The Inquirer in their letter to the editor section:

Naif Al-Mutawa’s op-ed (“The many shapes of extremism,” April 8) advances the erroneous notion that extremism is equally distributed among the three major faiths.While it is important to stress that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists, the overwhelming majority of terrorist acts – according to data published online by the National Counter-Terrorism Center – committed by those inspired by religion are indeed (Sunni) Muslim. While I understand that many well-meaning Americans would cringe at the suggestion that terrorists are far more likely to be Muslim than Jew, or Christian, the problem with extremism in our time is the radical, violent manifestations of specific faith traditions. Empirical data should never take a back seat to feel-good assumptions and platitudes. At stake isn’t merely the intrinsic value of truth and accuracy but, more specifically, the broader truism that we can’t rally the civilized world to win a war – militarily or morally – against an enemy that we’re not allowed to name.

Chart from the National Counter Terrorism Center (2009 Report on Terrorism)

As Herbert London of the Hudson Institute aptly pointed out in a recent post:

“People who know nothing about Islam agree that most Muslims do not commit violent or terrorist acts, therefore the religion is peaceful; but that is a classic non sequitur. Most Germans in the 1930′s did not embrace the excesses of Nazism. Most Chinese did not subscribe to the slaughter of millions during Mao’s Long March. Most Russians did not support Stalin’s purges.
“It usually takes a minority to start a revolution or “killing fields.” The key feature of radicalization in any religion or political movement is the silence, or presumptive acquiesce, of the majority, who is mainly moderate.
“The fact is that fanatics influence history more than moderates…
“The group that counts, the group that launches historical trends, is the extremist one that threatens everything we hold dear. To deny this is to deny a reality that allows fanatics to control our very existence.”
“It is, naturally, difficult to come to grips with this condition. The comforting notion that most Muslims are “just like us” will not fly when one considers who are those moving historical forces. What this adds up to may be difficult to contemplate, but it is better to confront that reality now than at a time when it is too late to resist.”

There is no Moderate Islam if it can not counter so called Radical Islam.


PA threatens Arabs who want real peace

September 2, 2010


Ami Isseroff has, pretty much single-handedly, written an encyclopedia of everything related to Israel and the Middle East conflict and put it on-line, along with news, a blog, and who knows what else. Although the sites are difficult to navigate, there is an enormous trove of information an reference material there.
Isseroff is a centrist. He wants a two-state solution. He desperately wants peace. He is in contact with the Palestinian Arab “peace camp.”
Which is why his latest post is worth reading:

It hurts me to admit this. As a Zionist, I really wish that the much hoped-for peace was really just around the corner. I wish that Israel could give up a few square meters of real estate and obtain peace. I know it will not happen. I am compelled to admit that by every indication, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that begin this week will be a farcical charade. They cannot be saved by any amount of Israeli concessions. …
One certain indication that the peace talks must fail is the flood of mail that I have gotten of late from Palestinian peace and dialog groups, and from every Palestinian or other Arab who ever spoke out for peace or sanity. They beg me to remove this or that article or section from a Web site where they are quoted as advocating peace with Israel or coexistence. They say – not for publication – that they are subject to a reign of terror: Emails; Hints; Phone calls in the night; Officials of the ‘”clean-as-a-whistle” “moderate” “not-like-Arafat” Palestinian National Authority telling them they had better toe the line – or it will be bad for their organization or their personal health.
My Palestinian and Arab friends and others who have asked me to remove their Web pages and demanded that I be silent about it, can be thankful that I do not follow their wishes: Speaking out is the only way to expose state terror. My advice to all those who are threatened is to speak out, loud and clear. But it is their decision. I will not name names. I can only decide what is right for myself.
Everyone who is in any way active in peace and dialog has to have heard echoes of the whisper campaign. The Palestinian youth orchestra that was dismantled because it played for Israeli Holocaust survivors, the One Voice event that was canceled because of death threats, are public manifestations of the same terror. All this happened not in Hamas – ruled Gaza, but, embarrassingly, in the West Bank, ruled by the “moderate” Fatah and the Palestinian National Authority, Israel’s “peace partners.” The people who are terrorized into begging me to remove their names, their articles and their organizations from any Web site that has the remotest connection with Israel, all are from the West Bank, the land of the Palestinian National Authority, not Gaza. Think about what this means.

This is one of the most under-reported stories out there. The PA is not close to moderate by any objective measure – in fact, they are far more intransigent than any Israeli government in history. Yet the media chooses to highlight how “moderate” they are  in order to fulfill what they believe is a greater good of promoting a mythical “peace.” The result is that stories like these are ignored or minimized, and the PA is presented as a moderate government in opposition to the right-wing, hard-line Likud.
Centrist Zionists know the facts, and they yearn for a two-state solution anyway. Yet they are not willing to give up anything close to what the PA is demanding, knowing that on the ground, such concessions would lead to disaster. These simple facts are not reported at all.
Peace – real peace – cannot be built on lies and obfuscation. The ugly reality of the so-called “moderates” of Fatah and the PA needs to be exposed. When the media doesn’t do its job, it is not serving the cause of peace – it is instead endangering many, many lives.

I just tried to friend this guy on facebook. I feared before that he was in cloud nine. Obviously he is coming to a reality that those of us who are less educated understood the whole time. The only Moderates are Jews.


Blair: 2-state solution or hell of a fight – Israel News, Ynetnews

November 29, 2009

Blair: 2-state solution or ‘hell of a fight’

Quartet’s Mideat envoy says next month will be ‘completely critical’ in efforts to resume negotiations between Israel, Palestinians

Yitzhak Benhorin

Published: 11.29.09, 21:15 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair portrayed Sunday a harsh picture of the region without a Palestinian state. “The alternative to a two-state solution is a one-state solution and that will, I assure you, be a hell of fight,” he said in an interview to the CNN network.

According to Blair, the next month “will be completely critical and fundamental” in the efforts to resume direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Peace Efforts
US ‘hopeful’ settlement freeze can revive peace talks / AFP
American official says Obama administration hopes halt of settlement construction will contribute to resumption of negotiations, hasn’t changed position on matter
Full story

The former British prime minister noted that it was essential for the sides to sit down and talk “as quickly as possible”.

“I’ve just spent some time with the Israeli prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu,” Blair said, “and I think he is genuine and serious in wanting the negotiation to start.”

He said he believed that “the majority of people, both Israelis and Palestinians, want to see a two-state solution.” According to Blair, the Israelis want to know that their security is going to be protected, while the Palestinians want to know that the negotiations will really end the occupation and lead to a Palestinian state.

He added that he thinks “the Palestinians have made significant progress on security and the Israelis are prepared to change significantly their posture on the West Bank.”

‘We have to find a way through’

Blair, who served as British premier during the peace talks with Northern Ireland, which were led by US Senator George Mitchell, defended American President Barack Obama and his special Mideast envoy Mitchell, following a New York Times article accusing them of having no strategy.

“I have worked with Senator George Mitchell together very closely. He is, in my view, one of the most skilled and strategic negotiators I’ve ever come across… I think President Obama and Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton are completely committed to doing this… I went through situations in times in the Northern Ireland process where people were convinced that the thing was going to fail, where even at times I found it difficult to see a way through. But the thing is there is a way through here, because in fact both parties want to achieve a two-state solution.”

Blair said he believes the biggest difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration stems from the fact that Obama has made the Israeli-Palestinian peace process “a central strategic objective” at the very beginning of his administration.

“I have absolutely no doubt that he holds to that, and whatever the difficulties and the obstacles, we have to find a way through. And personally, I’m an optimist by nature and I believe we will,” he concluded.

that sounds like a threat. which side are you on Blair? Palestine is Jordan. And if Jerusalem were occupied, then why does LIFE Magazine have photos of ethnic cleansing of Jews and evictions of Jewish homes in Jerusalem in 1947?

Posted via web from noahdavidsimon’s posterous


Blair: 2-state solution or hell of a fight – Israel News, Ynetnews

November 29, 2009

Blair: 2-state solution or ‘hell of a fight’

Quartet’s Mideat envoy says next month will be ‘completely critical’ in efforts to resume negotiations between Israel, Palestinians
Yitzhak Benhorin

Published: 11.29.09, 21:15 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair portrayed Sunday a harsh picture of the region without a Palestinian state. “The alternative to a two-state solution is a one-state solution and that will, I assure you, be a hell of fight,” he said in an interview to the CNN network.
According to Blair, the next month “will be completely critical and fundamental” in the efforts to resume direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Piece Efforts
US ‘hopeful’ settlement freeze can revive piece talks / AFP
American official says Obama administration hopes halt of settlement construction will contribute to resumption of negotiations, hasn’t changed position on matter
Full story

The former British prime minister noted that it was essential for the sides to sit down and talk “as quickly as possible”.
“I’ve just spent some time with the Israeli prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu,” Blair said, “and I think he is genuine and serious in wanting the negotiation to start.”
He said he believed that “the majority of people, both Israelis and Palestinians, want to see a two-state solution.” According to Blair, the Israelis want to know that their security is going to be protected, while the Palestinians want to know that the negotiations will really end the occupation and lead to a Palestinian state.
He added that he thinks “the Palestinians have made significant progress on security and the Israelis are prepared to change significantly their posture on the West Bank.”

‘We have to find a way through’

Blair, who served as British premier during the peace talks with Northern Ireland, which were led by US Senator George Mitchell, defended American President Barack Obama and his special Mideast envoy Mitchell, following a New York Times article accusing them of having no strategy.
“I have worked with Senator George Mitchell together very closely. He is, in my view, one of the most skilled and strategic negotiators I’ve ever come across… I think President Obama and Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton are completely committed to doing this… I went through situations in times in the Northern Ireland process where people were convinced that the thing was going to fail, where even at times I found it difficult to see a way through. But the thing is there is a way through here, because in fact both parties want to achieve a two-state solution.”

Blair said he believes the biggest difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration stems from the fact that Obama has made the Israeli-Palestinian peace process “a central strategic objective” at the very beginning of his administration.
“I have absolutely no doubt that he holds to that, and whatever the difficulties and the obstacles, we have to find a way through. And personally, I’m an optimist by nature and I believe we will,” he concluded.

that sounds like a threat. which side are you on Blair? Palestine is Jordan. And if Jerusalem were occupied, then why does LIFE Magazine have photos of ethnic cleansing of Jews and evictions of Jewish homes in Jerusalem in 1947?

Posted via web from noahdavidsimon’s posterous