Sunday, January 30

Can freedom and democracy coexist with radical Islam?

A crucial debate is taking place among U.S. bloggers, commenters and pundits as to whether we (and other western nations) can ever coexist with "Islam" in the long haul.

Those in the "coexistence is possible" camp make several points to support their conclusion. First is that the West has had many instances of conquest-as-policy, but we now seem to be past that. Thus even if we find Muslims expressing a desire to conquer the world, it wouldn't be significant.

A second argument is that we do see a couple of Islamic nations that seem to be open and fairly tolerant. This proves (so the argument goes) that Islam can coexist with a democratic, tolerant society.

A third argument is that what conservatives see as "radical Islam" is simply misunderstanding or mis-translation.

A fourth is that even if what the radical imams and their followers say and write is perfectly translated and understand, these utterances do not represent "real" Islam, so we shouldn't give any weight to them, or be alarmed.

A related point is that because the "kill Jews and infidels" faction is a minority, eventually they'll be cooled by the larger number of "moderate" Muslims.

Certainly there are some blots on western cultures and points of encouragement in a few Islamic nations, which support the "don't worry, we can coexist" side.

But I'm skeptical, for several reasons.

Does anyone recall seeing the photo of the Muz demonstrator in London carrying the sign "To hell with democracy"? Another said "To hell with freedom." Or the imam who said "Democracy is fundamentally incompatible with Islam"?

Assuming these pics were genuine, what we have here is: A religion that sees democracy and freedom as bad things. And sees its divine mission as converting or subjugating all non-Muslims. And routinely kills even other Muslims who the most radical imams deem insufficiently devout in these areas.

Bottom line--my opinion, anyway--is that radical Muslims will eventually kill any moderates brave enough to stand up to them. Recent example: the murder of the governor of the Pakistani province who criticized the Pak law that calls for executing people convicted of "blasphemy against Islam."

By their own signs and words, radical Muslims have declared that the fundamental western concepts of freedom and democracy are their enemy. Unless (by some literal miracle) these radicals decide that Islam no longer contains these tenets, the only way we can coexist with them is by doing as they demand--either convert or submit and pay of the infidel tax.

If those two choices are acceptable to you, you and I are no longer countrymen.

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