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Fifth of the European Union will be muslim by 2050 Watch

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    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    While "ideas" are important you must place them in the context in which they developed and came to prominance. I won't argue with you on the Reformation, clearly you have a better grasp of that subject than I. However, don't you believe that the historical context played a contributing factor to the development of those ideas? the development of sophisticated trade and prosperity in Italy and the Netherlands and the rise of the mercantile class as an example?

    Much of the context for the "radical-Islamist" ideology lies in the the cold war; western support for the Saudi establishment despite it's woeful human rights, or the Taliban who were "ideologically" incubated in the Soviet invasion cannont simply be dismissed, and the failure of Arab nationalism to offer unity, let alone a credible threat to Israel, the Gulf Wars I, II and III and other conflicts contributed to the Islamic resurgence, compare Egypts socio-culturul outlook in 1970 to the present. And what of the biggest nonstate players, the al-Qaeda "network"; Who formed them? Western intelligence, financed by the Saudi, etc etc. Afghanistan brought together the most extreme Muslims together from across the Muslim world, most moderate Muslim voices were eradicated. Where in that is there a differentiation between Islamist and western interests? Mohamad Saqique Khan didn't mention global Jihad, and theology as his motivation for the London bombings he mentioned Iraq, he could not have carried out the attack without the ideology, but equally so without the context. None of which supports the the idea that the western establishment is this naive, innocent observer standing at the periphery.

    So will solving the Palestinan-Israeli conflict banish the ideology? No, because removing grievances doesn't simply banish an Ideology once it has been created and has some following. The solution like the root cause lies in both ideological and material reform. There must be viable alternative ideologies like democratic reform, and material economic prosperity. Within even Saudi Arabia there are both constructive and unconstructive scholars and arguments, the level of thought may not be upto western standards but it exists, and in Pakistan as elsewhere hardline Islamists have consistently performed poorly at elections which is why they wish to replace the system; and stand opposed by both secular and moderate voices. I do not speak of appeasement of the Islamists and their methods, but neither should we fall into the trap of reducio ad hitleriums when speaking about objectives as appeasement.
    1) You take Mohamad Saqique Khan at his word, which I suppose I invited you to do when I said we should take what the Islamists say literally, but I would regard his statement as deliberate propaganda tailored to the audience he wished to receive it. It is better to look at what Islamists say amongst themselves, and to focus on the leaders and not the pawns.

    2) You cite the example of Western support for the Mujahidin in Afghanistan against the Soviets and then suggest:
    "None of which supports the the idea that the western establishment is this naive, innocent observer standing at the periphery"
    On the contrary, I would argue that the American's actions there displayed an unbelievable naïveté and short sightedness, as indeed much of American foreign policy - even of the smugly realpolitik variety - historically has. Clearly though they were not mere observers. But the Americans did not create the ideology they were financing, and did nothing themselves to shape its development - indeed they barely understood it, which neatly comes back to my point that we must separate out the causes of ideas spreading or becoming prominent and their ideological genesis.

    The genesis of the ideas which the Mujahidin adhered to has little or nothing to do with the Americans or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it has something to do with the broader more longstanding narrative of decline within the Muslim world since the glory days of the Caliphate which any assault on Islam can easily fit into. And is of course rooted in literalist interpretations of the Qu'ran and Hadiths which are prevalent in Saudi and Egyptian strains of Islamist thinking. The ideological roots of Islamism are far older than democtratic Western states, and though specific reformulations of such ideas are of course flavoured by the context of the time (the Khilafat movement in British India for example) we must acknowledge the continuity of these ideas across time. In the end the USSR and the USA were pretty much interchangeable infidel entities in the eyes of the Islamist discourse.

    3) "So will solving the Palestinan-Israeli conflict banish the ideology? No, because removing grievances doesn't simply banish an Ideology once it has been created and has some following."
    Would you say the Arab-Israeli conflict created the ideology, or that it had a limited impact on re-tailoring it in some settings and simply helped to attract a great many followers to the Islamist banner? I am of course arguing the latter.

    4) When you speak of "constructive" Saudi scholars, who are you talking about, and are all of their views palatable to a Western audience or are they merely less offensive than their opponents? The discourses in the Arab world are often so extreme in my view that even the 'moderates' and 'progressives' can be quite scary. If Western publics were exposed to comprehensive translations of the kind of narratives and arguments that take place in the Arab world on many subjects they would be appalled, most people don't know the half of it.

    Take Tariq Ramadan, a European Muslim scholar who has some very worthwhile opinions for his fellow Muslims on a whole range of subjects. Even he has some pretty objectionable views. The problem is that you can't choose your dissenters, Solzhenitsyn and Martin Luther were both antisemitic but nonetheless great figures of resistance against authority. I think there is a place for anyone who can help to reform Islam by speaking to Muslim audiences in a palatable way, but I don't think we should embrace what they say as Westerners.

    5) Lastly I would like to point out that the commonalities (indeed transhistorical as well as transgeographic) of Jihadi aims, actions and doctrine are clearly discernible to any rational observer, and that these are more significant than the differences of context and particularity to the overall outcome. You merely have to look at the operation of Islamist ideas from Urumqi to Chechnya, to Mindanao, to see the commonalties in contexts which have nothing to do with Anglo-American foreign policy. Being too nuanced and overcontextualising everything runs the risk of one becoming a morally relativistic anthropologist of Islamic ideas and violence, bogged down in detail and unable to see the wood for the trees - we need to construct a metanarrative of the nature of Islamism, not to deconstruct any chance of a meaningful response.
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    (Original post by Saff123)
    Like every other faith there is a spectrum of beliefs, ancient sects like the Nizariyyun are as liberal today as reform Jews, and Episcopalians. There are the Sufi on the mystical side, and the new progressive movement in North America. If your defining a Muslim by the standards set by the most radical elements your not doing justice to the whole.

    Most doesn't equate with all scholars, and that doesn't take into account what ordinary Muslims believe. Muslims like anyone else who believes homosexuality should be met with a death sentence should be condemned, but simply claiming all Muslims believe that is lazy, and prejudice. You seem intelligent enough to know better.
    I think this is well expressed wishful thinking. We need to deal with Islam as it is rather than some lovely image of how we would like it to be; and in terms of European Islam and Islam in its Middle Eastern heartlands the liberal progressive voices are a beleaguered and threatened minority, the loudest voices are those of the Islamists. Thinkers like Tariq Ramadan (not all of whose views are unobjectionable) are certainly few and far between. So far as populations are concerned the Guardian poll I have already cited reveals mainstream Muslim opinions which are highly problematic for secular Western democracies. Without essentialising Islam or abandoning the dissenting reformers its very easy to present an empirical case that Islam as it actually exists in Europe and the majority of religio-ideological trends taking place within it are decidedly troubling.
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    (Original post by pendragon)
    I think this is well expressed wishful thinking. We need to deal with Islam as it is rather than some lovely image of how we would like it to be; and in terms of European Islam and Islam in its Middle Eastern heartlands the liberal progressive voices are a beleaguered and threatened minority, the loudest voices are those of the Islamists. Thinkers like Tariq Ramadan (not all of whose views are unobjectionable) are certainly few and far between. So far as populations are concerned the Guardian poll I have already cited reveals mainstream Muslim opinions which are highly problematic for secular Western democracies. Without essentialising Islam or abandoning the dissenting reformers its very easy to present an empirical case that Islam as it actually exists in Europe and the majority of religio-ideological trends taking place within it are decidedly troubling.
    Just because the Islamists are so haughty doesn't mean you've got to spend all your attention and resources on dealing with them, while ignoring the rest of them, fact is you've got a proportion of your citizenry who are feeling alienated, that requires sensible polices rather than than maligning them all, treating them as aliens, or pretending their going to simply disappear.

    If the Muslim population is to grow by the numbers estimated (which is debatable); then Europe should start putting in the effort to integrate them, rather than whining.

    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    ...but neither should we fall into the trap of reducio ad hitleriums when speaking about objectives as appeasement.
    Pathetic Ambrosio! using Latin to make yourself sound smarter than you actually are, when in truth we both no your a hillbillie from a country whose only notable contribution to the world is kicking balls into a net...keep up feckless wonderer!

    Seriously I hear your teaching the salsa Rio style, down in London?? I have two boys who want to see you again desperately, I'm serious they are smitten and are going on, and on about it! Petes convinced himself you going to get hitched....so whats the plan?
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    (Original post by Saff123)
    Just because the Islamists are so haughty doesn't mean you've got to spend all your attention and resources on dealing with them, while ignoring the rest of them, fact is you've got a proportion of your citizenry who are feeling alienated, that requires sensible polices rather than than maligning them all, treating them as aliens, or pretending their going to simply disappear.

    If the Muslim population is to grow by the numbers estimated (which is debatable); then Europe should start putting in the effort to integrate them, rather than whining.
    Which is a critical part of the strategy I would advocate, but one has to whine when the majority of the British chattering classes haven't woken up to the failure of the non-integrationist, lets celebrate everyone's culture as equal (and monolithically static), multiculturalist experiment. The French Republican monoculturalist secularist approach hasn't worked entirely either, but it has probably worked better than the British approach. I think we should halt further immigration from outside of the EU and adopt American methods.
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    Integration just doesn't happen, it has never happened anywhere in history and it will never successfully happen in the West in the future.

    Over the last 150 years or so, the general trend in Europe and elsewhere has been toward the creation of ethnically-based states—“ethnostates”. This trend did not end with the close of World War II. Indeed, the high point of ethnic homogenization in Europe was in the two generations in the immediate aftermath of World War II. As a result of this massive process of ethnic unmixing, the ethnonationalist ideal was largely realized: for the most part, each nation in Europe had its own state, and each state was made up almost exclusively of a single ethnic nationality. During the Cold War, the few exceptions to this rule included Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. But these countries' subsequent fate only demonstrated the ongoing vitality of ethnonationalism.

    While the recent spreading of the European Union imperium has given rise to a great deal of “post-nation” rhetoric, it has in fact been accompanied by an astonishing multiplication of ethnostates, split out of Yugoslavia and the former USSR — not to mention, of course, the Czech/Slovak division. Ethnic conflict is apparent as well throughout the developing world, and will likely lead to more partitioning and nation-creation. In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.

    But a huge anomaly has arisen. Recently, Western societies have embarked on a public policy project in which the ethno nationalism of white people is officially proscribed as an unadulterated evil. Multiculturalism only is encouraged and viewed as morally superior. Western Whites find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Although World War II marked the defeat of the ethnonationalist National Socialist movement, it resulted in a Europe that was more accurately divided into ethnostates than ever. But World War II also saw the triumph of the political and cultural Left. These two cultural facts have been at odds ever since.

    German National Socialists remain the bogeyman of the political and cultural Left to this day. The Left is utterly dedicated to eradicating any vestiges of European ethnonationalism. Opponents of immigration are routinely labeled “racists” or “Nazis” for advocating policies that are, in fact, the norm in the rest of the world. Thus Israel favors Jewish immigrants, Spain favors people from its former Latin American Empire, India its “Non-Resident Indians” (NRIs), China favors the Overseas Chinese. In a global context, it is the Western insistence on universalist criteria for immigration that seems provincial.

    Whatever the drawbacks to ethnic nationalism (and the most obvious is the bloodshed that sometimes accompanies the creation of ethnostates), it has at least three overriding advantages:

    1) Because of closer ties of kinship and culture, ethnically homogeneous societies are more likely to be open to redistributive policies such as social welfare.


    2) Sociologists such as Robert Putnam have shown that ethnic homogeneity is associated with greater trust of others and greater political participation.


    3) And finally, as noted also by historians of European modernization, ethnic homogeneity may well be a precondition of political systems characterized by democracy and rule of law.

    Political correctness in the West cannot be maintained without constantly ratcheting up the social controls on individual thought and behavior. Western societies will experience increased ethnic conflict. Their governments will increasingly be obliged to enact draconian penalties for deviations from political correctness. And probably also to “correct” ethnic imbalances in social status and political power—much as the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires of old were forced in their declining years to constantly bargain with rising ethnic pressure groups. Democracy, representative government, and freedom will be likely casualties.

    Multiculturalism produces deep, frequently irreconcilable divisions within a society and ultimately, causes group-based competition for resources and political power. These can be very hard to mediate.The difficulty of establishing democracy and the rule of law in societies divided by ethnic conflict is a major theme of the contemporary world.
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    (Original post by pendragon)
    1) You take Mohamad Saqique Khan at his word, which I suppose I invited you to do when I said we should take what the Islamists say literally, but I would regard his statement as deliberate propaganda tailored to the audience he wished to receive it. It is better to look at what Islamists say amongst themselves, and to focus on the leaders and not the pawns.

    2) You cite the example of Western support for the Mujahidin in Afghanistan against the Soviets and then suggest:
    "None of which supports the the idea that the western establishment is this naive, innocent observer standing at the periphery"
    On the contrary, I would argue that the American's actions there displayed an unbelievable naïveté and short sightedness, as indeed much of American foreign policy - even of the smugly realpolitik variety - historically has. Clearly though they were not mere observers. But the Americans did not create the ideology they were financing, and did nothing themselves to shape its development - indeed they barely understood it, which neatly comes back to my point that we must separate out the causes of ideas spreading or becoming prominent and their ideological genesis.

    The genesis of the ideas which the Mujahidin adhered to has little or nothing to do with the Americans or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it has something to do with the broader more longstanding narrative of decline within the Muslim world since the glory days of the Caliphate which any assault on Islam can easily fit into. And is of course rooted in literalist interpretations of the Qu'ran and Hadiths which are prevalent in Saudi and Egyptian strains of Islamist thinking. The ideological roots of Islamism are far older than democtratic Western states, and though specific reformulations of such ideas are of course flavoured by the context of the time (the Khilafat movement in British India for example) we must acknowledge the continuity of these ideas across time. In the end the USSR and the USA were pretty much interchangeable infidel entities in the eyes of the Islamist discourse.

    3) "So will solving the Palestinan-Israeli conflict banish the ideology? No, because removing grievances doesn't simply banish an Ideology once it has been created and has some following."
    Would you say the Arab-Israeli conflict created the ideology, or that it had a limited impact on re-tailoring it in some settings and simply helped to attract a great many followers to the Islamist banner? I am of course arguing the latter.

    4) When you speak of "constructive" Saudi scholars, who are you talking about, and are all of their views palatable to a Western audience or are they merely less offensive than their opponents? The discourses in the Arab world are often so extreme in my view that even the 'moderates' and 'progressives' can be quite scary. If Western publics were exposed to comprehensive translations of the kind of narratives and arguments that take place in the Arab world on many subjects they would be appalled, most people don't know the half of it.

    Take Tariq Ramadan, a European Muslim scholar who has some very worthwhile opinions for his fellow Muslims on a whole range of subjects. Even he has some pretty objectionable views. The problem is that you can't choose your dissenters, Solzhenitsyn and Martin Luther were both antisemitic but nonetheless great figures of resistance against authority. I think there is a place for anyone who can help to reform Islam by speaking to Muslim audiences in a palatable way, but I don't think we should embrace what they say as Westerners.

    5) Lastly I would like to point out that the commonalities (indeed transhistorical as well as transgeographic) of Jihadi aims, actions and doctrine are clearly discernible to any rational observer, and that these are more significant than the differences of context and particularity to the overall outcome. You merely have to look at the operation of Islamist ideas from Urumqi to Chechnya, to Mindanao, to see the commonalties in contexts which have nothing to do with Anglo-American foreign policy. Being too nuanced and overcontextualising everything runs the risk of one becoming a morally relativistic anthropologist of Islamic ideas and violence, bogged down in detail and unable to see the wood for the trees - we need to construct a metanarrative of the nature of Islamism, not to deconstruct any chance of a meaningful response.
    1) I think your being far too dismissive of Muslim voices. Debates that exist only within elite bubbles or academia, and ones that involve self appointed community leaders fail to address the legitimate aspirations and needs of the young.

    2) I broadly agree with what you write here. However, America may not have created the ideology but they helped bring it to prominence, and it was they and other western nations that helped shape aspects of it by their actions. I'm afraid conquest and domination is not uniquely a narrative of the Islamic world; Western foreign policy was not just criminally short sighted during the cold war, it was brutally self-serving, the Islamists and the western establishment had broadly similar objectives/methods; so it's unsurprising they pooled resources, and not just in Afghanistan.

    "Would you say the Arab-Israeli conflict created the ideology, or that it had a limited impact on re-tailoring it in some settings and simply helped to attract a great many followers to the Islamist banner? I am of course arguing the latter."
    3)I believe radical Islam is a response to a general crisis within the Islamic world, the Arab-Israeli conflict for many in the Arab world sums up that crisis succinctly; weakness in the face of western superiority, and a feeling of utter helplessness in the face of perceived western aggression. There are other factors like the the search for identity and unity in what are artificially created states, a lack of political accountability, the abundance of oil in region....etc

    4) I would look at Amira Al-Tawael, Wajear Al-Huwaider seen Here as an example of feminism there. No, she's no Germaine Greer but she is constructive. There are also the growing academics and legal professionals who have organized to work for reform in Saudi; more broadly the protest movement amongst the growing middle classes in Egypt. Personally, I took an interest in Irans defeated candidates wife after seeing her on a news report, Zahra Rahnavard seems to deserve respect wherever in the world one originates, her ideas are as bold as her personality, raising important questions in respect to gender, equality, and the interests of women. I'm afraid I don't think your being fair when you dismiss Islamic thinkers outright.

    5) It's unsurprising that commonalities exist given the context and populations of the conflicts you mention, crises invite the most easily adoptive radical ideologies. If for example the Tamil of Sri Lanka were Muslim, the Tigers would plausibly have formulated their struggle in terms of an Islamist discourse; the west would in turn include the conflict in some kind of meta-narrative which would span global Jihad. The Islamist-western conflict is mealy the most superficial layer of underlying issues and conflicts. Spinning the meta-narrative without contextualization risks being propagandist, and only perpetuating the conflict.
    (Original post by Saff123)
    Pathetic Ambrosio! using Latin to make yourself sound smarter than you actually are, when in truth we both no your a hillbillie from a country whose only notable contribution to the world is kicking balls into a net...keep up feckless wonderer!
    Hillbilly? unlike you, when I see "A-rabs" on the "tellervesion" I don't start getting angry after seeing them fire their weapons in the air.... coz everybody knows that's your thang...

    Seriously I hear your teaching the salsa Rio style, down in London??
    I'm giving an advanced workshop in Lambada, nothing to do with Salsa:bored:. it has an intensely primitive raw emotion that comes from its Afro rhythms, the style I teach is hipper, incorporating close body contact and hip movements from Arabian belly dancing (Should be a good night, you should come)...

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    (Original post by Kickflip)
    Integration just doesn't happen, it has never happened anywhere in history and it will never successfully happen in the West in the future.

    Over the last 150 years or so, the general trend in Europe and elsewhere has been toward the creation of ethnically-based states—“ethnostates”. This trend did not end with the close of World War II. Indeed, the high point of ethnic homogenization in Europe was in the two generations in the immediate aftermath of World War II. As a result of this massive process of ethnic unmixing, the ethnonationalist ideal was largely realized: for the most part, each nation in Europe had its own state, and each state was made up almost exclusively of a single ethnic nationality. During the Cold War, the few exceptions to this rule included Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. But these countries' subsequent fate only demonstrated the ongoing vitality of ethnonationalism.

    While the recent spreading of the European Union imperium has given rise to a great deal of “post-nation” rhetoric, it has in fact been accompanied by an astonishing multiplication of ethnostates, split out of Yugoslavia and the former USSR — not to mention, of course, the Czech/Slovak division. Ethnic conflict is apparent as well throughout the developing world, and will likely lead to more partitioning and nation-creation. In areas where that separation has not yet occurred, politics is apt to remain ugly.

    But a huge anomaly has arisen. Recently, Western societies have embarked on a public policy project in which the ethno nationalism of white people is officially proscribed as an unadulterated evil. Multiculturalism only is encouraged and viewed as morally superior. Western Whites find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Although World War II marked the defeat of the ethnonationalist National Socialist movement, it resulted in a Europe that was more accurately divided into ethnostates than ever. But World War II also saw the triumph of the political and cultural Left. These two cultural facts have been at odds ever since.

    German National Socialists remain the bogeyman of the political and cultural Left to this day. The Left is utterly dedicated to eradicating any vestiges of European ethnonationalism. Opponents of immigration are routinely labeled “racists” or “Nazis” for advocating policies that are, in fact, the norm in the rest of the world. Thus Israel favors Jewish immigrants, Spain favors people from its former Latin American Empire, India its “Non-Resident Indians” (NRIs), China favors the Overseas Chinese. In a global context, it is the Western insistence on universalist criteria for immigration that seems provincial.

    Whatever the drawbacks to ethnic nationalism (and the most obvious is the bloodshed that sometimes accompanies the creation of ethnostates), it has at least three overriding advantages:

    1) Because of closer ties of kinship and culture, ethnically homogeneous societies are more likely to be open to redistributive policies such as social welfare.


    2) Sociologists such as Robert Putnam have shown that ethnic homogeneity is associated with greater trust of others and greater political participation.


    3) And finally, as noted also by historians of European modernization, ethnic homogeneity may well be a precondition of political systems characterized by democracy and rule of law.

    Political correctness in the West cannot be maintained without constantly ratcheting up the social controls on individual thought and behavior. Western societies will experience increased ethnic conflict. Their governments will increasingly be obliged to enact draconian penalties for deviations from political correctness. And probably also to “correct” ethnic imbalances in social status and political power—much as the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires of old were forced in their declining years to constantly bargain with rising ethnic pressure groups. Democracy, representative government, and freedom will be likely casualties.

    Multiculturalism produces deep, frequently irreconcilable divisions within a society and ultimately, causes group-based competition for resources and political power. These can be very hard to mediate.The difficulty of establishing democracy and the rule of law in societies divided by ethnic conflict is a major theme of the contemporary world.
    Were you wearing the brown shirt of the Sturm Abteilung when you typed that Miss kickflip? that rant from "Here comes the ethnics" was very 'Germany 1920's'.
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    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    Were you wearing the brown shirt of the Sturm Abteilung when you typed that Miss kickflif? that rant from "Here comes the ethnics" was very 'Germany 1920's'.
    she didn't type anything just part of the copy and paste brigade

    http://www.vdare.com/macdonald/080327_muller.htm
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    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    Were you wearing the brown shirt of the Sturm Abteilung when you typed that Miss kickflip? that rant from "Here comes the ethnics" was very 'Germany 1920's'.
    You said that like it's a bad thing.
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    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    Western foreign policy was not just criminally short sighted during the cold war, it was brutally self-serving, the Islamists and the western establishment had broadly similar objectives/methods; so it's unsurprising they pooled resources, and not just in Afghanistan.
    You mean they had a common enemy, they had rather different methods and though they shared some very short term objectives in defeating that common enemy their aims were otherwise entirely different - each thought they were using the other. I think that though there were mistakes made in the fight against communism it was a moral cause, and the manner of the Soviet Union's collapse reinforces that conclusion. What kind of a system requires people to be imprisoned and shot at if they attempt to escape from it? Well I suppose Islam in terms of apostasy isn't all that different, but the Berlin wall makes for better imagery to highlight the very real differences and the nature of freedom. The real parallel to be made is between communism as an ideology and Islamism, both misguidedly feeling under threat while plotting to take over the world and subject it to idyllic 'peaceful' oppression, both actually brutally oppressing people where the ideology controls the state, both transnational and radically opposed to any rival ideology... But unfortunately while communism is falsifiable because, like most political projects (that can fail and discredit themselves in new nation states) it promises things for this life, while Islamism's promises that you will get all those virgins and sensual delights after you die in violent jihad (however ridiculous they are) cannot be disproven or discredited by anything that happens in the real world.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    Debates that exist only within elite bubbles or academia, and ones that involve self appointed community leaders fail to address the legitimate aspirations and needs of the young.
    I find this, juxtaposed with what else you have said to be highly ironic, precisely because you are talking on a level which fails to comprehend the most basic of threats and smooths it all over in elaborate nuance.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    The Islamist-western conflict is mealy the most superficial layer of underlying issues and conflicts.
    That is where we profoundly disagree, I think Islamism (itself, its relation to the West and to the rest of the world) is the big picture - and all of these piddly local concerns are not going to change the world. You could treat the Cold War in the same way, and deconstruct it into a series of small scale enthno-political conflicts - but it would not help you to better understand the Cold War if you ended up loosing sight of the big picture. I feel as though we are talking at cross purposes and that you just don't get it. You cannot simply rationalise away real threats and the broad forces at play. Even if you were to agree with me on the broad forces, your story deemphasizes them into virtual oblivion, when really they are actually the most important thing to deal with in the real world.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    Spinning the meta-narrative without contextualization risks being propagandist, and only perpetuating the conflict.
    We won't end the conflict by defining it as 'not a conflict', or trying to reduce it to a series of loosely connected local political grievances and issues.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    No, she's no Germaine Greer but she is constructive.
    All she would have to do to be more constructive than Germaine Greer would be to outright reject Female Genital Mutilation. Don't talk to me about Germaine Greer. That is where this path of endless contextualization leads, cultural relativism and complete moral bankruptcy - it sickens me to the core that someone who has ever claimed to be a feminist of any kind could defend FGM on cultural grounds.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    If for example the Tamil of Sri Lanka were Muslim, the Tigers would plausibly have formulated their struggle in terms of an Islamist discourse
    Yes no doubt they would, or rather no doubt they would adopt Islamist ideology and if it were possible to be any more violent than the Tamils already are they would become so (Islamists are always more dangerous than ethno-nationalists). In the case of violence, its not about mere discourses. If the Tibetans were Muslim they would be far more violent because of the Islamist ideology that is spreading like a cancer, but to which so many people are so willfully blind.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    It's unsurprising that commonalities exist given the context and populations of the conflicts you mention, crises invite the most easily adoptive radical ideologies.
    What a trite textbook answer, Islamism isn't just a useful ideology in the tool box to be deployed in areas of trouble - it is itself a cause of trouble where there need be no trouble, its a set of ideas so intrinsically powerful and compelling that it makes Muslims who have no localised contextualised reason to commit violent acts, who are well off and not living under any kind of oppression, decide to go and blow themselves up.

    If it were not for the selectively applied (i.e. not to Darfur) concept of the Ummah which has been spread as part of the Islamist package then Muslims who have absolutely no cause to feel like victims wouldn't go off to warzones that have nothing to do with them. What your story really omits to emphasize is that Islamism is a force of globalisation, it connects what you see as unrelated conflicts by giving them a global meaning and this is materially significant to the whole phenomenon - Jihadi networks are multinational enterprises that bring together Muslims from all over the Islamic world and beyond and deploys them in different theatres of conflict that they have no natural reason to be involved with. The independent force of the Islamist ideology, its aims and objectives, subsumes all localised conflicts into global Islamism.

    If these conflicts were really about localised contextual issues that could all be solved piecemeal by settling local grievances then the world would be a far less scary place, and I suppose that is how you see it. But any conflict that wasn't always about Islam, that might have been about ethno-nationalism as much as sectarian differences (i.e. like Northern Ireland) are no longer like that, they have been Islamised into a wider more dangerous struggle with a far greater meaning for Islam and for the rest of the world. It is as profound as when the Cold War injected itself into the process of decolonisation and made the old imperialism-nationalism debate look 10 years out of date. And the immediate ideological sources for the revival and resynthesis of this new brand of Islamism date to the 1920s, significantly predating a lot of these conflicts or their modern phases.
    (Original post by Milk'n*Honey)
    I believe radical Islam is a response to a general crisis within the Islamic world, the Arab-Israeli conflict for many in the Arab world sums up that crisis succinctly; weakness in the face of western superiority, and a feeling of utter helplessness in the face of perceived western aggression. There are other factors like the the search for identity and unity in what are artificially created states, a lack of political accountability, the abundance of oil in region....etc
    Radical Islam's roots go back further than the 1920s, and the feeling of weakness, the narrative of decline goes back before the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The Middle East doesn't have African level problems when it comes to the nation state, their sense of nationalism fits quite closely with the borders that divide up the region - we aren't talking about tribes that ended up in strange states. I don't think that many of the States in the Muslim world are particularly artificial in those terms. They had plenty of nationalism before it was superseded by the spread of Muslim Brotherhood style Islamist ideology. Their states haven't delivered what they should and could have for their citizens, the perceived failure of nationalist politicians, the collapse of communism as another source of potent ideology; they were deeply divided between Islamists and secularists, but progressively the Islamists have been winning the day with the populations of most Arab countries, however much the authoritarian regimes in the region act to suppress Islamism. On the level of the state, the Muslim world's leadership either has an unholy alliance with Islamists or tries to suppress them ruthlessly - the latter clearly perceive the threat for what it is and take it far more seriously than many in the West.
 
 
 
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