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Better elected Islamists than dictators?

8 October 2012

3:46 PM

8 October 2012

3:46 PM

If readers have a couple of hours to spare can I recommend watching a debate which took place in America last week? Not the predictably unenlightening Presidential one, but a discussion of one of the most important and complex dilemmas of our time. Organised by the excellent Intelligence Squared US, the motion is: ‘Better Elected Islamists than Dictators’. It includes three excellent speakers, Zuhdi Jasser, Daniel Pipes and Reuel Marc Gerecht.

The discussion is interesting in part because the side arguing for the motion do not like Islamists and the side against the motion do not like dictators. As Daniel Pipes pithily sums up at one point, ‘nobody likes anybody’. The question, though, is what we do about it.

If you don’t have time for the full thing I would at least recommend watching the exchange from about 44 minutes till just over 46 minutes which gets to one of the hearts of this subject.

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  • rndtechnologies786

    Thought is good.

  • John

    Jasser’s a waste of time and has no influence in the Muslim community. He believes in a ‘version’ of Islam that exists nowhere outside of his own head. All that matters is what’s in Islamic doctrine itself.

  • Augustus

    Clearly the fall of the Ottoman Empire advanced the fanatical element in Islam in the Middle East. The Turks constituted an element of balance to the fanatical aspirations of the Arabs and the Persians. This was England’s great mistake, from before WW1, and thereafter, ignoring the peculiar psychology of Muslim peoples, and judging only from appearances, she thought it worth while to intrigue against Turkey with the small native States of Arabia, but succeeded only in creating so many centres of fanaticism and xenophobia. France has not been much wiser, contracting illusory alliances with Arab tribes who have a supreme contempt for the Westerner. For them we were no more than usurpers. Under regional strongmen, slightly Islamized, and imposing their influence and rule, buffer states were at least partially formed between the West and the Asiatic ferment. Their disappearance only adds fuel to the flame of mutual hatred, and at some point, the unleashing of a Holy War. The Muslim World will never raise themselves among civilized nations to a position which would permit them at any time to indulge in grandiose ambitions of true democracy. Their culture is superficial. What they have copied of our institutions is nothing but a caricature, and the organizations they have copied from us can only be made to work by the help of European agents.
    And we should never forget that whenever we have to deal with Muslim people, whoever they may be, they will always, in spite of appearances, be disposed to respect the law of religious solidarity; and that any interests which may, for the moment, divide them, would have but a relative value, and would never constitute a
    barrier to their union, whether disguised or not, against the foreigner. It is puerile to waste any enthusiasm on their political self-determination, for to do so is to expose oneself to sheer deception.

  • victor67

    Three excellent speakers? Two ultra zionist neo-cons from the far right foundation of the defence of democracies and an uncle tom muslim that Fox news troops out to condemn his fellow religionists who critique Israel.
    This is not a balanced discussion on political Islam and the arab spring. There are many more enlightened speakers who could express an Islamic/Arab position.

    • AY

      the matter is, nobody gives damn about these “enlightened speakers” anymore.

      what are their ideas – terrorizing West, rule of sharia, destruction of Israel?
      might sound attractive to you, – well, that also can be safely neglected.

      • victor67

        and those deep thinkers lost any credability with the Iraq debacle.

        • AY

          c’mon all calamities of iraq come strictly from tribal wars and islamic terrorism, this is common knowledge.
          who are all these suicide bombers and throat cutters, – also Zionist neo-cons?

    • Teddy123Bear

      Uncle Tom Muslim?
      You mean a Muslim that sees through the insidious and foul agenda of Islamists?

      Here’s an example of what he said in the debate:
      “I’ll tell you, as a Muslim, I’m insulted at people who believe that
      Islamism is progress for me as a Muslim, that somehow the theocrats and
      those with robes that memorize their scripture, that somehow know how to
      run democracy, when, in fact, it’s an illusion. I think one of the
      things our opposition hasn’t even begun to tell you is how they can
      trust one word that the Islamists tell them. They’re deceptive
      theocrats who will do anything to monopolize and control our societies.
      This is far more dangerous than a simple dictator…. And once you
      understand that Islamism is no different than what our Founding Fathers
      fought against when we fought against theocracy in this country, you’ll
      realize that fighting against theocracy is the only way to achieve
      liberty.”

      Sounds good to me – wish we had more of them.
      He can share my cabin anytime.

    • Teddy123Bear

      Uncle Tom Muslim?
      You mean a Muslim that sees through the insidious and foul agenda of Islamists?

      Here’s an example of what he said in the debate:
      “I’ll tell you, as a Muslim, I’m insulted at people who believe that
      Islamism is progress for me as a Muslim, that somehow the theocrats and
      those with robes that memorize their scripture, that somehow know how to
      run democracy, when, in fact, it’s an illusion. I think one of the
      things our opposition hasn’t even begun to tell you is how they can
      trust one word that the Islamists tell them. They’re deceptive
      theocrats who will do anything to monopolize and control our societies.
      This is far more dangerous than a simple dictator…. And once you
      understand that Islamism is no different than what our Founding Fathers
      fought against when we fought against theocracy in this country, you’ll
      realize that fighting against theocracy is the only way to achieve
      liberty.”

      Sounds good to me – wish we had more of them.
      He can share my cabin anytime.

    • James Martin

      Considering Murray called Robert Spencer ‘a very brilliant scholar and writer’, I think it should be fairly obvious that he has very low standards of excellence.

      • anotherjoeblogs

        i think you need to back up your claim with a counter argument else it is just ad hom.

      • Daniel Maris

        James Martin –

        Rather than make vague allegations, please give some examples of Robert Spencer misinterpreting the scriptures of Islam. When you have failed to do so (and please don’t just give a link to some flakey anti-Spencer site, let’s hear you do so) then we will know that you really are simply afraid of Spencer’s exposure of what is taught regularly in nearly all Islamic schools throughout the world and in this country.

        • Mr Putter

          Well, Mr Breivik certainly had a similar line of thinking on Spencer.

          • Daniel Maris

            In what sense? More mud splatter from you? How about some citations e.g. where Robert Spencer has advocated shooting to death of young socialists…what – can’t you find a quotation?

          • AY

            Breivik probably also positive about Ohm’s law, you know.
            should we declare Ohm’s law a lie?

      • anotherjoeblogs

        if it is so obvious, let’s hear some of you rebuttals about where spencer has gone wrong.

    • League Against ******67

      “Two ultra zionist neo-cons from the far right”

      And what are you to construct such a description? Moderate? Centrist? I doubt it. From your comments (all over the net using different permutations of arnaldo, victor and victim + 67 I’d say you were an ultra something something neo-something from the far left. So f***ing what?

    • anotherjoeblogs

      who are these more enlightened speakers you talk about ? taqqiyya masters of the nth degree ?

      • victor67

        Ramzay Baroud, Rashid Khalidi, Mustafa Barghouti. They represnt democracy that is not aligned with pax americana

  • T. Botham

    “Better Elected Islamists than Dictators.”
    Behold the magic of elections. Purple fingers, long lines of voters, boxes with slots, posters – the joo-joo of a cargo cult. Constitutions are powerful incantations, too. If people do the magic right – “freenfair” – the plane will land and the Elected Leader will love his people and give them stuff, forever. “Legitimacy” is an actual mantle of power — worn authoritatively by Hamid Karzai.

  • http://twitter.com/SHMcGregor Steven McGregor

    great debate. interesting that both sides seemed to be interventionist.

    • victor67

      Both sides are not being represented here Zuhdi Jasser is a neo-conservative.

      • T. Botham

        You have a simpleton’s understanding of debate “sides”. Why should a neo-conservative view not be aired – represented – in a debate?
        If the debate were on capital punishment, would you demand that a murderer be on the side against it?

      • League Against ******67

        And you represent poison.

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