[lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

  • From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 22:43:47 +0100

Seems you're in revisionist mode then Lawrence. Shame really. 

The issue, Lawrence is the manner in which moderates become extremist, not with 
how many moderates there might be. You have consistently said that it's 
exclusively down to ideology, which of course denies the possibility that the 
Iraq war (to take one example) might be pushing moderates towards the 

Now, however, you seem to be suggesting otherwise. Forgetting Qutb for the 
moment, deal with the simple question: Do moderate mulsims react to their 
perceptions and experiences of western action in the world?

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lawrence Helm 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 10:05 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

  My mind hasn't changed about any of this as far as I know.  I'm afraid I 
haven't your fervid interest in this quibble.  I haven't reread Qutb.  My 
opinion about the pervasiveness of Qutb's writings hasn't changed.  

  As to the moderates, I discussed them most with Omar, as I recall.   I said 
that I had almost no evidence of them in the Middle East -- at least not from 
nations besides Afghanistan and Iraq.  I challenged him to produce one Moderate 
writing from within the Middle East (aside from people living in Iraq and 
Afghanistan).  He could not, at least he did not.  So how do we account for 
this, I asked him?  Are moderates just timid, afraid to face the Islamists who 
are ready to kill them?  Or do these so-called Moderates agree with the 
Islamists, and have they perhaps agreed with them all along, meaning do 
Moderates really exist?  Of course none of us can know these things with 
certainty for no one takes polls and no one speaks freely to reporters, and no 
one writes about his thoughts with candor.

  As to what the West does having an effect on the Islamists (or moderates who 
sympathize with the Islamists), they have always been good at propaganda.  
Osama bin Laden pointed to Iraq and bemoaned the sanctions placed on the poor 
Iraqis, on the starving children, but he was especially outraged that the US 
was in Saudi Arabia (having planes there to over-fly Iraq to keep Saddam from 
destroying the Kurds and Shiites).  All of those things were used by Osama and 
other Islamists for propaganda purposes.  Some historians have argued that we 
need to do nothing more than exist as the most successful nation to have 
Islamists hate us.  Would you have us cease to exist to placate the Islamists?


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