Misperceptions about Islam

[Foreign Policy] Bernard Lewis - Terrorism only comes from one brand of Islam, and even that one brand of Islam is not entirely committed to terrorism. I don't like the term "Islamofascism" because it's insulting to Muslims. They see it as insulting to link the name of their religion with the most detestable of all the European movements. I prefer to use the term "radical Islam." When a large part of the Muslim world was under foreign rule, then you might say that terrorism was a result of imperialism, of imperial rule and occupation. But at the present time, almost the whole of the Muslim world has achieved its independence. They can no longer blame others for what goes wrong. What is important in Iraq is not that it's being ruled by the Shiites, but that it's being ruled by a democracy, by a free, elected government that faces a free opposition. It proves what is often disputed, that the development of democratic institutions in a Muslim Arab country is possible. What is happening in Iraq I find profoundly encouraging. Of course, it is the ripple effect from Iraq that is causing alarm among all the tyrants that rule these countries [in the region]. If it works in Iraq, it could work elsewhere, and this is very disturbing [for tyrants]. The writer is professor emeritus at Princeton University.

2008-09-09 01:00:00

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