DISCOURAGING POINTLESS EXTREMISM (2002+ AND RE-ARRANGED IN 2012) CPDS Home Contact
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The West as a Problem Speculations about Extremists' Manifestos Problems in Extremists' Manifestos Increasing Understanding of Realistic Solutions The Crisis Facing Islam
Radical Islamists are currently causing worldwide disturbances. They appear to believe that current problems can be solved if they gain power through violently destabilizing existing governments in Muslim societies especially in the Middle East. For example Islamist extremists appear to believe that Muslim societies' problems are the result of centuries of Western oppression. This seems a misguided though convenient view, because: Western societies originally gained strength from various internal characteristics (mainly related to economic institutions and the methods used for economic and political problem solving) and the disadvantage that some others suffer has been largely the result of a lack of those characteristics (or of other ways to achieve similar outcomes); claiming victim-hood is convenient because it rationalizes shirking the hard physical and intellectual work that countries in (say) East and South Asia have had to do to improve their status.
CPDS Notes Is There Coercive Religious Legalism in Islam? Is Islam a Religion of Peace? About Islamic State Radicalization of Youth Desertions? Suggestions about Solutions Addenda >> Hitting Osama, but Missing Islamist Extremism Freedom and Progress in the Middle East Saving Muslims from Themselves Discrediting Extremists is Long Overdue Tell Islamists that Sharia Need not be Embodied in National Laws Discrediting Islamism We need Enlightenment to Combat Radicals Please Don't Trivialize Oppression Even Moderate Islam Seems Damagingly Rigid The Implications of Islam Liberty and Islam in Australia What Went Wrong in Iraq? Is the Barbarity of ISIS Another Attempt to Ensnare the US in the Middle East? Is ISIS a Bit Player in a Bigger Story? An Alternative to Fighting Radical Islamism for 100 Years Islamism and 'Team Australia' Does the 'Islamic State' have Staying Power? Challenging the Idea of an Islamic State (Are Modernizing Islamist Ideologies Involved? + Conflicts Must Arise without Self-Discipline) Shariah: The Threat to Muslims Politicians are Wrong: Terrorism by Islamist Extremists Does Involve Islam Eliminating the Need to Focus on 'Muslims' Cooperation with Australia's Muslims Could Help Solve the Crisis Facing the Whole Muslim World Taking Away the 'Islamic State's' Religious 'Oxygen' Bringing Freedom to Muslims Would Bring Peace to the Middle East Creating the Cultural Preconditions for Liberal Institutions Such as Democracy Defeating the Ideology of Islamist Terrorists Putting the 'Caliphate' in Context Liberating Muslim Women (and Men) Fairness and Trust are Only the Start in Countering Terrorism Winning the 'War on Terror' Would be Better than Fighting it Forever Blame Religious Legalism for the Middle East's Problems Blocking 'Hate' Preachers If the public were aware of the real issues, Australia's Muslim's would get widespread public sympathy (Are Outsiders to Blame for the Middle East's Problems?) Heading off Violent Jihad through an Australian Centre for Social Cohesion ISIS would be 'Islamic' Even if Beheadings Aren't The Barbarity of the so-called 'Islamic State' is not the Only Problem Finding Real Solutions for the Middle East Making Islamists' Ideology the Focus in Countering Terrorism Beating Radicalization Analyse the Practicality of Extremists' Ideology Discrediting Islamist Ideologies is Not Anti-Muslim The 'Dirty Work' Needed to Contain Terrorism Risks is a Major Rationale for Terrorism Helping Muslims Resist Islamism Individual Accountability to God: A Critical Requirement for Overcoming Muslim Societies' Historical Disadvantages Using the 'Power of the 'Pen' to Defeat Islamist Extremism and Give Muslim Societies a Better Future Individual Responsibility for Actions The Islamic Roots of Islamic Radicalism Life Wasn't Meant to Be Easy Rescuing Islam: Intellectual Freedom for Scholars Would Not Be Enough Islamist Extremists are not Alone in Favouring Pre-modern Social Systems Creating a Better World "Muslims Youth Pushed to Margins of Society" - by Islam? Countering Islamic State Propaganda Exposing the Unrealistic Intellectual Foundations of Islamist Extremism The Role of Theology in Combatting Islamic State Ending Muslim Jobs' Discrimination is Easy: Just Liberate Muslims Military Tactics are Not Enough Some Thoughts on Reforming Islam and the World Terrorism Can't Be Dug Out Just at Grassroots Level Encouraging Reform of Islam: Mr Turnbull's Opportunity to Counter Islamist Radicalization The Solution Must Go Deeper than Race Hate Laws Muslims Need to Decide for Themselves Whether Islamism Could Work Muslims' Responsibility For Stopping Terrorism Defeating Islamist Ideology Faces Obstacles Embrace Reformist Muslims in Fight Against Jihadist Threat Reforming the Grand Muftis' Role In Australia? Winning the 'War Against terror': A Suggestion Paris Attacks in Broader Context? Muslims' Problems Won't Be Solved Just by Embracing the Majority Islamic State Would Love to See 'Boots on the Ground' Current Anti-Extremism Programs are Probably Almost Content Free Changing What Needs to be Changed: Islam Studying and Fixing Islam's Problems An Outside-in Strategy for Defeating Islamic State? Towards a Frank and Open Discussion About the Causes of Islamist Extremism Drawing Attention to Opportunities to Reform Islam is Constructive Australia's Official Misunderstanding of Muslims' Problems Eliminating the Need for Surveillance and Soft Despotism Is 'Truth Telling on Religion' by Politicians Compatible with a Secular State? Getting Australian Muslims a 'Fair Go' Getting Aussie Muslims and nonMuslims Together is Not That Simple Scale of Propaganda is Irrelevant if It is Challenged Decisively Muslims Must Lead the ISIS Fight But Muslim Armies Can't Muslims' Problems are Not Limited to Islamist Extremism, and Can't Be Solved Simply by Reclaiming Islam's Past Intellectual Traditions Should Muslims Aspire to Recreate The Golden Age of Islam? Discrediting the Ideological Foundations of Islamist Radicals The West Won't Defeat ISIS with Military Forces Solidarity with Muslims is OK Suggesting that Islam Doesn't Need Fundamental Reform is Not Middle East's Problems: Are Domestic or External Factors More Important? Islam Promotes Stress Between Muslims and Everyone Else Why Muslims Don't Integrate: A Suggestion Bendigo Mosque Is Name Calling the Smartest Way to Deal with 'Hate Groups' ? Terror Must be Met with Brains - At Long Last Reducing Ignorance: A Fresh Idea for Terror Response Vilification Laws Can't Protect Religious Freedom Dismissing Political Opponents as 'Racists' is Part of the Problem, Not a Solution (Avoiding the Issue) Victimhood May Have Become an Intrinsic Feature of Islam Australians Should Unite Against the Repression of Muslims Another Path to One Nation Religion and The State: Reducing Western and Islamic Problems Unfortunately Terrorism CAN be Viewed as an 'Act of Faith' Another View of Muslim 'Grievances' The Problem with Old Certainties Keeping Americans and Everyone Else Safe from Islamist Violence Are Muslims' Problems the Result of Some Muslims' Cultures Rather Than of Their Religion? Acceptance of Hitting Women is Only a Small Part of Muslims' Problems Which Muslim Leaders are Our Best Allies? Exposing the Source of Islamist Radicalization Women Are Not The Only Muslims Who Would Benefit From Liberation Assessing a Possible National Security Risk Without Considering National Security? When World's Collide: ASIO Also Needs a Reality Check Islam Needs Reform - Not Destruction The West as a Problem
Problems which have their origin in history can be overcome by those with creative spirit, but only made worse by those whose spirit is destructive. The best way to discourage extremists may be to seriously seek out the currently-secret ideas their 'spiritual leaders' have about solutions – and have those solutions subjected to detailed assessment of their practicality by a ‘jury of their peers’ after inputs to those peers by reputable experts reflecting many different shades of opinion. Furthermore examining the reasons that Islamists (whether extremist or moderate) believe that their proposals would solve difficulties that plague many Muslim-dominated societies has the potential to reveal obstacles that those societies face that are normally neglected. It has reasonably been pointed out that theological assumptions can not be disproved by theological argument. However Islamist ideas seem to have mainly political, economic and (perhaps even) scientific implications which could be evaluated. If the Islamists' ideas have merit, they can be more widely advocated. There are, after all, many ways of achieving constructive changes through presenting people with attractive ideas. However if they do not have merit - and extremists are thus being disruptive for no justifiable reason - then the 'peers' will be likely to be able to discredit (pointless) extremists with their potential supporters. The author suspects Islamists' ideas lack merit because Islam apparently embodies features (eg communal moral legalism and cosmological interpretations to rationalize social rigidity) that derive from the Arabic tribal context in which Islam emerged and may well be largely (though certainly not solely) responsible for the historical difficulties that Muslim-dominated societies (especially those in the Middle East) have experienced because they inhibit the change and learning that prosperity requires. Islamism may be the logical end point of the assumption that states should be governed in accordance with the way a set of guidelines for life in the 7th century are interpreted by modern-day religious authorities. But it not likely to provide a basis for effective government in a changing environment. Traditional Muslims have good reason to participate in a process to evaluate the ideology of Islamists, as extremists have challenged their authority and implied that extremism is needed to 'take seriously' the claim that Islam (being a religion which deals with all aspects of life) is thus a suitable basis for effective government by God's right-hand-men - a shift towards state religious authoritarianism that would seem likely to further reinforce the constraints on prosperity and modernisation that Muslim-dominated societies have suffered. However the extremists may have precipitated a crisis for Islam, because the need now to critically evaluate Islamists' proposed 'solutions' could cause cracks to emerge in the whole world-view that has been built around Islam. That world view apparently suggests, for example, that natural and social systems should be 'scientifically' studied as a way of understanding the Divine - a dysfunctional assumption from a scientific viewpoint that has given Islamic scholars great authority over all aspects of life in Muslim societies. However, because of the need to publicly evaluate the ideology of extremists, traditional authority is now likely to be put at risk by intense exposure to alternative critical understandings. This ultimately may be of great benefit to Muslim communities by liberating their people from centuries of intellectual bondage. In 2012 (many years after there had been a critical need to do so) questions again seemed to be being raised about the many possible causes of the Middle East's backwardness, and whether Islam was a progressive influence (eg see Freedom and Progress in the Middle East below)
The West Poses Real Problems for Islamic Societies [