August 7, 2010

How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric Strengthens Extremists

About that mosque that's supposed to be build near Ground Zero, New York. From Slate:

Several astute writers [...] have explained the idiocy of the anti-mosque campaign. By opposing the mosque, [Newt] Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans think they're standing up to Bin Laden. But Bin Laden isn't fighting for Islam. He's fighting to transform a war of terrorists against civilization into a war of infidels against Islam. He's fighting to persuade Muslims that they belong on his side, not on ours.

And you're helping him, Newt. You're giving him exactly the fight he wants. Nice going.

Their comparison of Bin Laden and Gingrich quotes is a bit far stretched but the conclusion is sound: by pretending that this is a clash of civilizations, the West only ends up strengthening the crazies.

At the same time, there's no need to be ashamed to proclaim Western values as superior, nor to give way to ideologies that are totalitarian and oppressive. Fundamentalist Islam is despicable and dangerous. The West should offer freedom as its alternative instead of bigotry and fear.

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