TWENTY YEARS OF ILLUSION ABOUT ISLAMISM
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
Djerejian started by noting that "the role of religion [in the Middle East] has become more manifest, and much attention is being paid to a phenomenon variously labeled political Islam, the Islamic revival, or Islamic fundamentalism." He praised Islam "as one of the world's great faiths," while noting that its cultural legacy "is a rich one in the sciences, arts, and culture and in tolerance of Judaism and Christianity." Djerejian then analyzed the Islamist movement:
That diversity is fine, he went on, so long as there is
Indeed, Washington ". . . has good, productive relations with countries and peoples of all religions throughout the world, including many whose systems of government are firmly grounded in Islamic principles." But the U.S. government is "suspect of those who would use the democratic process to come to power, only to destroy that very process in order to retain power and political dominance. While we believe in the principle of 'one person, one vote,' we do not support 'one person, one vote, one time'."
Djerejian then adduced the general rule, that the concern is political, not religious. In his words:
Which leads to the take-away quote of the speech:
Comment: Djerejian makes a fundamentally faulty assumption here, namely, that Islamists can be agents to "broaden political participation." That illusion remains, two decades later, the abiding hope of the U.S. State Department and nearly the whole of the establishment. No, simply put, a deeply anti-constitutional and anti-democratic ideology cannot bring on democratization. Islamists have picked up on this hope and, invariably, including right now in the campaign for the run-off presidential elections in Egypt, present themselves as constitutional democrats.
But they never are.
© Daniel Pipes 2012
Originally Published inNational Review Online, June 2, 2012
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the DanielPipes.org, June 3, 2012
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Dr. Daniel Pipes, a Ph.D. in Islamic History (Harvard University, 1978), is Founder and President of the Middle East Forum, Publisher of Middle East Quarterly, Founder of Campus Watch, Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, a signatory of the Project for the New American Century, a former board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a former adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Golden Circle supporter of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, a former member of the U.S. Department of Defense Special Task Force on Terrorism and Technology, and a former lecturer at the U.S. Naval War College, Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pipes was the Director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute from 1986 to 1993.
Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
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