Re: Letter to NPR re Duncan Moon's 9/18 piece on Islamic reaction to the 911 attacks

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 07:39:07 MDT

On Tue, Sep 18, 2001 at 07:58:45PM -0500, Greg Burch wrote:
> So, yes, I'm singling out Islam. The Islamic world needs to do what Europe
> did over the last 300 years. It needs to tame its religion. The sooner,
> the better.

Suppose somebody told you that the western world needs to tame its religion, the
sooner the better. You would probably consider that person not very knowledgeable
about the west, not even if that person built up his case by quoting the bible,
listing a long line of abortion clinic bombings, IRA attacks, Jerry Falwell's
speeches and various nasty goings on in Latin America and Africa. Because you would
know that person was just looking at specific instances of Christianity gone bad,
and that most of the west - even if it has not fully accepted it - is influenced by
the enlightenment. When that person continued to claim that the reason many
Christian third world countries was doing badly was due to their Christianity, you
would likely point out the numerous other factors holding them back - sure,
Christianity may have an effect on the Phillipines, but there are many far stronger
non-religions economical, political and historical reasons why that nation has

I hope you see the analogy here: you are basing your thinking on the same kind of
assumptions about the Islamic world. A lot of it is fairly secular, and assuming it
is in need of "taming" is just overdoing it. There are sects and regions where
there may be a real need for the enlightenment (just imagine that it could do in
Saudi Arabia!), but you need to concentrate on them rather on Islam in general.
There is a huge difference between the Tunisian sunni and the arabian wahabits.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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