Thumbs Up to Daniel Pipes

THUMBS UP to Daniel Pipes for his column “It’s Not the Economy, Stupid: What the West Needs to Know About the Rise of Radical Islam” in the July 2, 1995, Washington Post. Pipes, who is editor of the Middle East Quarterly, refutes decisively the current “article of faith that poverty has caused the surge in fundamentalist Islam; and only its relief will cause radical fundamentalism to subside.” He points out that in numerous cases fundamentalism has intensified in nations with strong economies, including Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, Morocco, and Tunisia. Likewise, some of the most destitute Islamic nations, such as Bangladesh and Yemen, have experienced no significant fundamentalism. Moreover, the equating of poverty with radical Islam does not explain why the radicalism did not exist in decades past in poor countries, but has emerged today when the same nations are more prosperous. Pipes urges those Muslims and non-Muslims determined to oppose fundamentalism to confront the logic and goals of the violent movement directly, counter its organizations, interdict its funding, break up its gangs. Pipes’ clear-eyed analysis contrasts with widespread wishful thinking that prosperity is a sufficient antidote to violent ideological movements.

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