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Yet D’Souza’s critique of Spencer falls flat because he shares some of the same basic assumptions—for instance, that Islam is inherently incompatible with secularism and is inherently “fundamentalist” in the sense of relying on a literal reading of the Koran. It’s just that, for D’Souza, these are not vices but virtues. The anti-Muslims regard secularized but Islamic Turkey as an anomaly; so does D’Souza, who writes mostly with approval of the push to reverse Turkey’s secularization: “Muslims have the right to live in Islamic states under Muslim law if they wish.”
It is quite true that, in the age of militant Islamic terrorism, it is not very helpful to tell millions of peaceful Muslims that their religion is inherently violent, evil, and oppressive. It is equally unhelpful of D’Souza to deny the obvious: The best hope for peaceful coexistence is for the Islamic world to embrace modernization and individual liberty, not for the West to turn its back on those values.
Cathy Young is a
contributing editor at Reason.
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