Daniel Pipes: What Antidote to Radical Islam?

Murat Yetkin, editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News.

“Radical Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution” has been my watchword since 2002, meaning that Islam’s many problems will only be solved when Muslims leave Islamism, an attempt to regress to a medieval model, and favor a modern, moderate, and good-neighborly version of their faith.

Plenty of people disagree with this analysis, but no one offered an alternate solution. Now, Murat Yetkin editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet Daily News in Turkey has done so in a recent column, “Antithesis of radical Islam is not moderate Islam, it is secularism.”

He finds my solution old and discredited: “As radical Islamist movements started to emerge, politicians in the West … tried to recruit ‘moderates’,” building them up “without realizing or bothering to understand that they would become the new radicals.” Yetkin locates this pattern variously in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria.

The real antithesis of radical Islam, he posits, is not moderate Islam, but rather “separating state affairs from religion.” Secularists, the West can rest assured, won’t turn against it. Calling for a revival of Atatürk’s secularism, Yetkin approves of a recent speech by Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu urging Muslims to adopt secularism as”the antidote to terror”…

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