Are All "Extremists" Dangerous?


A Zen master is a Buddhist extremist. Zen masters, such as the late Shunryu Suzuki, shown in the picture here, try to practice Buddhism in its pure form. They try to do things the way Buddha did them, and they try to follow Buddha's teachings. They live austere lives devoted to meditation and teaching, just like Buddha did. They try to focus more on direct experience than in learning doctrines (something Buddha repeatedly stressed in his teachings). They try not to conceptualize too much. They get their students to learn about their own minds from long periods of meditation.

A Buddhist extremist cultivates a state of calmness and kindness, and cultivates the ability to keep her or his attention in in the present moment and not in the past, the future, or lost in thought.

These are Buddhist extremists.

If Zen devotees work hard, most of them will achieve a state of abiding inner peace and a profound and lasting feeling of kindness toward others.

Islamic extremists try to practice Islam in its pure form. They try to do things the way Muhammad did them, and they try to follow Muhammad's teachings. They live austere lives devoted to jihad. They don't sit around contemplating their navels. They prove their devotion with action. They try to make the law of Allah the supreme law of the world. They devote their lives to fulfilling the political goal of Islam, just as Muhammad dedicated his life to it, and just as Muhammad taught his followers to do.

An Islamic extremist cultivates hatred toward non-Muslims and works toward the day when all non-Muslims are either subjugated as dhimmis, converted to Islam, or dead.

These are Islamic extremists.

If Islamic devotees work hard, most of them will find themselves in some form of warfare with non-Muslims and ideally will be killed fighting in the way of Allah.

Are all extremists dangerous? Are all ideologies the same? Would it matter to you what kind of extremist you had as your neighbor? Would it matter to you what kind of extremist your children chose as close friends or heroes? Would it matter to you what kind of extremist your country allowed to immigrate to your country?

Can we please stop using the word "extremist" when we mean "devout Muslim" or "dedicated follower of Islamic doctrine?"


Ramachandra 12:42 PM  

Great point !

Athea Marcos Amir 5:55 PM  

I was so happy to read "Are All Extremists Dangerous?" because it makes the point I keep trying to make: If someone simply follows the rules in any endeavor we don't call them "extreme." It's only when they go beyond the rules or make up their own harsher rules that we should rightly call them extreme.

When anyone recites the popular mantra to me that "most Muslims are law-abiding and peace-loving people," I say yes, they are what I call bad Muslims and I value them. They ignore the ugly dictates of their holy book. The ones I don't like are the "good Muslims," the ones who do precisely what their religion commands.

The reason people are generally so ignorant about this topic is that they haven't read the first thing about Islam and prefer to live in la-la land regarding this "religion of peace."

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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