Opinion: In Fighting ISIS or Al Qaeda, We Must Take Great Care Not to Demonize Islam

Islam[editor’s note: this is a cross-post of an article I posted on the Huffington Post.]

When news arose that the killings in San Bernardino last Thursday was probably terrorist related – that the perpetrators Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had praised “Allah” and pledged allegiance to ISIS moments before they started their rampage – attention quickly shifted to the Muslim communities for their reactions.

Soon enough, civic and religious leaders of the Muslim communities rolled forward to condemn the attack in no uncertain terms. They called the acts horrific and uncivilized and not in line with their religious or social values.

But talking to my Muslim friends privately, I also get a very real sense of fear.

What will their non-Muslim neighbors think of them now? With Obama calling terrorism “a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse,” just what special obligations do American Muslims now owe the nation in facing up to terrorism?

I can’t think of a time when such a great religion and tradition has been so maligned in such broad strokes.

When the Ku Klux Klan came forward in masks and robes to burn crosses and terrorize Blacks across the South, few looked to Christian communities as a whole to “confront” those acts even though some KKK members saw themselves as doing God’s work.

When we look back to the horrors of the Third Reich, we refer to them as Nazi, not German per se – even though many in the third Reich saw their main goal as reviving a pure German civilization.

So why do we insist on labeling ISIS or Al Qaeda terrorists Jihadists or Islamists and seeing them through religious, not political, lens? Isn’t it only natural that in all societies, especially those undergoing political upheavals, that various political actors would appeal to those societies’ most cherished ideals and values to bolster their cause?

Lest we forget: some of our own founding fathers had appealed to deeply held notions of God, civilization and values to justify brutal efforts to eradicate Native Americans. Abolitionists and slave owners alike appealed to religion and “rule of law” to justify abolishing and preserving slavery (with the former focusing on equality of all and the latter on the sanctity of property and individual owner’s right to choose).

Lest we forget: despite the pivotal role our Constitution played in the recent Civil Rights Movement, the Constitution had been enlisted time and time again throughout the long turbulent history of this nation to uphold racist laws and policies such as segregation, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Japanese internment.

We must learn to separate chaff from the wheat, the worldly affairs of politics from the noble ideals that stand the test of time. We must learn to see the terrorists as political actors that they are, not the crusaders that we imagine them to be.

Over the last few months, we have heard Mr. Trump pronounce how illegal immigration must be controlled because illegal immigrants bring drug, crimes and rapists into the country. Many seem all too eager to attribute the acts of the inevitable few to the whole.

In emphasizing the “Islamic” roots of terrorists, we also seem all too eager to attribute the political aspirations of an inevitable few to Islam as a whole.

Islam has been and will continue to be a great beacon of inspiration and pillar of strength for large swath of humanity for a long time to come. We must refrain from fighting the terrorists through demonizing Islam: we must avoid winning the battle only to lose the war.

I wish all my Muslim friends would walk with their back straight and head held high. It is not they who should carry a guilty conscience or shoulder fears of our reprisals. It should only be the terrorists themselves.

16 thoughts on “Opinion: In Fighting ISIS or Al Qaeda, We Must Take Great Care Not to Demonize Islam

  1. Allen, I have beg to differ on your premise quote here;
    “Islam has been and will continue to be a great beacon of inspiration and pillar of strength for large swath of humanity”.
    It may be true 1,200 years ago, but today it is more a drag on modernization, equality of sexes, and true human rights.
    It maybe politically incorrect in standing with Bill Maher and Sam Harris in attacking Islam and be labelled as Islamophobia, and I recognize that China probably would stand with your position as to avoid controversy, but we have to examine the facts as it is, not inanities and ideals not supported by reality. There are close to 1.5 billion Muslims, and a large majority believe in Sharia laws and literal interpretation of Quran. There are apostates in Saudi Arabia awaiting execution for trying to leave Islam, I am sure you do believe in freedom of religion. There are states in Indonesia where Sharia laws are practiced, women are bound with beekeeper suit as Maher would say. Have you watched the documentary “Death of a Princess”, who was executed in believe love, not to mention thousands killed every year in honor killings in Pakistan, and I can add female genital mutilations and on and on. Freedom of religion does not mean we have to accept medieval practices as sacrosanct, just as we no longer accept cannibalism as right of primitive cultures to exercise their cultural norm. You may say ISIS is a minority, but the truth is until Islam has her own reformation and accept modernity, it will as Marx said an opium of the people.

  2. I agree with Allen’s position because development of any society is not always linear. If we looked back to the 1900s using today’s “acceptable norm”, any casual observer would conclude that China is a failed state. And also come to the conclusion that Confucianism and Chinese civilization is an evolutionary dead end.

    As you have said there are close to 1.5 billion Muslim worldwide, that’s more than 1/7 of humanity. Muslim civilization stand as much a pillar of humanity as Indian, Chinese, Christian civilization. I suggest you do more research before suggesting that “It may be true 1,200 years ago, but today it is more a drag on modernization, equality of sexes, and true human rights.”

    Until 500 years ago the Ottoman Empire is still the richest, most technologically advanced empire in Europe. The Islamic Caliph has been ahead of European civilization more time than it was behind. Of course, Islamic civilization started falling behind in social organization and technologically around 15th century (so did all major civilization). If we use a certain time span in history, say 50 years, or 100, or 500 years, 2000 years as study period we would come to different conclusion.

    I don’t intend this post as a history lesson but I want to remind you that simply using several examples to make sweeping conclusion on such a huge civilization is unwise. You must remember that the most fatal and destructive wars (WWI, WWII) ever fought by mankind are Western European(Christian) incited. You might argue that European civilization contributed so much technological advances to humanity in the last 500 years that the atrocities paled in comparison. Is this statement true?

  3. China was a failed state until the topple of the last Emperor through revolutions, especially by the Communist under Mao. Foot binding was in the past, equality for Women, etc. not to mention Culture Revolution.
    We cannot compare Mohamed and Confucius, one is warlord and semi-god the other is a moral teacher. We don’t have to obey the Analects, just study the ones that fit the 21th century and make a joke the rest, those “Confucius Said……” jokes.
    We all know what will happen when making cartoon of Mohamed.

    China is booming after it is free from those feudal and out of date traditions. Chinese learn, weight the con and pro, calling spade a spade, without any stupid religious superstition; correct the mistake, copy if necessary and turn into new ones with Chinese characteristics.
    The history of Christianity was also undergone the reformation and enlightenment, think of France Revolution against the Church, no more killing between Catholics and Protestant. Today few Catholics give a toss what pope said, Birth-rate in Italy are the lowest in Europe, contraception are widespread used against the Catholic teaching.
    The pope is seen as cute figure like Santa; except of course in Philippine and some African Countries who believe using Condom is a sin.

    Islam needs reformation, they need people like Mustafa Ataturk. It is not to please the West but it is for the sake of Muslim themselves. Progressive Muslim must liberate their people from the backward and barbaric teaching.

  4. I was not belittling Islamic civilization at its height, just as Egyptian Civilization was 4,000 years ago. I am questioning its relevance in today’s world. China without her revolution would have been a failed state at the mercy of West. China pursues a policy of non-interference in others internal affairs. Islam claims to be paramount and will not allow any to leave at the penalty of death. The problem at Xinjiang is as much a problem of Islam as economic. For Muslims in U.S. or China if they adhere to local laws they would have no problem practicing their religion as such that don’t conflict with the laws. Any attempt for Sharia laws will conflict with modern values and be suppressed. Muslims may constitute 1/7 of human race, and from the birth data may eventually overwhelm Europeans, but the conflict will not be resolved in their favor whatever comes if they resist modernization.

  5. I remember talking with Eric Li once about our “world views.” As we talked, one thing he often brought up was the notions of “contradictions” within our worldview – or more correctly – contradictions within a set of world views each person may hold.

    With that said, I believe the “imagery” of Islam you describe as somewhat medieval, and of religion as an “opiate” of the masses does resonate with me – at least on certain levels.

    But even with that, I still stand by my premise that Islam will be a shining light of hope and pillar of strength for millennia to come. I say that because I don’t think Islam is necessarily what we think it is – or what believes may think it is.

    Many of Christians of one hundred years ago will probably be shocked to find what Christians of today believe in. Whether it is about resurrection, the final days, role of women, etc… The Christians today will probably be deemed heretics by Christians of a hundred years ago….

    The notion that ideas necessarily morph … or the corollary (I think), that the core of ideas – once reinterpreted by future generations – are often a lot less and somewhat different than what any one generation attributes to it – exists not just in the realm of religion.

    Thus I took the example of the Constitution. Whether it is about equality of races, of men and women, slavery, ideas about marriage, the bounds between separation of church and state, etc. – what the founding fathers believed the Constitution … and what we have come to see it to represent – are different.

    Just because the Constitution had been used (legitimately in the sense that it is a legitimate reading of the Constitution) to justify slavery, segregation, Chinese exclusion act, etc. doesn’t mean that the Constitution necessarily stand for those values. So why do we attribute “violence” to Islam just because it might be a “legitimate” reading of Islam?

    Asia Times recently had an article titled Separating violent and peaceful Islam: Spengler that I don’t quite agree with but find helpful to cite here.

    In the article, it describes the problem of Islam (backward and violent nature as you described) as “ideological.” Over the last few hundred years, within Muslim societies (across the Middle East at least), there has developed this ideology that the Koran must be “literally” read and cannot be “re-interpreted.”

    But even within that “ideology,” there are still several possible and legitimate interpretations of Islam, some allowing for modernization and peace while others fighting against modernization and advocating violent overthrow of the modern world order.

    I think this “ideology” plus whatever political forces that have developed across Muslim society across the Middle East is not per se Islam. It is compatible with Islam, but it cannot be said to represent Islam, just as slavery, segregation, oppression of women cannot be said to represent Christianity or the U.S. Constitution, even though they may be said to be consistent with it…

    In saying all this, I concede that in my argument, there is necessarily an element of revisionism. Sometimes, perhaps very often, one cannot know what is an essential characteristic of a religion vs. an ideological characteristic that is compatible with a religion until later in time. Sometimes even after one think one know, but later people change their mind, what is essential and peripheral can be reinterpreted yet again.

    But I think that is the nature of all social ideas. Every generation takes what is useful and turn it to fit and support their worldview.

    So with all that mouthful, let me respond briefly to some of what you said:

    “Islam has been and will continue to be a great beacon of inspiration and pillar of strength for large swath of humanity”.
    It may be true 1,200 years ago, but today it is more a drag on modernization, equality of sexes, and true human rights.

    I don’t know what is “true human rights.” While I personally do subscribe to equality of sexes, I also believe that that is a figment of our imagination. The sexes are fundamentally unequal. We can try to make it equal in terms of power, workplace representation, pay, whatever, but we have to actively do something to keep that … and that incurs costs (daycare, abortion, maternity leave, a bunch of laws, etc., etc.). I don’t necessarily think that societies that choose to keep the sexes unequal in the workplace is necessarily backward, or not “equal” per se. We haven’t seen a society that has done that well, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

    The rise of China have proven many things people thought were universal but that ain’t. The rise (hypothetically) yet again of Islamic civilization might prove something similar.

    As for “true human rights,” I leave my mind open-ended. I don’t believe in the “rights” framework to look at things any ways. I believe in looking at people’s conditions. The only “right” I thought I believe in is the “right not to be enslaved.” That is a corollary to “rights to be equal” … but as many know, that can mean many different things to different people … under different circumstances (activists of the 99% movement think we are all modern slaves).

    So in the end, I don’t even subscribe to that way of framing things…

    It maybe politically incorrect in standing with Bill Maher and Sam Harris in attacking Islam and be labelled as Islamophobia, and I recognize that China probably would stand with your position as to avoid controversy, but we have to examine the facts as it is, not inanities and ideals not supported by reality. There are close to 1.5 billion Muslims, and a large majority believe in Sharia laws and literal interpretation of Quran. There are apostates in Saudi Arabia awaiting execution for trying to leave Islam, I am sure you do believe in freedom of religion.

    First, even regarding literal interpretation, there are different schools. And I contend, the fact that we need an “interpretation,” albeit “literal” one – means that we are adding things in to reading that we bring from outside the Quran. That is we are bringing other political thoughts… So whatever the “result” of that “literal interpretation” is not necessarily Islam.

    [In law, we in the U.S. fiercely debate all the time about “literal” vs. other interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. Problem is that there is no one definition of “literal”: even within the “literal” paradigm, there are controversies and differences. If things so difficult in interpreting “law,” over a document a mere 200+ years ago, the differences in “religion” will inevitably be so much more difficult.]

    Second, I don’t think Sharia law is necessarily bad. Most are pretty decent I believe. We do hear about the “bad” things – such as you what you mention, execution if you want to abandon Islam. But there are differences even among Islamic scholars about what punishment apostasy justifies under Sharia Law. Few believe that Sharia standards for Muslims should be categorically imposed on non-Muslims, with many believing that Muslims who choose to abandon cannot be punished once they are non-Muslims. Sure I am sure you can find those who want to impose Sharia law on non-Muslims too, but I take that to be a particular interpretation, not an inherent part of Islam. [I know about verses of Quoran about nonbelievers, but many other traditions, including Christian and Buddhist, also dish out pretty draconian punishments to non-believers, but we don’t see that as intrinsically Christian and Buddhist]

    As for freedom of religion, sure I believe in it. But let’s not get too carried away what “freedom” means.

    You know with Bowe Bergdahl coming home to face court martial, he is punished too for wanting to leave his post. Freedom exist only when you don’t have responsibilities… Thus, we think we have freedom of speech, but there are many things that can get you in trouble if you are deemed a danger to society. These days it involves terrorism…

    What’s my point?

    Modern nations (West and Japan) has been in a great position of strength. People flock to them. So they can pander about “freedom” this and “freedom” that. But all those freedom will become a lot less when they are threatened and invaded all over like the Muslim countries have been invaded and manipulated the last few centuries.

    Let’s talk about why so some Muslims want to apply death penalty to those who openly abandon and defy Islam. Over the last few centuries, what we consider to be Islamic civilization has been under attack and greatly weakened by the West. People have few things to hold onto except Islam. Just as Chinese dignity became a rallying cry to Chinese to band together and hold onto during the darkest days of the nation, when Japanese forces roamed the nation, so too Islam has become a political rallying cry for many Islamic societies. When people in Muslim nations reject Islam, many see them reject for political reasons. They openly renounce Muslim to make a political point – to subvert that society – to say we don’t stand with the Muslim way of life, of the narrative of Muslims needing to stand together, of the Muslim societies being under attack.

    It’s difficult for me to say this, because things are complicated, and it is political, but assuming what I say is true, what do you think then of “freedom of religion”? Are we really talking about Jihadists shoving Islam down the throats of non-believers? Or something else?

    People in the rich countries might think that terrorism is the worst thing that happens since the dawn of civilization. But to societies that are politically, economically, militarily under attack (with many governments of Islamic countries supported by the West as Western “puppets”) – lack of cohesion and of faith in this darkest hours may be the worst thing ….

    There are states in Indonesia where Sharia laws are practiced, women are bound with beekeeper suit as Maher would say. Have you watched the documentary “Death of a Princess”, who was executed in believe love, not to mention thousands killed every year in honor killings in Pakistan, and I can add female genital mutilations and on and on. Freedom of religion does not mean we have to accept medieval practices as sacrosanct, just as we no longer accept cannibalism as right of primitive cultures to exercise their cultural norm. You may say ISIS is a minority, but the truth is until Islam has her own reformation and accept modernity, it will as Marx said an opium of the people.

    Again I don’t think these are representative of Islam. It may be representative of Islamic societies in decline, but if you can theoretically imagine a weak and dilapidated Chinese or American society, too, I am sure you can imagine a bunch of degenerative practices too, based around Western and Christian “values” or Chinese “values” as well. These days do not represent the height of Islamic civilization. I don’t argue that. But we should not attribute the degenerative practices of today to Islam per se.

  6. I think in Chinese nomenclature, it is to become less superstitious and more pragmatic. Or in terms of politics, less ideological and more scientific (or rational).

    I agree with you to the extent that all great traditions face the problem of being overwhelmed by the successes of the past.

    In truth, all societies need to regenerate. Living tissues regenerate all the time (according to this article we lose some 40,000 skin cells per hour; according to this, stomachache lining cells regenerate every few days, skin cells regenerate every few weeks, liver dells every few months, and bones a decade or so; some cells like brain cells do not appear to regenerate much though…). To be dynamic and healthy, so must, society … but umm within limits (don’t want to swap your brain cells and lose your identity! 😉 ) …

  7. Here’s my problem with this logic. Basically, if someone chose to respect a value he imposes or can disregard any value he disagrees with. What do you call this attitude? So is it the aborigines faults that they were decimated in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand etc. It is obvious they “chose” to resist modernization and “prefer” to hold on to their traditional values.

    I am very apprehensive of this so-called universal modern value, as to me it is simply a pretext for domination. Unless, one become a stake holder for the so-called “backward” civilization, he shouldn’t be intervening. Also, I doubt Islam will be the loser in this current “clash of civilization”. It is a belief that frowned on gambling, prostitution, alcohol consumption, loan sharking, promiscuous relationship and bend on creating a social justice under divine rule.

    I am not trying to attack you but rather want you to see what Islam is rather then some so-called Muslims did badly before our eyes. Do we see the positives in Islam the religion? You said you don’t belittle Islam at its height but should we belittle it at its low, which it is now. I will say something that will offend a lot of people, if the Chinese can revive its civilization, then anybody should be able to do it.

  8. Ray,
    You raised an interesting point. I do not attribute blame on the victims of the Capitalism. For the Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, or New Zealanders. and certainly you can count the billions of Muslims in third world countries in the same category. I do not casually dismiss them as collateral damages of modernization. If I am in their shoes as ISIS, I would probably feel the same way as them, with families killed by drones, and culture decimated, for China did endure similar fate the hundred years after Opium Wars, xenophobia amply expressed in Boxer’s Rebellion, for they slaughter Chinese Christians as followers of devil. The point I am trying to make is that way is a dead end. You might feel temporary exultation as I am sure 9/11 hijackers felt before they died, but that didn’t really change anything. For Islamic civilization to revive they need to embrace modernity. They need someone like Mao to change Islamic society as Mao did to China. China did pay a high price for the break from feudalism, but look at China today and the continuing transformation under Xi which we can all feel proud of.

  9. ” I doubt Islam will be the loser in this current “clash of civilization”. It is a belief that frowned on gambling, prostitution, alcohol consumption, loan sharking, promiscuous relationship and bend on creating a social justice under divine rule.”

    As a Maoist myself, those things you quoted make a comeback in China which I find also painful. Yet this is a transition can’t be avoided. Morality has to be gradually evolved and reinforced. Mao tried to change human nature in one step by his charisma and failed, and divine laws by Quran will also fail.

  10. Mr.Cheung
    I know you meant well. However, I am of the opinion that injustice happens because of disparity in power, and power centres do shift over time. That’s why I want to raise the point that China was in the same shoes around a hundred years ago, and the road to “modernization” is still lined with hindrance. Should modernization equals Westernization or Europeanization? The biggest misgiving I have with European powers, is that they will only accept any civilization the has the same general characteristics as them.

    It is very easy to blame the victims for failure to modernize. However, in many instances the stake is much higher than modernization. Many civilization couldn’t even survive the onslaught of European encroachment. Whenever you hear Tibet or Xingjiang in the news, it is always about Han Chinese attempt to invade or eradicate their cultures, languages, religions etc. Never once, is modernization ever mentioned.

    Ultimately, I don’t see a clash of civilization. I only see conflict or inter wind of interest. The US and Europe (the so-called champion of universal human rights) have no trouble dealing with absolute monarchies or military dictatorships of the Arab states. However, they have issues when dealing with a democratic Russia, and the largest democracy in the Middle East, Iran. They also have issues dealing with the country that have reduced poverty from ninety percent to ten percent, China. Their mainstream presses are filled with articles belittling or mocking those countries and their leadership. And should we admire them because they have the highest standard of living? One should note that on the flip side, these countries are the one who have the highest pollution per capita. Europe’s standard of living would not be sustainable as they have to import 2/3 of the resources from the so-called under developed and poor countries.

    And what about European offshoots in the Americas or Oceania? Are their modus operandi example mankind should emulate? Of course, this is the reality of the world we live in now. As an eternal realist, I always say we should learn from them, not only their achievement but also their mistakes. The Western powers are pretty much blind in respecting civilization that is on the surface different from them. They always see the differences first instead of the similarity. Fundamentally, every human wants the same thing, a dignified life. Many Muslims find that in Islam. Unless, the Western powers can respect that, we will see more conflict.

    As to whether which civilization will have the upper hand, it will be another subject matter worthy of many books. I simply based my observation on the fact that 1/10 of Europe is now Islam, and it is also the fastest growing religion in the world now.

  11. “Again I don’t think these are representative of Islam.”

    Allen / Ray,

    Muslim talk about ‘din’ or ‘deen’, their way of life, and unlike Christian and we Chinese, both are pretty secular, however Muslim is not. Thus many thing they did is to follow the Quran, and some, Hadith. I don’t think Muslim would agree with you what they did are not part of Islam teaching. The problem is I notice the so called moderate Muslim are few, and their interpretation rarely gain acceptance by the majority, whose prefer the lecture from ulama, which are more or less learn Islam from the same location ie Middle East.

    I cite one example, many intellectual argue that there is freedom to convert in Islam by referring to Quran, but I rarely see they said this in public, or disclose their identity. I think both you underestimate the restriction and mind control in Islam. And I think Xinjiang will become a killing field if CCP fail to secularise the Muslim there.

  12. @Rhan

    Even assuming your observation about what’s majority and minority is right, I don’t think it’s easy to separate what is political and religious so clearly at any moment in time…

    I know when I was in college, I did some research into religious philosophy as well as religion in America (U.S.). It was kind of socking to learn how in just a few decades the focus, tenor, and may I say “ideology” of Christianity in America – especially those branches that take on political tenors – can change so much.

    A google search now took me to this article http://www.virtueonline.org/how-american-evangelical-christianity-has-changed-during-my-lifetime, and it sort of resonates how I feel.

    The funny thing about religion if that for most people, if you just read the old texts, they become either stale, or horrible (with all the crazy killing and judgements), you need people to interpret. That’s why people need the rabbis, popes, priests, imams, monks, lamas, etc. to teach the religion.

    At any given point in time, if you look through history, what they teach change in so many ways to reflect society.

    The political currents of the Islamic world today should not define the religion of Islam.

    I readily concede here – as well as in the article – that what is Islam may not be clear at any given moment in time, even if you ask Muslims themselves. It has to come from an appreciation of history and politics and how politics and define religion – all religions … actually all ideologies (including liberty, democracy, etc.) as well. It may even be revisionist in some ways … as all history and ideology is in some ways also…

    That’s the point I was trying to bring out in the article.

  13. @N.M.Cheung

    I recognize that China probably would stand with your position as to avoid controversy, but we have to examine the facts as it is, not inanities and ideals not supported by reality.

    So you are right, China is officially taking the position you guessed:

    Per this Xinhua article about Xi’s trip to the Middle East:

    The Chinese leader concluded in the remarks that dialogues and development are the key factors that can help bring peace and stability back in this part of the world.

    Xi also believed that turmoil in the Middle East stems from the lack of development, while the ultimate solution will depend on development, saying that only when young people are able to live a fulfilled life with dignity can hope prevail in their heart. Only then will they voluntarily reject violence, extremist ideologies and terrorism.

    [T]he Chinese president introduced a host of fresh moves including loans, financial aid and common investment fund to help improve livelihood, fight terrorism and promote development in the Arab world.

    Beijing also wants to promote the industrialization in the Middle East. To achieve that end, China is going to hand out a number of loan programs….

    The Chinese leader also said his country will neither look for proxies nor try to fill any “vacuum” in the Middle East, adding that Beijing has no intention of building any sphere of influence in the region.

    “Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace talks; instead of seeking any sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road Initiative; instead of attempting to fill the ‘vacuum’, we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes,” he said.

    Xi promised that China will not link terrorism with any specific ethnic group or religion, as doing so will only create ethnic and religious tensions, adding that there should be no double standards in battling terrorism.

    Also, he said the Middle East is the meeting place of ancient human civilizations and home to diverse and splendid cultures. China will continue to unswervingly support Middle East and Arab states in preserving their ethnic and cultural traditions, and oppose all forms of discrimination and prejudice against specific ethnic group and religion.

  14. @Allen

    Forgot to mention: I hope Turkey takes note. Rather than using culture and tradition as a tool to expand political extremism in foreign soils, I hope they adopt China’s strategy of being inclusive rather than divisive.

  15. @Allen

    I agree.

    China’s cultural strength does not come from any 1 particular cultural trait, but rather China’s dynastic revolutions historically allowed various groups of Chinese to influence each other and learn from each other.

    Only the best emerge to take the political reign, until the next best new group emerges.

    We recognize that we must change, and that we must make the changes our own. If we do not change, then the world will simply leave us behind. If we take changes blindly from others, then the changes are not truly our own, and we gain nothing from them.

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