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Are there any moderate Muslims? January 11, 2011

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Language, Politics, Religion.

Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the so-called Ground Zero mosque, tells Newsweek what he’s learned from the events of the summer:

the real battlefront is not between the West and the Muslim world. It’s between the moderates of all faith traditions and the extremists or radicals — and I include in that the agnostic and atheist community. The radicals are unwitting partners. They fuel each other.

Rauf says that unless we amplify the voice of moderates (like him),

We will go down the route of bin Laden and the pastor [in Florida who threatened to burn the Quran] and insulting cartoons. And we just can’t do that — we can’t do that anymore. We’ve got to put a stop to this insanity.

Insanity, you say? The real insanity is equating people who behead journalists and fly planes into buildings with people who merely voice their criticism, or draw cartoons, or destroy their own books.

Here’s what a moderate Muslim should sound like: “Anyone is free to criticize or ridicule Islam, the Quran, and the Prophet Muhammad, and no one should ever be harmed or threatened for doing so.”

I’m all ears.


1. Sara - January 11, 2011

But look at the media- when do good things make front pages? They don’t. Is it any surprise that when a religion has over a billion and a half followers that some are, quite frankly, crazy? And so all it takes is a handful of these ones, and it’ll be splashed all over the internet, and suddenly people are writing off all Muslims as being extremists.
One last thing- and I am NOT justifying the actions mentioned above. but are there other times when we ought to look at why people are resorting to violence, why they see it as the only option, and boy that does not make it right, but it is something that attention ought to be given to.

Ezra Resnick - January 11, 2011

Violence of the type I mentioned is not performed by “crazy” people (or poor mistreated people) who just happen to be Muslim: it is explicitly motivated and justified by Muslim doctrines regarding martyrdom, jihad, blasphemy, infidels, etc. Moderate Muslims should be the first to recognize this problem, and must publicly denounce those elements of their tradition that are incompatible with a free society. Deluding ourselves about the root of the problem will not make it go away.

2. Sam - March 14, 2011

I think this argument has some merit on the doctrinal level – a moderate muslim doctrine is a radical muslim doctrine that is not carried out.

But people do not consist merely of conscious beliefs. Lots of muslims may oppose this on a personal level, and this personal level contradicts their doctrinal one.

So there are two problems – the first, is how do you help people voice their personal thoughts versus their doctrinal ones? I am not sure that confronting the doctrinal ones is the best way.

The second one – what is more important? A man’s character, or the doctrines he holds consciously (actually this type of consciousness is caused by the doctrines society has drilled into him), or the ideas that a person has thought about by himself – but are not heard even by himself, because he disallows himself to have those?

What I mean by the latte3r paragraph is that as long as muslims are human beings, they will be moderate muslims even if doctrinally they are fundamentalists. And it is the deeper layer – what a person really is. The problem is that people might behave according to the level that is less deep in them, because islam can prohibit certain thoughts from taking place inside one’s own mind.

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