Where are the moderate Muslims? By “moderate” I mean the Muslims who don’t wish to live under barbaric Sharia (Islamic) law, the Muslims who don’t believe in the subjugation and dehumanization of women, the Muslims who might disagree with someone who criticizes their religion, but none the less respects that person’s right to do so without fear of reprisal.
Pretty much all the news we hear about Muslims these days deal with human rights atrocities, be it another suicide bombing in a crowded cafe, the execution of a young couple seeking to elope, the whipping of a 74 year old woman for having bread delivered by an unrelated male, the refusal of a divorce for an 8 year old girl from her 47 year old husband, or another stoning, just to name a few things that have actually happened within the past few weeks.
When I bring up these stories, people often tell me “Oh, relax, those are just the extremists, Islam is a religion of peace and love!” Really? I can’t tell you how fuming angry I get when I hear this. If those are just the “extremists”, the “radical minority” then where the hell are the moderates decrying them!?!?!?!?!?!
No, I strongly disagree. I feel as if those extremists are the majority. It sure as hell seems like it. The moderate Muslims we actually hear from are so few in number it is ridiculous. Have you ever heard of the theory of Tacit Consent? For example, if you are a slave, and you do not attempt to gain your freedom by whatever means possible, you are tacitly consenting to being a slave. Unless you make your disagreement to something know, you tacitly consent to it. This is what the moderate majority of Muslims are doing. By not being vocal in their disdain for what the extremists are doing in the name of their religion, they are tacitly consenting to those extremists.
In that case it doesn’t really matter what the moderates say Islam is. They have effectively lost control over their own religion. A religion’s tenants are defined by the beliefs of the majority of observers. If that majority is silent to the corruption of those tenants by a fundamentalist minority, that minority effectively has control over the religion. Of course the moderates will say “Well no true Muslim believes X” but by this point they have become a small and irrelevant sect.
What also drives me up the wall is how willfully blind people are to the threat these extremists pose to our freedoms in the West. Now I’m expecting that some readers will sigh and roll their eyes at this point, and pass me off as some crazy neo-con racist or Islamaphobe, but hear me out. First off, race has nothing to do with it. “Racist” and “Islamaphobe” are just buzz words that people use to shut down and dismiss an argument without actually addressing it.
Also, I’m not against multiculturalism, which is another buzz word usually thrown at me in an effort to dismiss me. No, multiculturalism is wonderful in the broader understandings and experiences it offers people, but what’s going on with radical Islam is not multiculturalism, it’s cultural rape. One medieval and barbaric “culture” is moving into European democracies and demanding that those cultures submit. (Islam literally translates into submission) If those cultures do not submit to Islam, the fundamentalists will use violence, or the threat of it, to force their submission.
The Danish cartoon controversy is a perfect example. The cartoonists published cartoons, for which they have an inalienable human right to do, in their own country, (which is indisputable whether you feel they should have published or not) and it pushed the fundamentalists to riot. Thousands of these “minority” [sarcasm] fundamentalists rioted all over the world. In the end over 130+ people were killed because this extremist culture could not tolerate the core Western value of Freedom of Speech.
A major problem for those who say that radical Islam is only a minority is that that “minority” controls the governments of a large block of countries. Most notably the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC. (For the full list of the 57 member states of the OIC, and their abysmal Human Development Index rankings see my other blog post on it) The OIC recently is attempting to push a binding “anti-blasphemy” [read as "anti-criticizing Islam"] measure through the United Nations. (I have another blog post on this and how the passing of the non-binding version is a human rights disaster)
These fundamentalists are making real world gains people! Get you heads out of the sand! Just look around you and see where draconian Sharia law is spreading! It has gained a foothold in the U.K., and the fundamentalists are fighting hard to implement it in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Canada of all places! Even if they haven’t yet succeeded in fully establishing Sharia in Europe (and trust me, they’re trying their damnedest), they have succeeded in making criticizing Islam very dangerous.
Just as recently as April 25th, in Finland of all places, Jussi Halla-aho was charged with blapshemy against Islam! Also! In Germany, in 2006 Manfred van H. (name not published) was sentenced to 1 year in prison, 5 years probation, and 300 community service hours for insulting the Koran. Other people around Europe are getting into legal trouble for criticism of Islam. The danger is not just legal, it’s mortal. It’s no secret that there is an army of fanatics ready to kill anyone who insults them at the drop of a hat. Again, the Danish cartoons are a perfect example. So is the murder of Theo van Gogh, and the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The ironic thing is, in reacting violently the extremists vindicated and justified the vary cartoons they were rioting over.
Another thing to watch out for. Pakistan. This country is a tinderbox. I should mention that this country also holds that the only punishment for blasphemy is death, as stated in Sharia law. Just this week, the Taliban invaded that country and captured a city with a million residents, only 70 miles from the capital. In invading they stated that democracy was “un-Islamic”. They have since retreated after signing a deal with Pakistan to let them control the Swat valley and implement harsh Sharia law. This is a country with nuclear missiles on the verge of collapse. If the government does go under (which is a very real possibility) then we will have an Islamic extremist state with nuclear weapons.
So where are the moderate Muslims? They exist, but are being extremely quiet. That’s unfortunate given the state of the world, but you can easily see why they are afraid to speak out. The ones who do are courageous, people like Azar Nafisi (Johns Hopkins), Ahmed al-Rahim (formerly of Harvard), Kemal Silay (Indiana), and Bassam Tibi (Göttingen), Ahmed Subhy Mansour and Muhammad Hisham Kabbani. There are also some organizations like the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, and Muslims Against Sharia.
These few groups need to raise hell. They need to make more noise than the extremists who are hijacking their religion. If they don’t then they will forever lose any chance of taking back their faith from the barbarians. They need to encourage other Muslims to speak out as well, to break their tacit consent. This is a large task, and an even larger problem that many people strangely seem ignorant of. Because of this, the moderates need all the help they can get in spreading the word. This is not something we can afford to fail at. The stakes are just too great.