The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Moderates - II

George W. Bush and England’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown tell us that the “vast majority” of Islam are moderates who are against Jihadism. They are probably correct. But over one billion people are Moslems and if only 1/10th of one percent are Jihadist, that means that 1 million people want to destroy the West and install a world wide caliphate. If 5 percent of Islam has Jihadist sympathies (that number is conservative by most estimates), 50 million people support Islamofascism in some way.

But let’s not dither over percentages. Irshad Manji argues that Islam’s “moderates” aren’t the people who matter.
While the vast majority of Muslims aren't extremists, a more important distinction must start being made - the distinction between moderate Muslims and reform-minded ones. Moderate Muslims denounce violence in the name of Islam - but deny that Islam has anything to do with it.

By their denial, moderates abandon the ground of theological interpretation to those with malignant intentions - effectively telling would-be terrorists that they can get away with abuses of power because mainstream Muslims won't challenge the fanatics with bold, competing interpretations.

To do so would be admit that religion is a factor. Moderate Muslims can't go there.

Reform-minded Muslims say it's time to admit that Islam's scripture and history are being exploited. They argue for re-interpretation precisely to put the would-be terrorists on notice that their monopoly is over. Re-interpreting doesn't mean re-writing. It means re-thinking words and practices that already exist - removing them from a seventh-century tribal time warp and introducing them to a twenty first-century pluralistic context.

Un-Islamic? God no. The Koran contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think, analyze, and reflect than passages that dictate what's absolutely right or wrong. In that sense, reform-minded Muslims are as authentic as moderates, and quite possibly more constructive.

Although we worry about our own security, it is Islam that is in great danger. We worry about WMDs in major Western cities (a justifiable concern) but in reality, bomb blasts in subways, shopping malls or schools, if successful and continuous will cause the West to reach a tipping point. Multiculturalism and political correctness will evaporate among those who are chartered with political leadership, and as the dark joke that circulated on the Web phrased it, we’ll begin to play Cowboys and Moslems. The end will not be pretty.

Reformist Moslems must take control and convince the moderates that it’s in their own best interest to reject Jihadism completely, without equivocation. If that doesn’t happen, moderates, as well as Jihadists, will be responsible for the darkness that is almost sure to follow.