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Is There Such A Thing As A "Moderate Muslim"?
Or is it the equivalent of a "lapsed Catholic"? Here's a press release from the Ayn Rand Institute:

The continued attacks by Islamic terrorists against the West--most recently, the horrific suicide bombings in London--have led many to ask, what is the motivation of the terrorists?

The answer, according to Dr. Edwin Locke, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute, "is not poverty or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as Tony Blair, George Bush and the other leaders of the G8 contend in showering aid on Africa and Palestine--but the motive the terrorists openly proclaim: their religion. If we want to identify the fundamental cause of the terrorists' actions, we must understand at least two fundamental premises of the religion they kill for.

"First, Islam, like all religions, rejects reason as a means of gaining knowledge and guiding action. The individual is not supposed to think independently but to selflessly subordinate himself to the dictates of his religion and its theocratic representatives.

"Second, as with any religion that seeks subjects and converts, a derivative tenet of Islam is that it should be imposed by force (you can't persuade someone of the non-rational). The Koran is replete with calls to take up arms in its name.

"These ideas easily lead to fanaticism and terrorism. The terrorists are not 'un-Islamic' bandits who have 'hijacked a great religion'; they are consistent and serious followers of their religion.

"And our inability or unwillingness to grasp this fact has dire consequences.

"Our soldiers die daily in Iraq in an attempt to win over "moderates" in the Middle East. But such a strategy cannot work, since insofar as these "moderates" accept Islam, they cannot convincingly oppose violence in its name. And all the while, we leave untouched the main source of the enemy's ideology and the greatest threat against us: Iran."

Irshad Manji, author of The Trouble With Islam Today, is honest about the role of Islam in terrorism, writing in the LA Times:

Even now, the Muslim Council of Britain adamantly insists that Islam has nothing to do with the London attacks. It cites other motives — "segregation" and "alienation," for instance. Although I don't deny that living on the margins can make a vulnerable lad gravitate to radical messages of instant belonging, it takes more than that to make him detonate himself and innocent others. To blow yourself up, you need conviction. Secular society doesn't compete well on this score. Who gets deathly passionate over tuition subsidies and a summer job?

Which is why I don't understand how moderate Muslim leaders can reject, flat-out, the notion that religion may also play a part in these bombings. What makes them so sure that Islam is an innocent bystander?

What makes them sound so sure is literalism. That's the trouble with Islam today. We Muslims, including moderates living here in the West, are routinely raised to believe that the Koran is the final and therefore perfect manifesto of God's will, untouched and immutable.

This is a supremacy complex. It's dangerous because it inhibits moderates from asking hard questions about what happens when faith becomes dogma. To avoid the discomfort, we sanitize.

And so it was, one week after the first wave of bombings. A high-profile gathering of 22 clerics and scholars at the London Cultural Center produced a statement, later echoed by a meeting of 500 Muslim leaders. It contained this line: "The Koran clearly declares that killing an innocent person [is] tantamount to killing all mankind." I wish. In fact, the full verse reads, "Whoever kills a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all humankind." Militant Muslims easily deploy the clause beginning with "except" to justify their rampages.

Posted by aalkon at July 23, 2005 6:33 AM

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