I have long maintained that those who identify themselves as moderate Muslims must resolutely attempt to convince Muslims that the theology and ideology of jihad is wrong, or their moderate statements are essentially useless -- and that jihadists will always be able to quote Qur'an and Sunnah against them. Jihadists, as I have often said, view the aggregate of moderate Muslims simply as a recruiting ground. I have also often noted here that support among Muslims for moderate Muslim groups such as Free Muslims seems to be notably slight. This is because, as I have said again and again, there are moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate. But the mainstream media, left and right, has persistently ignored this, even though the facts abundantly attest to its truth. Now Salim Mansur in the London Free Press (thanks to Nicolei) tells these truths again:
Since at least Sept. 11, 2001, the non-Muslim world at large has been waiting for that segment of the Muslim population designated as "moderate" to resolutely denounce terrorists who, in defiling its faith-tradition, have subverted Islam into a cult of death.
The expectation there is a large, identifiable segment of "moderate" Muslims is a transposition to the Muslim world of the idea of "moderation" in politics and religion that sustains democracies.
It is also a natural expectation that the sort of extremism associated with "jihadi" (war-mongering) politics of Muslim terrorism and suicide bombings would generate a counter-offensive by "moderate" Muslims, repudiating such violence and isolating extremists politically and socially, while supporting the global war on terror.
But this has not happened. On the contrary, as atrocities mount, Muslims generally have remained -- their private anguish aside --publicly complacent, and their religious leaders divided on what should be the proper Islamic response.
There has been no spontaneous or organized demonstration of Muslims across the Arab-Muslim world, nor in European or North American cities where Muslims reside in increasing numbers, in support of victims of such terror and in unqualified condemnation of extremists who exploit Islam for their criminal purposes.
Dissension among Muslim religious leaders on whether to condemn terrorism and suicide bombings -- and the absence of any effort by the Muslim majority to express its disgust with extremism -- invariably lead to questioning the nature of Islam by non-Muslims.
Instead of witnessing "moderate" Muslims resolutely taking back their faith-tradition from extremists and murderers, the world has grown numb to endless apologetics and polemics explaining away "jihadi" politics as a misguided, though inexcusable, response to the wrongs inflicted upon Muslims by the West.
The truth is there does not exist an identifiable body of Muslims, substantive in number or an outright majority, who could be described as "moderate" by their repudiation of Muslim extremists.
Violence has been an integral part of Muslim history, irrespective of whether it is sanctioned by Islam, and Muslims who unhesitatingly use violence to advance their political ambitions have created a climate within their faith-culture that any Muslim who questions such practice is then deemed apostate and subject to harm.
Consequently, what might pass for "moderate" Muslims, the large number of Muslims unaccounted for as to what they think, in practical terms constitute a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary.
Moreover, since there is little experience of democracy within the Arab-Muslim world, the culture of "moderation" remains practically non-existent.
Though the example of Saudi Arabia -- where "mutawwa," or religious police, herd Muslims to their daily religious obligations -- might be considered untypical, it provides the model of authoritarian practice of faith and politics in Muslim societies where dissent is frowned upon and where opposition runs the risk of being branded as seditious.
Read it all.