I have received much criticism for my own criticism of moderate Muslims. Some have even declared that I am helping jihad terrorists by undermining these moderates. But that is not in fact the case. I simply believe that bland protestations that Islam is a religion of peace are not even close to enough: moderate Muslims must confront and work to eliminate the jihad ideology from among Muslims. Those who formulate explanations of peaceful Islam for Western non-Muslim consumption, but with loopholes so huge that no jihadist will be convinced to lay down his arms, are doing nothing to confront the real problem within Islam. Their sincerity also must be called into question, in light of Qur’an 3:28 and 16:106.
But I just received yet another email suggesting I’m too tough on moderates, echoing language I have heard from several leading “conservatives.” My responses are interspersed below:
Does continually drawing attention to Islam’s darker potential do anything to encourage moderate Muslims to feel they have something in common with non-Muslims concerned about extremism?
Yes. Instead of undercutting genuine moderate Muslims by denying that there is anything in Islam that they need reform, such an approach supports anyone who is actually making any real effort to bring about genuine change within Islam by showing that such change is actually needed — and that Muslims .must formulate a theoretical and theological basis for lasting peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims, since such a basis does not exist within traditional Islamic theology.
Perhaps it would be wiser to emphasize what would help to form a united front against extremism, one that includes decent Muslims with rational and humane values?
I am all for forming a united front with decent Muslims who hold rational and humane values. I do not think that ignoring or denying the elements of Islam that give rise to violence and terror will help do this — particularly in light of the well-established fact that many self-proclaimed moderate Muslims are actually practicing the deception of the enemy that the Muslim prophet Muhammad called for during wartime.