Clifford D. May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies writes that the reason we don’t hear from moderate Muslims is they are intimidated by radicals. We at Jihad Watch maintain another reason moderates are scarcely heard is that they don’t have a theological leg to stand on in refuting mainstream Islamic doctrine. Undoubtedly, both factors are involved, but we think it would be a great folly for the western world to depend on these unknown numbers of moderates as a matter of policy because of the inherent weakness of their position.
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev addressed a closed session of the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party. For nearly four hours, he spoke about the unspeakable: the crimes of his predecessor, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Though listeners were warned not to reveal what was said, and the speech would not be published for 32 years, word leaked out. The most widely told story, probably apocryphal, had it that as Khrushchev was detailing the mass arrests, torture and executions carried out within the Gulag, someone in the audience shouted: “And what were you doing then?”
“Who said that?” Khrushchev demanded. No one made a sound. “I want to know who said that!” he repeated, slamming a fist on the lectern. The audience was silent, trembling in fear. “That’s right,” Khrushchev said finally. “That’s exactly what I was doing.”
I am reminded of this story not only because this year is the 50th anniversary of Khrushchev’s “secret speech,” but also because it may provide at least a partial answer to the question: Where are all the Muslim moderates? Where are those who oppose terrorism, religious wars, hatred and intolerance? Where are those who think it crazy to attempt to recreate the 8th century in the 21st century? Where are those who want not to destroy the Free World but to join it?
They are out there, I suspect; in larger numbers than we might be led to believe. But if most are silent and fearful of speaking out, can you blame them? The vast majority of Arabs and Muslims live in countries ruled by illiberal and oppressive regimes. And in the few relatively free countries — Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia — there is no protection from the long arm of Militant Islamism. Indeed, even in Europe it can be dangerous to challenge religious fascism. And last year, Shaker Elsayed, leader of Dar al-Hijrah, one of the largest mosques in the U.S., told American Muslims: “The call to reform Islam is an alien call.”…