I was reading along in yesterday’s FrontPage interview with Jalil Roshandel and Sharon Chadha, coauthors of the new book Jihad and International Security, when suddenly my name came up, in connection with some important observations:
Roshandel: I would have to say that I believe that Islam is not the problem. I would also add that most Muslims that I know feel that they too are in the cross hairs of these jihadists. When we defeat these jihadists, I believe that the vast majority of Muslims will celebrate such a victory. But I also think that many Muslims live in mortal fear of the jihadists and that any silence on these matters comes from this bone-chilling fear. This is not a feeling that can be discounted as it makes speaking out virtually impossible in many parts of the world. So that is the challenge: to remove the threat from the extremists and allow Muslims themselves to salvage their religion — as it is my sense that the vast majority want to live in peace along with the rest of the world.
FP: Well the contrary perspective of this view is provided by Robert Spencer in his current New York Times Bestseller The Truth About Muhammad and in the new documentary Islam: What the West Needs to Know. But a debate on this issue belongs in another time and place.
Chadha: Actually, Jamie, I believe that the questions that people like Robert Spencer raise are not only fair but demand serious answers. And I hope that Muslims will address these legitimate concerns.
Roshandel: Indeed, I hope that Muslims take any negative criticism of Islam as an opportunity to really think about their faith and in particular how it has been used against them in so many instances — not just by the jihadists but also by rulers who use Islam to keep themselves in power, who hide behind the religion and cast any criticism of them as a criticism of Islam. This is how many of the rulers in the Islamic world effectively silence any genuine opposition. I hope that this current crisis of faith will in the end work to the benefit of Muslims. But this will only happen if such discussions take place and in the public domain.
This is not about me. I know of no place where the questions I have raised about the jihad ideology are being discussed in any thoughtful way by Muslims. If you do, please let me know.