In an email exchange last night, Dinesh D’Souza asked me, “…by ‘cultural Muslims’ do you mean people who are born Muslim but don’t practice Islam. ‘The only good Muslim is a non-Muslim.'”
Of course that is not what I mean at all. So, just in case anyone is confused about this, I thought it might be helpful to post here my reply to him — which contains nothing I haven’t said many times before:
In reality, as I explained to you on the Lores show, for a variety of reasons the jihad ideology was deemphasized, particularly in Central & Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Eastern Europe for several centuries. Muslims lived devout lives with no emphasis on it. Were they not practicing Islam? Of course they were practicing Islam. But these teachings were not part of that practice at that time. Unfortunately, however, they were never formally rejected, and are being reasserted today by jihad recruiters who quote Qur’an, Sunnah, and fiqh in order to support their positions.
That’s why I call on peaceful Muslims to confront these aspects of Islam, and formulate new ways to understand these texts, so as to blunt the force of the jihadist recruitment. But this cannot be done without actually examining what the texts actually say — which very thing you claim will make Muslims who abhor jihad violence decide that jihad violence is a-ok. A position that is, of course, risible.