The charges have been loud and vociferous, and sometimes even outlandish. "There is no such thing as moderate Muslims", "they are dangerous sleeper cells", "they are in cahoots with the extremists and as such are themselves a ticking bomb", and my personal favorite, "they have the sudden Jihadist syndrome", or perhaps the capacity to combust, as in spontaneous human combustion.
Joseph Goebbels was right: "If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth".
After all, Goebbels was the father of modern day political disinformation, and Hitler's Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda.
Of course, many moderate Muslim organizations, scholars, and influential opinion leaders in the U.S. and throughout the West have loudly condemned terrorism and extremism in all their forms. Alas their statements are seldom repeated beyond their release dates. Furthermore, in numerous mosques around the U.S. and Europe, Khutbahs (Friday sermons) are routinely dedicated to remind worshipers that their faith is, as the Qur'an describes, the "Middle Ground Faith", and that extremism and fanaticism are nothing but aberrations to the Islamic norms and the tradition of the Prophet.
Currently, all these efforts are effectively muffled by a special interest coalition, a particular trilogy of influence that finds it in their political best interest to promote an erroneous perception about Islam and moderate Muslims- often through distortion and false accusations.
This trilogy is made of power-wielding Neocons and their cronies who, as the gatekeepers of the powers that be, would alienate moderate Muslims such as singer and peace activist Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and Professor Tariq Ramadan, bulwark any contacts between moderate organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the administration, and implicate, and thus put them out of commission, almost all Muslim relief and charitable organizations.
The second component is the evangelical Christian group commonly referred to as the "Patriot Pastors". These are super-wealthy charismatic ministers such as Rev. Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Rod Parsley who mesmerize their memberships with selective moral rectitude and provoke them with Islamophobic rhetoric.
Between these four, they referred to Islam as an "evil", "demonic", and "false religion". They referred to Muhammad as a "wild-eyed fanatic" and Muslims in general as people who committed "history's worst crimes" against humanity. Needless to say, their approach to religious understanding runs in counter-course with regard to the interfaith dialogue promoted by faith communities throughout the U.S. and Europe.
The third component is the jingoistic wing of the media who staunchly sensationalizes and routinely recycles what could only be described as Goebbelian "truth" about moderate Muslims. They insist on collective culpability on any and all wrongs committed by a Muslim. Do a quick on-line search on the phrase "moderate Muslims" and the result would be over 2 million entries. The first 10 which are the most read tell the entire story per who is constantly writing about this topic and why!
It is this trilogy's well-orchestrated, ubiquitous political harassment that rendered moderate Muslims ineffective and puts them on defensive mode- constantly looking over their shoulders and reacting to daily barrage of character assassination and outright provocation.
Only a few days ago, one such moderate Muslim, Dr. Salah Soltan, a renown scholar and a member of the North America and the European Fiqh Council, and Sunrise Academy, a Kindergarten to Seventh Grade Islamic school which this author has been sitting on its board for the past six years, were implicated with those all too familiar innuendoes as terror-promoting individual and institution. The accusatory article was written by a gentleman who claims being a "policy researcher"....and boasts to have only spent 3 hours to arrive at that conclusion.
In post 9/11 political atmosphere, unfortunately, 3 hours are more than one needs in order to destroy reputations of Muslim individuals and reputation and endanger the lives of Muslim children, especially the girls who have to walk to bus stops wearing their hijabs.
At this stage, the strategy of this trilogy has proven successful. By and large, they intimidated, frustrated, and in some case, infuriated moderate Muslims into a paralyzing, self-defeating cynicism. Especially since the mainstream media have been callous and uninterested to level the playing-field or to provide moderate Muslims the necessary forums to disseminate their middle-ground ideology.
The reality, however, is that this trilogy may be doing more harm than good. In their attempt to discredit Moderate Muslims they simply embolden the radical ones and may even push some moderates to radicalism. The Dubai Ports Deal is a prime example of how this narrow ideology was able to discredit Muslims, or in this case an entire nation. Blanket statements, fiery rhetoric, and disinformation was used to persuade the public to react out of fear.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims are moderates. Many in this majority would not only find it in their interest to engage, counsel, and correct any of their brethren who might resort into extremism and fanaticism, but will find it as their obligation.
The Prophet said "Support your brother when oppressed and he is being the oppressor". When the confused companion asked him for clarification by saying "I understand supporting my brother when he is the oppressed. How should I support him when my brother is the oppressor?" The Prophet, without any hesitation, answered: "You stop him from oppressing others".
However, as a result of the aforementioned conditions, many moderate Muslims feel that they do not have the luxury of engaging and reforming others when they themselves are targets who have to constantly dodge for cover.
Finally, reconciliation between Islam and the West is practically impossible without the spiritual and intellectual influence of the moderate Muslims - something that may never come to fruition so long as the said trilogy continues to sabotage such effort.
In recent months, some independent-minded people around the world have been indicating that they have awakened to the daunting reality that they were riding on an ideological runaway train into Armageddon. They started speaking, though less authoritatively.
Abukar Arman is a freelance writers who is also a council member of the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio
Sirius this is not a terrorism created by religious fanatism. Terrorism in ME is because the occupation and American intervention on Israel's behalf and insomuch that US interests are jeoperdized for Israel.This cannot be comprehended by the Muslims.Imagine the oposit. US being the friend of over 1 billion Muslims! Jackpot!
I appreciate your last post and accept your apology. My "nevermind" however, had nothing to do with me being offended or having my feelings hurt. Rather, was in realizing the futility of trying to have a conversation with someone whose comments were too filled with venom to make rational sense.
I understand you have oppositions to US foreign policy over the years. I too, disagree with many of their policies. If I disagree with these policies, it is my responsibility to work to change them. If you disagree with those policies then expressing your views to the American public in a persuasive way can change public opinion. American politicians are dependent and therefore sensitive to this public opinion.
Your hurling of insults and characterization of Americans as mindless, brainwashed, idiots following an evil government does harm to both your political and your religious goals by:
1) Alienating Americans such as myself who have an open enough mind to visit this website and who could actually be persuaded into being an ally, given a cogent and respectful argument.
2) Giving the true neocons enough ammunition to petrify their already firm views on Islam, Muslims in general, and the ME.
3) Giving the radical suicidal bombers enough encouragement to take that last step to blow themselves as well as any innocent bystanders into a fine red mist.
4) Promoting the "us vs. them" mentality that hardens positions and increases likelihood of conflict.
5) Nullifying your criticism of Pat Robertson and their ilk by making some of their comments tame and responsible by comparison.
6) Use of hate speech promotes hate and does nothing to further understanding.
I apologize for making assumptions about your faith; your faith is between you and your creator. It wouldn't hurt to use a paraphrase of an over used Christian phrase, "What Would the Prophet Do?"
I sense this coherence of inner ideals in you, Hudd, and that's why you get my respect. Even more so after I've found out that you've dropped using too fiery language. You've been patient with "the naughty kids" too, which clearly mounts you over them.
It wouldn't be honest from my side to deny the tremendous contribution of America to sciences, art and human development in general. But like a child USA acts irationally driven by passions and biases. My intention is not to bash USA, that would be revenge on USA's planned Islamophobic movement. I just need a sense of balance, and the balance is tilted intentionally in the disfavour of the Muslims in general. Muslims are not perfect, nobody's perfect, not even the Jews. However, today the Muslims are those that are oppressed and discriminatorily targeted. USA is the Empire and she doesn't do good. You know what happened to early empires regardless of their humanity. When they corrupted the truth they crumbled down.
Again, my intention is not to hurt your feelings but rather to awake you.
You have rightly pointed it out, Mohd's comment appears to be racist and downright fascist, exclusive of anybody who wasn't Muslim. This is not what Quran teaches. Beging your pardon, Sirius, when you refer to Muhammad the prophet, mention him as such, or if out of personal convictions you don't feel confortable with his title, I respect your right to your opinion. Anyway, you have to point him out as Muhammad we all know, otherwise there are millions of Muhammad's you could refer to if you mentioned just Muhammad. You could say, the Quranic Muhammad, or the Meccan Muhammad or something signaling the person you talk about(in case you didn't want to mention him as a prophet). Otherwise your comment is warranted and truly worth of notice. Definitely, prophet Muhammad,pbuh,didn't mean it that way therfore I will rectify Mohd's comment. In his first paragraph, Mohd is paraphrasing a passage from the Quran with possible interpretations or imputs of the local mulas. The Quran says this: "Do not take Christians and Jews as your advisors." As a flip of this statement, which Christian or Jewish entity has other than Christian or Jewish advisors? Does the Pope have a Muslim or Hindu advisor? Does Ehud Omert have Muslim advisors? Thus the idea of this passage is that one must find solutions within the faith, otherwise the faith might adultarate.
As long as I can see to the future there shall always be "US" and "THE OTHERS". I think what you suggest here is to nullify "the others". That sure is a steep slope down to serious problems. Would you really suggest something like that to muslim minorities living among "the others"? Would you like to hear something equally arrogant like "don't bother about the infidel muslims" from our side? Man, we got to listen to each others. If we don't, KABOOOOM comes close. Is that your goal? The consept of chosen people is hot stuff. For many people it gives rise to baseless hybris and arrogance. Even I can see that Muhammad sure didn't mean that.
Peace, and hopefully beyond the morn.
Let me answer your cacophonous dissertation for a change:
You are coward, Bruce, you don't need to admit it to me, you know it. If you were brave you would stand up for the truth even though it heart your interests. From my comments you realize that I'm not afraid of either US or Canadian governments, I don't value them as much as didly squat, especially this Conservative Canadian government with this idiot as prime minister. H.A. is not another of my pseudonims, dude, I always use Hudd, therefore you might have seen: Hudd d'Alhamd, Hudd d'Aelia, Hudd d'Alaxa. Your incoherent speculations and less than intelligent asumptions don't make you a gentleman either, pal.
Leave bigotry out of it or I'll be forced to really prove to you who was the bigot. It goes without saying, US and the West is an ugly gang of selfish bastards that rule the world and take advantage over the weaker. I'm ashamed to be a Westerner and deplore humanity for allowing us to do to others what we wouldn't want them to do to us. Since everything in our Western culture is despicable, I adopt all cultures out there in the open.
Now they are pushing for a war with Iran on behalf of Israel. Eerily reminicient of the Iraqi invasion...wake up people!!!
My comment was about you but not directed at you. This was not because I was being cowardly, as I have had open discussions with you in the past and am now, but was addressing "moderate Muslims" who tacitly agree with your postings by their silence. I assume that H.A. from Yathrib is one of your pseudonyms since H.A.'s comments are very similar to yours in style and content without your trace of tact and restraint. If this is true and even if it is not (and I apologize) it would seem more appropriate if someone else would decide whether we are gentlemen or not.
My disagreement with you is not in your content, as you have a right to your opinion, but more your willingness to lump all westerners (does this include you? Me? How do you know?) into a big pool of ugliness to hate. Why would you assume that I think that the only good Muslim is a dead one? Is this something you deduced from my postings or is this a product of your own bigotry?
What do I know about Islam? - Probably more than the suicide bombers. Enough to know that there are things that I can learn from the Muslim faithful. Enough to know that the Prophet would not have written some of the posts you have written. Enough to know that your faith has not put you at peace with yourself.
(giver of respect) and WALLAHI the SHAHEEDs are resting under ALLAHs THRONE and that is the real respect. And verily the muqarraboon (persons very close to ALLAH) are very few, while "the overwhelming majority of Muslims are moderates".
I lambaste those offering alternative views of the world? I lambaste those that advocate oppression of the Muslims and the anihilation of the Islamic Umah! I lambaste those that try to justify the illegal and vicious war in Iraq.
Native americans tried and failed and still choose life of iolation and poverty in many usa reservations.
African americans choose not to trust govt. / whiteman etc and stay oin their neighbourhoods. which wee originally made for slavery.
mexicans in southern states still hate white americans.
american muslims you are just newst member in the club.
everyone knows waz goin on.
no worries its a way of life in usa.
By the way Cat Stevens has supposedly funded Hamas, so that doesn't make him a moderate in the eyes of the West. Same goes for Soltan, and Ramadan neither are moderates.
If the author thinks these people are moderates he has proven that there is no possible dialogue.
As moderates I would suggest Irshad Manji or Salman Rushdie. With these two individuals change is indeed possible.
CAIR, well with the news that just came out, we all know now the true nature of this beast. In 2003 Senator Charles Schumer said "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism".
Moderate Muslims should start a new association that is free of ties with terrorism.
This article says more about the grovelling and slave minded nature of western-defined "moderate" Muslims than it does about those who are allegedly stereotyping them. For nowhere in the article is the definition of a "moderate" v. "extremist" made clear nor of where the dividing line is.
I believe it was Malcolm X who once said that the
"the only way a so-called 'moderate' makes any progress is due to the efforts of an extremist"
He said this in regards to King and his associates in the so-called "civil rights" organizations.
secondly, a simple reading of the following ayah should suffice:
"O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin:
Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if you have wisdom."
[Surah Al-E-Imran:v.118 (translation Abdullah Yusuf Ali)]
In the Quran, Allah s.w.t described human into four categories: mukmin, muslim, munafiq and musyriqin. The highest esteem is the mukmin and all commandments and promises of Allah s.w.t are for the mukmins. Yes, there is no such thing as moderate muslims. We are either a mukmin, a muslim, a munafiq or a musyriqin.
Those are from Allah s.w.t. Must we question Allah s.w.t?
All good deeds of many are nullified by the (mis) deeds of a few (or of even one single person or event).
So, rather than complaining, control the actions of the people, if you want to have any understanding among others.
Actions speak louder than words. And that is the way life is.
I have been reading Hudd's (and others) comments on this website for more than a year and have watched him lambaste those who present alternatives to his view of the world. I keep waiting for the moderate Muslims to offer some advice to help him with his distorted faith. By letting these comments stand, one can assume a) that most agree with him, or b) most are afraid to confront and/or counsel him. Neither position promotes the moderate cause.
By placing the blame on external factors, the author can sit back and rail against the west instead of taking responsibility for things over which he has control.