I am frequently asked why I make a distinction between Islam and Islamism, between Muslims and Islamists – are they not, in fact the same? The short answer: I am a historian and I focus on what has happened over nearly fourteen centuries, not on scriptures. From this vantage point, there is no question that Islamism is just one way of approaching the religion and not the only one or even the dominant one.
For a fuller argument making this point, here is an ever-updated bibliography of my writings (and a video) that justify the difference:
- "Liberal Muslims: Battered but Not Mute." Newsday, May 31, 1990. A review of Muslim disagreement with the Khomeini edict on Salman Rushdie's life.
- "Islam and Islamism - Faith and Ideology." The National Interest, Spring 2000. My major analysis of this topic, giving the historical background.
- "The Evil Isn't Islam." New York Post, 30 July 2002. My basic argument that the problem is radical Islam, not Islam.
- "Islam's Future [Can Be Modern]." New York Post, 13 August 2002. Replying to my critics to the above article.
- "[The Search for Moderate Islam:] A Reply to Lawrence Auster." FrontPageMag.com, 28 January 2005. Response to a critic who claims that Islam itself is the probem.
- "Moderate Islam: Western Ally or Western Myth?" FORA.tv, 1 December 2009. An in-person hour-long video debate of Wafa Sultan and myself, moderated by James Taranto.
- "Islam vs. Islamism." The Washington Times, May 13, 2013. Restates and updates my basic argument for distinguishing between these two concepts.
- "Islam vs. Islamism." [video] Free Thinking Film Society, Ottawa, May 13, 2013. A panel with Salim Mansur and Brian Lee Crowley.
- "The Middle East Forum Debates Moderate Islam." National Review Online, March 30, 2014. A debate with Raymond Ibrahim about "completely straightforward" scriptural verses – are they really so obvious in meaning?
Some general discussions of moderate Islam:
- "[Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?" The Jerusalem Post, 26 November 2003. Questions to ask Muslims to distinguish Islamists from moderates.
- "Identifying Moderate Muslims." The New York Sun, 23 November 2004. Examples of real and faux Muslim moderates.
- "Western Governments Define the Moderate Muslim." DanielPipes.org, 3 September 2005. A critique of official American and British efforts.
- "Finding Moderate Muslims - More Questions." DanielPipes.org, 5 October 2005. Others' questions to determine who is an Islamist and who is not, building on my questions of 26 November 2003.
- "Is Islam the Problem? Is It the Solution?" DanielPipes.org, 27 December 2005. A response to Daniel Brumberg's dismissal of moderate Muslims.
- "How to End Terrorism[: With Moderate Islam]." The New York Sun, 5 December 2006. "The most effective form of counterterrorism fights not the terrorists but the ideas that motivate them."
- "Bolstering Moderate Muslims." The New York Sun, 17 April 2007. Looks at a RAND Corporation study, Building Moderate Muslim Networks, that thinks through the challenge of helping moderate Muslims push back the Islamists.
- "A Million Moderate Muslims on the March." The New York Sun, 8 May 2007. Takes note of the large-scale demonstrations by anti-Islamists in Karachi and across five cities in Turkey..
I have written several times on the subject of moderate Islam, providing specific names of individuals and institutions. But because I try not to repeat myself, these particulars are spread in various places, so it can be hard to see the totality. Therefore, I list the different articles here: .
- "[Moderate] Voices of Islam." New York Post, 23 September 2003.
- "Moderate Muslims March in Phoenix." FrontPageMag.com, 30 April 2004.
- "Finally, Cries from the Moderate Muslim Heart." DanielPipes.org, 5 September 2004.
- "Anti-Islamists Petition the United Nations." DanielPipes.org, 30 October 2004.
- "Stephen Schwartz and the Center on Islamic Pluralism." DanielPipes.org, 25 March 2005.
- "Free Muslims March against Terror." DanielPipes.org, 31 March 2005.
- "Zuhdi Jasser and 'Monitoring Islamist Media'."
DanielPipes.org, 11 May 2006.
(December 27, 2004)