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Expecting too much

Reader comment on item: "You can't fight Islamism with ideas coming out of Europe"
in response to reader comment: Pipes vs Wilders

Submitted by Erich W (United States), Dec 9, 2010 at 13:09

Thanks Gershom. If most moderate Muslims, or if all moderate Muslims, are actually Muslims who do not take their Islam very seriously (like your students); or if they transform their Islam by some kind of watering down process, then we may be expecting too much from them. They may be a majority, but they will be forced to admit that their Islam is less rooted in the sacred texts, jurisprudence and historical mission of their religion than the Islam of the Islamists. The Islamists then (from this point of view) have intellectual and moral authority, as well as a willingness to intimidate and enforce their vision. The moderates, on the other hand, remain in these matters, a passive and hapless mass. This is an over-simplification, and I hope for great exceptions to this scenario.

On the other hand, we should guard ourselves against demanding and expecting too much from "moderates" in a project like reforming Islam. Moderates are more likely to carve out for themselves secular realms of activity in which they are not bothered by Islamic demands. This is not a reform of Islam per se. As for host countries setting up legal frameworks in which moderates can pursue the reform of Islam, I would fear the inevitable infiltration by Islamist elements into any such institutional frameworks, as I understand happened in France when the Government set up some kind of councils for relationships between Muslims and the Republic. You are absolutely right that both Muslims and the rest of us need firm, closely enforced legal protection from all intimidation and manipulation by Islamists. That is fundamental to freedom.

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