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What is Moderation?

Reader comment on item: [American Muslim Group for Policy Planning;] Another "Moderate" Muslim Group

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Dec 29, 2004 at 18:59

Moderate is as moderate does. There are Turkish-Americans who've been dismayed for years over the radical takeover of Islamic institutions, but who surely make Greek- and Armenian-Americans wince by thinking of their medieval ancestors under the heroic epithet "Ghazi".

It is wrong to suggest that only those who accept the findings of 19th century German higher criticism and those who accept the 20th century's theological relativism can be trustworthy chaplains in our armed forces. This would be very unfair to Evangelical Christians who want to convert the world to Christ (but not by force), or to orthodox Jews who would hold that Christians are misled by a false Messiah. Humorous and gentle Buddhist monks formed in the "old countries" of their varied sects (Theravada, Pure Land, Chan, Lamaism) rather than Hollywood would reveal a lot of pre-modern attitudes thoroughly offensive to feminists (if not to others) if their interviewers knew the right questions to ask.

The liberal theology that dominates the prestigious religion departments and divinity schools of our country is the same faith that would unilaterally disarm our republic and throw it wide open to every enemy--from the Communists to Osama bin Laden. It's the same mindset that would turn the Bill of Rights and the "Love Thy Neighbor" Scriptural passages into a suicide pact. It is also presiding over flocks whose average age is over fifty and climbing; and closing churches far more than it's building new ones. In present-day American Christianity, there is vigor only among the Evangelicals, but they are simply not "respectable" to the mainstream media and academia. It would be utter folly to expect Muslims who might be both fond of their own religion and cognizant of the history of their biggest rival--Christianity--to desire a "liberalization" of their religion along the lines represented by the prestigious schools.

A big part of the problem is that the foundational texts of both Judaism and Christianity include the story of the Babylonian exile and how to be the minority, singing the LORD's song in a strange land. Christianity then took that peculiar ball and ran with it through the pre-medieval Middle East and Roman worlds--and continues to do so in its mission-minded "fundamentalist" forms. Islam, on the other hand, was born as church, state, and army rolled into one, and the Qu'ran is a set of instructions given to an army on the march. It simply doesn't occurr to the framers of the Qu'ran and Hadith that believers must seek the peace (shalom) of the non-believing city in which they find themselves (as Jeremiah instructed the exiles). This exposes both fundamental differences between politicized Evangelicalism and Islamofascism; and explains why there's bound to friction with a Muslim diaspora.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (37) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Ignorance is bliss [389 words]HK from EnglandNov 7, 2008 15:52142381
Misinformation everlasting problem [194 words]NNDec 29, 2005 12:0630735
What scares you so? [83 words]RoseDec 26, 2005 23:1330606
The fiction of there being moderate Muslims [182 words]historyofjihad.orgMar 15, 2005 07:1320980
Reply to Hajira [1255 words]HankMar 4, 2005 18:1620664
Islam & Humanism [391 words]Hari IyerJan 14, 2005 00:4919662
1Islamic scholasticism [291 words]LKJan 12, 2005 02:3719625
1WAHABBI ISLAM AND THE POOR IN AMERICA [264 words]Les DavisJan 11, 2005 13:2819588
1Averroes' "The Incoherence of the Incoherence" -- A key to understanding the world today? [325 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
GWKJan 5, 2005 11:0119430
Dispute of Averroes and Ghazali is it relevant in the modern world? [613 words]LKJan 10, 2005 02:1919430
Tahafut at-Tahafut [69 words]GWKJan 10, 2005 11:2219430
Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd [52 words]Peter JonesAug 10, 2007 08:5119430
Koran Calls Moderate Muslims "Hypocrites" [213 words]Don CastellaJan 4, 2005 21:3319397
Respose to commenter Don Castella [271 words]Nadeem ButtFeb 28, 2005 20:3819397
Hello Mr Pipes, You made it into the first page of a Pakistani Paper [100 words]Hari IyerJan 2, 2005 21:4919319
What about Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi [137 words]Norman WandJan 1, 2005 20:1319294
The situation is probably even worse... [92 words]MikeDec 31, 2004 20:1419279
The word "moderate" is misleading [50 words]Octavio JohansonDec 31, 2004 08:1619265
Not all "Reviving the Islamic Spirit" attendees agreed with speakers... [378 words]Dave BrownDec 31, 2004 03:1919262
WHAT??! [61 words]LillianDec 29, 2005 18:5719262
geting the facts [66 words]saraFeb 24, 2006 14:5819262
nothing [56 words]jamieDec 25, 2006 21:1319262
1Tareq Suwaidan [158 words]Aiesha AhmedDec 26, 2006 23:3419262
tarek suwaidan is a great scholar [69 words]amenaDec 27, 2006 18:3619262
Agreed [77 words]Shadee EMar 26, 2007 13:3819262
Why critisize [123 words]Abdul-HabibMar 12, 2010 23:1619262
Types of Muslims [315 words]MollDec 30, 2004 18:0519256
They all the same [5 words]DanielSep 30, 2008 05:1419256
Says who? [62 words]FatimaJan 3, 2010 18:0319256
My humble opinion! [39 words]Avrum ApterDec 30, 2004 15:0619251
Communists and Islamists, a similar strategy [144 words]John YerkesDec 29, 2004 22:4919229
The Myth of Moderate Muslim [390 words]Arlinda DeAngelisDec 29, 2004 21:5119227
Response to Arlinda DeAngelis [11 words]Guy VitiJan 28, 2005 16:5319227
1the Full story = the Full picture [567 words]Sherif ShafieSep 10, 2009 05:5019227
What is Moderation? [449 words]Peter J. HerzDec 29, 2004 18:5919221
All credit to Pipes [155 words]Abid JanDec 29, 2004 16:0819218
Beware of Wolves in Sheep's clothing [101 words]Darwin BarrettDec 29, 2004 14:4719215

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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