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What is moderate Islam anyway? Any discussion without a definition risks being nonsense.

Reader comment on item: How to End Terrorism:
in response to reader comment: Moderate Islam, a pipe dream

Submitted by MelM (United States), Dec 11, 2006 at 20:10

Moderate in this context really must be defined or we're just talking nonsense. It's very easy for people to think they have a meeting-of-the minds, but, if fact, don't.

Let me put forward this definition: A moderate Muslim is one who fully supports the U.S. Bill of Rights including freedom of speech and separation of religion and state. He'd have to give up punishments for blasphemy and for leaving Islam for another religion or for a secular philosophy. And so on and so on. Basically, it would be someone I don't have to worry about. He's not trying to be make me live by his dogma or push it into the public schools. He's dropped all the murderous and oppressive parts of the religion. I want to live my life not bothering him and not being bothered by him.

If we don't get this, then Islam would always be trying to turn it's holy book into law--trying to take-over. Frankly, trying to turn holy books into law is an inherent problem with religion when people try to really practice it and there will always be such a temptation as long as religion exists.

Is what Dr. Pipes is asking for a new version of Islam: a new theology? Given Islam's ability to murder to protect it's holy prattle, even with a crushing military defeat and freedom of speech imposed from outside, I think it would be pretty rough going for any Muslim who wanted to create such a theology. And, how could such a theology be created based on the Koran? Maybe, when the mullahs loose absolute power over peoples lives, there would be a mass dumping of the religion in favor of something not so brutal. I just don't know. I fear that even after military defeat, Islam in many areas, would have to be militarily contained for a very long time

. I worry also, that Islam's determination to maintain power and it's cult like grip on peoples minds would be so great that an underground Islamic state would be created--one that would be very hard to eradicate. This religion looks like something only a Steven King could imagine--a threat to the civilization of freedom that's taken so long to build.

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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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