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Moderate criteria

Reader comment on item: [Finding Moderate Muslims:] Do you believe in modernity?

Submitted by Boris Frenkel (United States), Nov 26, 2003 at 10:21

Dear Dr. Pipes,
I totally agree with your questions: they have to be asked and answers should be obtained. However it is not clear, what would be your criteria for calling a muslim a moderate? 100% answers pro-western? 90%? 80%? I don't think anybody will be able to define this threshhold or I am not even sure defining this threshhold would make sense. Then what should we do?

Also, assume the majority of muslim answer these questions unfavorably for your point of view. This may not be unrealistic assumption considering some previous surveys. What should we do about it? Should all muslim consider the fact of asking these questions an act of direct confrontation? I am not saying that I am afraid asking these questions. But we have to realize that answers may surprise us, since we are expecting a different rationale behind them. For example, what if they say "We answer your question our way because we are in a state of war with Israel and you are the main supporter of this state. As soon as the occupation stops, we are willing to review these questions." For you and me these kind of answers don't make any sense, but I bet you many westerners in Europe will find this motivation quite satisfactory.

Morale: With all the respect to your questions, conducting surveys based on them may not lead us anywhere, since we may not get honest answers. The real issue is that muslims do not realize that they have to provide these answers to themselves when nobody is asking, because others are waiting for their first move and listening.

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".

Daniel Pipes replies:

You make valid points and I do not have the answers to them all. These questions are but a step, not the whole process, towards discerning which Muslims are on our side and which on the enemy's.


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