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Moderate Muslims

Reader comment on item: On Islam and Islamism

Submitted by Safraz (United States), Mar 31, 2008 at 22:46

Those on this board, and elsewhere, who so confidently claim that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, need to go for themselves and live with Muslims in the Muslim world. Without that experience, it is hard to understand where you get your support.

I grew up a Muslim, and the Islam I experienced was the complete opposite of the Islam touted by Al Qaeda, Hamas etc. To me, Islam represented peace, joy, happiness, family, and love - that's how I was raised by my devoutly religious grandparents, and I have no doubt from my experience that this is exactly how the mass majority of Muslims are raised.

And to those who say that the Muslims who believe in peace, love, pluralism etc. are not really following the Koran, I encourage you to study Islamic jurisprudence and how the Koran has been interpreted via principles such as ijtihad so that it becomes a weapon of peace, love and prosperity, rather than one of violence.

There is such a thing as moderate Islam, and it is the Islam where we understand that that the Koran teaches war - only in self defence - and that one must interpret the Koran by looking at God's reasoning and intentions in laying down laws that were then literally applicable to people living in 7th century Arabia - but not literally applicable in the drastically different 21st century when we must look at the intent of the laws, rather than the literal meaning. Very similar to the modes of interpreting the U.S. Constitution, that even judges like Thomas and Scalia must at times succumb to out of practicality.

The problem of radicalism, however, exists where folks with political motives uses Islam as a rallying cry to support those political motives. And when radical politics is infused in the society, even those who would not ever pick up a gun and kill someone, would find themselves proudly sporting T-shirts with the murderer Osama bin Laden on them and spouting radical nonsense. No different than how Latin Americans supported the murderer Che Guevara. No different than how Americans supported the murderer Jesse James.

Most of those people would never do anything to harm another person, but they buy into a theory that these prominent terrorists - bin Laden, Guevara, James - are fighting in their cause and so they support them. That is not an indicator of established radicalism - it is an indicator of social grieveiences, whether real or perceived, that must be addressed or it threatens to become real radicalism.

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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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