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Reader comment on item: [The Search for Moderate Islam:] A Reply to Lawrence Auster

Submitted by Muhammad Arshad (Pakistan), May 3, 2005 at 06:07

The distinction between moderate and radical/conservative Islam is wrong and does not apply to vast areas of Muslim world. I come from a conservative family and at some level many of my parents' religous beliefs are no different from what in the west we call radical Islam.

However, I could never see anyone from my family getting involved in terrorist activities. The reason is that the conservative/fundametalist Islam practiced in my family was not political at all. My family would never support an Islamic government like the one in Iran, but if an American were to observe them, he/she would think that they just had left one the religous schools in Pakistan.

The point is that many muslims would not pass the test for being moderate, but could not possibly be considered a threat to the rest of the world. They are extremely religous, but do not believe in political Islam. In fact, I believe, political Islam is the root cause of backwardness in most of the Muslim world, and is an important point that must be recognized in the west.

When the west talks about moderate Islam, many Muslims take it as sign that the west wants to impose its own moral values on them.

However, if we a make a distintiction between political Islam and non-political Islam, we may find many Muslim fundamentalists who will be receptive to the idea that religion and politics should not mix. It is important to note that some of the terrorists who participated in 9/11 were not extremely religous. However, they firmly believed in political Islam.

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