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Turkish Delight

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March

Submitted by Rebecca Moulds (United States), May 8, 2007 at 07:38

Dear Mr. Pipes,

The last sentence in your article A Million Moderate Muslims on the March (May 8, 2007) indicates that you are becoming increasingly frustrated in your attempts to convince the general public, especially the West, that moderate Muslims do exist. At present this banging your head against a brick wall syndrome must be giving you the most horrendous headache!

Many Americans have never left home turf, and therefore have no idea what "moderate Islam" is nor do they really care. Having lived in two Muslim countries (Indonesia and Egypt), I can attest that even in those diverse places, there are many moderate Muslims, but they usually keep a low profile and a silent voice due to fear of retribution.

However, during the time I lived in Jakarta (1981-1987), I could see a very subtle change in the attitudes of Indonesians to Westerners. In 2001 my British friends in Jakarta had to leave due to massive home break-ins and increasing violence against Westerners living in Indonesia. Of course, that might have been due to severe economic strain associated with the devaluation of the Rupiah, but somehow it morphed into Muslims vs. non-Muslims.

There used to be nearly complete freedom of dress there for women but I think that has changed significantly, the same happening now in Egypt, where the outward appearance signifies that more and more women are covering up, even some of the men are wearing the abaya. A keen observer will look behind that pseudo-pious cloaking, and note that in a suppressed society, there are certain outward signs that indicate the general mood of the country.

Having not been to Turkey I cannot comment on whether this reverting back to covering up is happening there, but if it is, then the rest of the world will have great difficulty believing that moderate Islam exists, for when the women of a certain society are repressed, especially in dress, then it follows that the prevailing wind (in this case extreme Islam) will sweep its inhabitants into the dust bowl of regression unless the moderate Muslims come out of hiding and speak up.

Submitting....

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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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