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Moderate by What Standard?

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

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), May 8, 2007 at 13:24

To what extent is this piece WISHFUL THINKING? or

Moderate about What?

My definition of a moderate Moslem would be fairly simple; First, someone who urges Peace with Israel and who calls for the immediate establishment of normal diplomatic relations with Israel by all Moslem countries. (regardless of whether this is likely anytime soon)

Are there any Moslems that advocate such recognition? Is there any Moslem organization that calls for that?

Second, are there any Moslems who unequivocally condemn suicide mass murderers in principle and everywhere, explicitly including the targeting of Israelis? That is, without all the caveats of "but ....", "I understand (sympathize) with how they feel." or, my great favorite from Imams, "What else can they do?", which chilling sentiment is always offered as a definitive justification.

Are there any Moslems or Moslems organizations that do that? And I don't regard statements such as, "Suicide bombing is 'unIslamic'" as a clear repudiation - such a statement is a dodge that allows the speaker to absolve himself of any responsibility for making an explicit condemnation.

Neither of these tests are mentioned in Pipes' article.

There are plenty of things plenty of Moslems may be moderate about, and still be extremists, religious or secular, toward Israel.

There are plenty of forms of extremism Moslems may oppose in their own countries, while still supporting the worst forms of religious violence against Israel, and against Americans and others, including other Moslems, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Therefore, while I'm reading about events in Turkey and elsewhere with great interest, it seems radically premature to be optimistic about any large-scale or meaningful population of "moderate" Moslems without a much better and focused definition of what a "moderate" Moslem is in relation to the West, and particularly with regard to Israel.

I submit that there is no such thing as a moderate Moslem, at least as Daniel Pipes should define them, who is for either the explicit or veiled (as in the impossible demands of either the PLO or King Abdullah) destruction of Israel.

Ron Thompson


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