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

Submitted by Dr. Richard Benkin (United States), May 8, 2007 at 14:36

I have spent much of the last three and a half years defending the freedom of a "moderate Muslim" who has put himself in harm's way by publicly supporting ties with Israel and exposing radical Islamists in his Bangladesh. One of my great disappointments is the periodic denial of "real moderates" as well as often wholesale vilification of Islam itself by people who otherwise are great allies and uncompromising fighters against radical Islam.

The case of journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is significant in large part because it is so difficult and dangerous for Muslims to "stand and deliver" without fleeing first to the West. But Shoaib has eschewed countless offers to leave Bangladesh because of the danger for two reasons: First, as he says, "I am a Bangladeshi. Let the radicals leave my country." Second, he believes that only be standing up to the Islamists and defeating them from within the Muslim world will encourage others to do the same.

For his efforts, however, he has been imprisoned, tortured, and charged with capital offenses. His newspaper cannot get advertisements (the lifeblood of a paper) and he is forced to spend countless hours (and money) on unrelenting court dates. Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the sort of person who would have refused to drive the trains to concentration camps during the holocaust.

But how many people are that courageous--whether Muslim or otherwise, and regardless of where they live? Dr. Pipes (who I am proud to count as a supporter of Shoaib's) has identified some of those who are under extremely dangerous situations. Were I to complain about this matter, I would start with those appeasing Muslims and non-Muslims in free lands such as the United States or the United Kingdom. That would strengthen the hand of "moderate Muslims" in the Muslim world and not undercut it, as political correctness so often does now.

Dr. Richard Benkin


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