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Moderate - It's in the eye of the beholder

Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March
in response to reader comment: Moderate is as Moderate Does?

Submitted by Pat (United States), May 10, 2007 at 19:16

Dr. Benkin,

What about the rest of it?

I was referring to the issues that appear (in my eyes) to make Islam incompatible with Western society. The ones that followed were just a partial list. There are so many more.

You said think about how many people have the courage to put themselves in danger for a principle. You're exactly right. Shoab is the exception. If there are as many moderates as some people claim, then why aren't their voices heard? Why is this man alone? Taking a stand against the established order is a difficult thing to do and this man deserves praise. But what about everyone else? Can't they draw strength from him and find their own voices and give him some of their strength in return? Very few of those we consider our greatest heroes were able to accomplish change on their onw. They needed help. They needed others to be willing to put their own lives at risk for a better future for their children. Why is this man alone?

The question of how to define a moderate is exactly the point. Moderate in Bangladesh might be counter to Western values. When we say we are looking for moderate Muslims we are usually looking for people who respect rule of law and are willing to live here without requiring us to change our norms to comply with sharia. Exhibit A is the cab drivers in Minneapolis who refused to pick up travelers carrying alcohol.

You said there is no jizya in Bangladesh but that the Constitution is being corrupted by those who seek to change it. Again, that's the point. Law and practice aren't necessarily the same. What happens when the fundamentalists take over Bangladesh, as they have so many other countries?

As for the Torah, what are Jews doing today with those violent verses? Are they being used to justify non-state violence against others or to delegitimize secular governments?


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