. . . and western apologists for Islam
A significant majority of such disasters would have been averted by this one act discipline and application. Never taking your eyes off the goal is half the secret of any success. The poster below relates to motorcycling but just substitute the word "Life" for "motorcycling" and you have a very useful philosophy for living - insofar as any of us can have control over anything in life. Life is intended for adults, not human sheep. It does not reward inattention, ignorance, incompetence or stupidity. It rewards participation, engagement and application. We aren't mere passengers.
Where are the moderate Muslims?
So we have this idea of the "great majority" of "Moderate Muslims" widely propagated among us. But is it true? And if it is true then why are they so remarkably quiet in condemning political or violent Islam? Why can't they publicly condemn Sharia if they are so Western - so very much like us?
Jihad Watch noted today that no less a person than the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, emphasized “that granting women and men equal inheritance rights violates Islamic Sharia…the concept of gender equality in inheritance is against Islam’s teachings….All inheritance laws are detailed in Quran in a clear way.”
Jihad Watch also noted that almost 300 million Christians are persecuted worldwide and their religious freedom is restricted in 22 Muslim countries.
Where are the great majority of moderate Muslims condemning all this? How many have you heard criticising this very illiberal state of affairs? Very few I'd bet.
Well I've have found one of the few moderate Muslims who does condemn this sort of thing. Hussein Aboubakr, as the 5 minute video notes, was raised in an Egyptian Muslim family and offers some really troubling questions for Muslims and their unhelpfully ignorant Western apologists to consider. To give you an idea here's a snip of an article he wrote a few years ago:~
Many parts of the Muslim world are intolerant towards free speech, criticism and reform. Human rights are not observed in most of the Muslim world; women’s rights, homosexual rights, minority rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of belief..etc. are things that the majority of non-violent Muslims do not observe. Execution of apostates, women who are not allowed to drive, sexual segregation, persecution of liberals and journalists, homosexual imprisonment, and persecution of non-Muslim minorities are all common themes almost in all Muslim countries. Many Muslim countries use public beheadings, hangings, lashings, stonings and chopping of limbs as an accepted form of punishment.
While the vast majority of Muslims may frown upon ISIS and Al Qaeda and may be horrified by their acts, they will still approve of many human rights abuses. The majority of the world Muslim population believe that the cartoonists who ridicule Muhammad should be prosecuted. Many Muslim countries carry death penalties for any similar heresy action because they simply do not believe in freedom of speech. There is a Muslim consensus that any acts of violence against Israel, including suicide bombers in buses, are justified if not encouraged. Our acceptance or denial of those facts does not affect the reality we are all living; the Muslim world is dominated by bad ideas and bad beliefs. The majority of Muslims have no principle objections to application of extreme violence, subjection of women and minorities, prosecuting if not killing homosexuals and confiscating personal freedoms.
My argument is, we are using the label “moderate” for everyone who is not trying to kill us regardless of that person’s actual views. We are in a very bad situation to the extent that we have confused moderation with self-interest. The majority of the Muslim world may not be moderate, but rather acting in its daily life from a purely self-interested point of view. This is a very good thing. We should encourage all Muslims to act and preserve their self-interests. But we should not lie to them about the nature of their religious ideas.
One of my other concerns regarding moderate Muslims is their response to Islamic terrorism. Whenever the issue of Islamic extremism arises, the first reaction of moderate Muslims is not to start an honest debate and reform in their religion but to defend Islam and Muslims. Moderate Muslims are obsessed with slogans like “the religion of peace” more than they care about facing the terrorists emerging from their own communities. Moderate Muslims rush to warn about Islamophobia and unjust western prejudice against Muslims. Almost in every single occasion that Islamic terrorism is mentioned, Muslims’ first action is to defend their faith. They assert over and over how peaceful and beautiful Islam is. They are obsessed with their religion and care about it more than they care about stopping murder in its name. It should be clear that this kind of obsession is just another form of fundamentalism. The time has come to talk about how unhelpful and unhealthy their constant obsession with Islam is.
Those Muslims need to know that it is more important right now to direct their efforts inside their communities to battle extremism than to polish the image of a faith soaked in blood. Constantly using the rhetoric of Islamophobia and defending their faith as if it was under attack does not help us to promote peace but actually makes the job of terrorist recruiters easier.
Hmm... so says an honest Muslim capable of self reflection and of changing his direction as he sees a better way to go. It can be done.
Please, my moderate Muslim friends, stop looking at where you are going and start looking where you need to go. Life is not one unalterably set trajectory. You can change it.
Just ask yourself that question: Where do I want to go?
You may not be able to reform all of Islam, but you can certainly change your own direction.
After every new Jihadist attack against the West, politicians reassure us that the atrocity does not represent the true nature of mainstream Islam. Of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, they constantly reassure us, the overwhelming majority are as law abiding as any members of any other monotheistic faith. Only a tiny fraction engage in terror. And Islam is a religion of peace. Furthermore, we are told, the great majority of Muslims hold moderate views.
But what does that mean? How moderate are moderate Muslims? Given the threat of radical Islam, it would seem to be a fair question. Let me start to answer it by telling you something of my own story.
I was raised in a middle class Muslim home in Cairo, Egypt. Growing up, I was told, among many other things, the following: That every day that passes on the Islamic nation without a caliphate is a sin. That the failures and miseries of the Muslim world started the moment we Muslims gave up conquests and wars against the infidels. That our prosperity depended on conquering new lands and converting new believers. That anyone who leaves the faith must die. And I also remember how my teachers and my mosque imams reacted to the news of 9/11 when it happened: joy.
My experience was typical, and there is data to prove it: According to the Pew Research Center, 88% of Muslims in Egypt, 62% in Pakistan, 86% in Jordan and 51% in Nigeria believe that any Muslim who chooses to leave Islam should be put to death. Similar, if not identical, numbers are in favor of stoning people who commit adultery, severely punishing those who criticize Muhammad or Islam, and chopping off hands for theft.
All of these practices are a part of the penal code of Islamic law, which is known as Sharia. And 84% of Muslims in South Asia, 77% in Southeast Asia, 74% in the Middle East and North Africa and 64% in Sub-Saharan Africa support Sharia as the law of the land. Less drastic, yet significant, percentages are to be found even among Muslim communities in the West.
So, too, most of the world's Muslims believe that any acts of violence against Israel, including suicide bombers in buses and restaurants, are justified. Now, does any of this sound moderate to you? Yet if anyone raises these inconvenient truths here in the West, he is sure to be called an Islamophobe, a hater of Islam. Again, my own story is instructive.
In February of 2015, I was yelled at, cursed at, and successfully prevented from speaking at Swarthmore College by students and others who did not agree to what I was saying. Some of them were Muslim women who fit the image of the unveiled, perfect English-speaking, moderate Muslim young woman. Other seeming “moderates” tried and failed to do the same during my speech at Temple University the next day. Some of them, sadly, were students of journalism.
It is not Islamophobic to note the tragic fact that, at this time in history, the Muslim world is dominated by bad ideas and bad beliefs. That is why millions of so-called moderate Muslims do not rise up to denounce Islamist terror – because the word “moderate,” as we understand it, doesn't really apply. If moderation means you tolerate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, women's rights and gay rights, moderate Muslims are a distinct minority. Of course, they exist. Millions of them. But among believing Muslims, they do not represent anywhere near a critical mass.
The values of the West and the values of Islam as practiced in the Muslim worlds of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and more and more in Europe, are not compatible. Western politicians can deny this, but this denial does not change the reality.
It is these bad ideas and beliefs that provides the soil in which radical Islam grows. Ignoring this only prevents us from effectively fighting Islamist terror, and at the same time it hurts those heroic Muslims who really are moderate.
Until we begin to tell the truth about Islam – always in respectful language – the only solution to Islamist terror will never take place. That solution is Islam reforming itself.
I do believe that reform is possible. It can, of course, only be done from within Islam. The West can be a part of that reform, but only if it faces – and tells – the truth.
The sooner it does so, the better – for all of us.