Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Deadly Threat of So-Called "Moderate" Muslims

A favourite complaint of Muslim-baiters is the argument that moderate Muslims are not sufficiently outspoken in their criticism of radical Islam. Since most of them confine their reading to their own tiny daisy-chain of like-minded blogs, and limit their interaction with Muslims to screaming at them at demonstrations, I've always wondered just what sort of gesture they were demanding.

Not, apparently, this one.

“We hope this declaration will make our stance and the views of the silent majority of Canadian Muslims on a variety of issues loud and clear. It represents unprecedented unanimity among Canada’s mainstream Muslim leaders on many issues currently viewed as controversial among non-Muslims, and we expect it to reverberate around the world,” the group’s Chairman Imam Dr. Hamid Slimi says in a statement on their website.

The statement is worth reading in its entirety, and includes the following points.

" All human beings are equal, and all of them are the children of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them). The best Muslim is the one who is good to his/her family and neighbors and one who avoids harming others with his/her hand or tongue."

" We believe in peaceful coexistence, dialogue, bridge building, and cooperation among all faiths and people for the common good of humanity. Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race, or nationality. The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws."

" We believe that the well-being of our fellow citizens is the well-being of Muslims, and that the well-being of Muslims is the well-being of our fellow citizens. Being law-abiding people is part of the Islamic practice, and following the pristine teachings of Islam leads to good citizenship."

" We believe in gender equity and each man and each woman’s divine right to education, social contribution, work, and treatment with respect and dignity."

Like any statement of moral principles, from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence, one can seek, and find, the cracks between principle and practice in the real world. But as an assertion of principles, it would seem to address some of the fears of our domestic Islamophobes.

Which, of course, is intolerable.

It is an article of faith among that particular slab of Blogging Tories that "moderate" Muslims are simply better liars than Osama Bin Laden - that my Muslim friends are simply waiting for a secret signal from Al Qaida to slit my throat, impose Sharia Law, and build a MegaMosque in my backyard. Any unequivocal repudiation of violence - the kind the haters have been demanding - must be a ruse.

And so we have Tarek Fatah dismissing the statement he and other have been demanding as "meaningless."

It doesn’t include a strong affirmation of the separation of mosque and state or that the mosque is no place for political activity; it doesn’t demand that women be allowed to sit in the front row of mosques or be allowed to become imams; and most importantly, the declaration doesn’t denounce the theory of armed jihad, Mr. Fatah said. “These three points are fundamental. Unless they include these things, everything else is meaningless,” he said.

What an interesting observation.

When last I looked, none of our BT friends were demanding that the Catholic Church strongly affirm the separation of church and state,or arguing that the pulpit was no place for political activity. In fact, I remember several vociferous defenses of a cleric's right to demand that Catholics, and Catholic politicians, vote in accordance with God's Will (as interpreted by His Holiness), of the Church's right to withhold the sacraments from legislators who didn't toe the Vatican Party line, and so on.

Nor do I remember our BT friends arguing that the Catholic Church should be forced to ordain women, or that Orthodox Jews MUST allow women to serve as cantors a rabbis.

And I confess I find it difficult to see how an explicit repudiation of violence is not a denunciation of "the theory of armed jihad".

But of course, those little quibbles don't matter. Because they don't address the REAL threat posed by "moderate" Muslims - the threat that reasonable people trying to heal wounds represent to the world view, raison-d'être, and livelihood of our hate peddlers.

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