DETECTING MODERATE ISLAM
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Read also, “The Manhattan Mosque Incident” where the real issue - security, not “religious freedom” - is identified. Here is that link:http://www.jaygaskill.com/TheManhattanMosqueIncident.htm
This article is also posted at http://www.jaygaskill.com/DetectingModerateIslam.htm
DETECTING MODERATE ISLAM
A Reflection by
Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law
What would a moderate Nazi look and talk like, say, in 1944?
To ask the question is to answer it. We’ll never know because anyone who did that, actually broke with Nazism, and was quietly arrested and sent to a camp from which he or she never emerged.
Now, consider how much a member of France’s Vichy government in German-occupied Berlin could afford to say, even in private? And ask yourself whether you could ever really trust whatever was said, even in private....
The deadly reach of radical, militant Islam is worldwide. This is why every follower of Islam, however “moderate”, is apt to behave like a member of the Vichy government during the high water mark of the Nazi occupation.
Recall, if you will, that the Vichy government actively participated in the rounding up and delivery to Auschwitz and other German camps of at least 75 thousand Jews, of whom fewer than 2,000 survived. You will not find a list of Vichy government members who actively protested these murders, let alone the complicity of the French government.
From this historical frame of reference, moderate Islam is a meaningless construct unless and until moderates consistently self-identify by a courageous public differentiation from the radicals. Courage is needed because this must be a move the authenticity of which will leave no daylight between one’s public and private positions.
THE LEFT’S ACCOMMODATION OF FAUX MODERATES
The American left has tacitly adopted a less rigorous, more self-serving test. In a bizarre amalgam of ideologically saturated perception and staggering naïveté, the left tends to apply the label of moderate Islam to any Muslim public figure who articulates the left-wing’s critique of America as the world’s overweening hegemonic power, while remaining silent about everything else, including the virulent anti-Semitism and violent jihadist ambitions of their co-religionists.
This has opened the door to the cynical manipulation of the American left by the American political experts who advise the jihad’s terror-central. Al-Qaeda’s public statements and those of other radical Islamist spokesman almost always play to the left’s biases.
“We destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and Allah ordered us to... punish everyone who stands alongside (US President George W.) Bush.”Al Qaeda
“The U.S. is leading the war against terrorism, which in reality is a war against Islam. Its army is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest through its stooges. The heroic act of brother Nidal (hasan, the fort hood shooter) also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community. Increasingly, they are being cornered into taking stances that would either make them betray Islam or betray their nation.”Anwar al-Awlaki
GROUND ZERO BLINDNESS
Enter the Imam behind the Ground Zero Islamic center/mosque project.
“We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non Muslims.”
Feisal Abdul Rauf in 2005.
Q: “Are you arguing, or am I misunderstanding you, that the slaps on the face, to use your term, from the Muslim world to the West, are all reactive to things that the West has done?”
A: “Predominantly, because the West is the global superpower. . . . It’s the more powerful party in the relationship which sets the tone of the relationship.... In terms of specific conflict, specific issues that have resulted in specific actions within recent history, those have to be tied in to the perceptions which were created around what people were actually reacting to at that given point in time.”
Feisal Abdul Rauf in 2008.
This imam has been as cautious in criticizing militant Islam as a typical member of the Vichy government was in condemning the Nazi holocaust.
THE MODERATE ISLAM LITMUS TEST
Here’s the deal. We need to define moderate Islam in terms of the prevailing ethos against which radical Islam is at war: Western liberal civilization.
Moderate Islam needs to explicitly honor and support at least the five core elements of the social compact that define Western liberal civilization and to commit to respect the boundaries of loyalty to its health and survival, to wit:
Robust protections for free expression.
A clear, juridical and practical separation of the authority structures (and canonical demands) of religious institutions from the regular, established institutions of secular government (in plain terms - Sharia “Law” is demoted to a religious practice, unenforceable by statutory law or private violence);
No subjugation or violent retribution OR control of individuals (i.e., women. “infidels”. or anyone else singled out on religious grounds) whether through legal practice or the tolerance of violence or intimidation;
Free religious expression, worship and practice, so long these are effectively consistent with 1, 2 and 3;
The use of violence, terror and intimidation to undermine the social order is to be actively condemned and opposed whatever its source (i.e., loyalty to the national social compact trumps any fatwa or religious edict).
WAITING FOR REFORMATION
The prevalent Western religions have all undergone a reformation. With the historically brief exception of a worldly, secular phase 929-1009, under the reign of a single Caliph, Abd-al Rahman III in Cordoba, Spain, Islam is still locked in a fierce medieval rigidity.
Moderate Islam still awaits a moderate theology. Meantime, the world’s moderate Muslims are silently embedded in a larger group of believers to a degree that we in the secular and reformed-religious West should be forgiven for our inability to separate the two.
In the meantime, many partly-secular Muslims live quiet, law-abiding lives among us, still conflicted and troubled by the many tensions and constrictions between scripture and modernity.
We in the West will not be the authors of the religious reformation for a faith that commands more than one billion adherents world-wide. What we can and must accomplish is something more modest and ultimately more important: to successfully defend our civilization in the meantime.