Will Moderate Muslims Please Stand Up?
Rafiullah Kakar – The Express Tribune
Although moderate Muslims would like to apportion blame solely to the interventionist and imperialistic foreign policies of the West, they cannot completely exonerate themselves from responsibility for the current mess. The standard Muslim line that militant groups like the Islamic State (IS), the Taliban, Boko Haram and so on, are not ‘true’ representatives of Islam and that their brutal acts have nothing to do with religion is actually part of the problem….
Being a moderate Muslim, I know that the majority of Muslims do not share the ideology espoused by these radical elements…. By asserting that the likes of the IS, al Qaeda and the Taliban have nothing to do with religion, the moderate Muslims let these radicals get away with their virulent perversion of religion and thus squander a potential opportunity for discrediting them publicly.
A segment of moderate Muslims does recognize the challenge posed by radical interpretations of religion and dispute the conservative and literalist reading of scriptures advocated by religious fundamentalists….The problem with this debate is that it only happens in drawing rooms and private gatherings of a tiny liberal, secular and left-leaning class. Publicly, most Muslims are reluctant to openly engage in critical debate regarding religion. Those who do so often pay a huge price for it.
The Reason You Can’t Always Hear the Moderate Muslim Voices
Atia Abawi – Huffington Post
The West plays a role in muzzling these voices as it turns to Middle Eastern governments who quell dissenting views of their regimes. Islam today is being cannibalized by cancerous strains of fundamentalist religious ideologies that are promoted by wealthy and powerful Middle Eastern countries extinguishing moderate hopes in the Muslim world.
Many of these countries are considered American and Western allies.
Without political freedoms it is impossible to expect religious freedom. And when the state is religiously extreme, as in Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is impossible to imagine moderate Muslims having the freedom to promote a tolerant view of Islam….
In the end religion — all religions — boil down to interpretation. Islam is not the enemy to Western ideals — those who follow dangerous interpretations are. There are many Muslims throughout the world who stand up for equality, peace, and women’s rights. But they are usually the first to be shut down by America’s allies and other extremists’ voices.
President Barack Obama hosts Iftar earlier this year:
Moderate Muslims Must Condemn Terror
Foday Justice Darboe – Courier-Post
In the wake of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris and the double suicide bombing in Beirut on Nov. 12, many Muslims took to Twitter to loudly and unequivocally condemn the terrorists attacks with the hashtags #NotInMyName and #MuslimsAreNotTerrorists, but is this enough to counter Islamic extremism? …
As a moderate/progressive Muslim, I want to note that ISIS does not speak for me nor do I share any iota of their twisted beliefs…. To say ISIS is un-Islamic is an understatement. In essence, ISIS is an international band of thugs using religion and terror to rape, kill, and extort money….
…Both those inside and outside the Muslim world must recognize that the fight against violent Islamic extremism is not a clash between Muslims and the West or a clash between civilizations. “Moderate Muslim” leaders — by far the vast majority — must condemn jihadist ideology and issue fatwas against extremism. Islamic extremism has to be defeated ideologically and its narrative reformed.