Saturday, December 8, 2007

Silence Emboldens

After the Saudi government punished the victim of a brutal rape, the Western world (sans the U.S.) expressed outrage. Rightly so. Muslims and non-Muslims alike should be outraged when a mindset inappropriate in the 14th Century rears it's ugly head in the 21st Century. But this is one of those situations in which real change can come only from within. Where exactly are those moderate Muslims we hear so much about? I know they are out there. Given recent slew of injustices committed by governments in the name of Islam, now would be a good time to speak up. Not a peep has been heard.

Feminist and former member of the Dutch Parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali published an editorial in yesterday's NYT. She's also a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute -- that always raises screaming giant crismson flags with me. Neocon bona fides aside, Ali places a powerful call to Islam's Silent Moderates:

It is often said that Islam has been “hijacked” by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates. But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted — and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?
Exactly right. Sharia i.e. Islamic Law desperately needs to be brought out of the dark ages and into the new millennium. (There are powerful forces working to prevent such a thing but that is a topic for another time). She takes to task those Muslim groups "quick to defend any affront to the image of Islam." Yet these same groups stands mute in the face these multiple incidents that have "done more to damage the image of Islamic justice than a dozen cartoons."

Ali calls moderate Muslims on the carpet for their hypocrisy:
I wish there were more Islamic moderates. For example, I would welcome some guidance from that famous Muslim theologian of moderation, Tariq Ramadan. But when there is true suffering, real cruelty in the name of Islam, we hear, first, denial from all these organizations that are so concerned about Islam’s image. We hear that violence is not in the Koran, that Islam means peace, that this is a hijacking by extremists and a smear campaign and so on. But the evidence mounts up.
These groups are adept at misdirection and practiced at denial. It's one thing to claim you are a "moderate" Muslim. It's quite another to be a moderate Muslim. Ali's conclusion is cut-and-dried:
When a “moderate” Muslim’s sense of compassion and conscience collides with matters prescribed by Allah, he should choose compassion. Unless that happens much more widely, a moderate Islam will remain wishful thinking.
Read the whole thing here. Now.



Muslims Against Sharia said...

Most of the Western Muslim establishment is comprised of Islamist groups claiming to be moderates. True moderate Muslims reject Islamic supremacy and Sharia; embrace religious equality and democracy.

Poll: Who is a moderate Muslim?

Anacher Forester said...

Thank you for your comment and for directing me to your fascinating blog. It's heartening to hear from one so committed to positive change. Your wisdom and perspective are most welcome here.