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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Moderation in all things...

Ever since the events of 9-11-01, I've been hearing a lot of people say that there are no moderate Muslims.

They apparently base this assertion on their not having heard much (or any) condemnation of terrorist acts from that quarter.

I would contend that there might be any number of reasons for that, such as the oppression that exists in many Islamic countries. Brutality against their brethren seems to rule the day in a lot of places, such that many are afraid to speak out. Doing so may well cost them their tongue at the very least...and possibly their life.

What reasonable person can truly blame those in such circumstances for keeping their criticism to themselves?

To the point, I took it upon myself to do a search for evidence of moderation in the Arab/Islamic world, and I found it.
(As expected, I hasten to add)

There's a blog called Mission: Imperative! that, as it says on the header there (copied above), has been "presenting Arab and Islamic voices of reason to the English speaking world."

Many folks showcased there have my admiration.

I've added Mission: Imperative! to my blogroll...


Blogger JR said...

Muslims teach their children to hate Jews... It is one of the corner stones of their Religion... They get to blame the Jews and those who support Jews for everything that is wrong with their own lives... In order to be muslin you have to hate Jews or you can not join their religion... Sound familiar??? Is a moderate Muslim someone who can control the hate??? Or is a moderate Muslim someone who is not trying to kill Jews???

September 22, 2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger boberin said...

People, as a rule, are just people. They go to work, come home, kiss the dog, kick the wife, have dinner, fool around a bit and then go to bed. The following day they repeat the process and so on until they die. No real differneces, no real mystery. The average person has no time to devote to hating/liking/whatevering the next guy. Too busy trying to stay alive himself and provide for loved ones.

September 22, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger cave_nate said...

It makes life somewhat easier if one generalizes and puts things and people into general categories. Hence the mindless masses marching off the cliff into the ocean.

Of course, it is never that simple…

September 22, 2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger rusty said...

It would be helpful to examine the teachings and thrusts of Islam. Here's a link to a scholar, yes, Jewish, but one who has lived and studies Judaism, Christianity and Islam continuously. Draw your own conclusions:

September 22, 2006 12:12 PM  
Blogger rusty said...

Here's an updated verion of Sharon's understanding [that I beleieve is very accurate.]


September 22, 2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger Road Rider said...

It’s important that we as westerners gain a basic understanding of Islam and a knowledge of Islam’s history. I’ve heard TV commentaries describe Islam as a “religion of peace.” 9/11, along with numerous other terrorist attacks and assassinations over the years, all in the name of Islam, indicate it to be more a religion of violence. Actions speak louder than words.

Regarding understanding Islam, go online and check out Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese citizen, formerly Muslim, now converted to Christianity. Her Speech at Duke University is an eye opening insight into Islam. But there is more. Why is suicide bombing so prevalent in that culture and not so much in others? Why do so many carry their hatred of Westerners so passionately, to the point of passing it on to succeeding generations? Other cultures do this too, but not to the extent that Islamics do.

Being largely ignorant on both counts above, I will only note personal experience. Boberin’s comments, though correct, apply to Western and European thought. My multiple interactions with middle-easterners indicate a starkly different set of attitudes, opinions, and thought processes than we embrace. They view life very differently than westerners do.

For example, charity does not play a major role in their culture as it does in ours. Note the outpouring of charity, in time and money, from private citizens and (Western) relief organizations last year for those stricken by the Gulf-coast hurricanes as well as for those in the tsunami-devastated areas in Indonesia. How much did the wealthy Arab oil magnates contribute? If they did, why didn’t we hear of it? Our Navy provided aid and fresh water for many areas; European and some Far East organizations also contributed, but little if any came from the Indonesia’s fellow Muslim brothers. Some Navy personnel even spoke of providing water to kids wearing bin Laden T-shirts.

Is Islam’s early history based on peaceful spread of their religion, or was it spread by violence and war? What are the basic concepts of Islam? Are they peace-based, or are they predicated on violence?

This information is not hard to learn. Check online or go to a library. Once we as Americans and Westerners understand Islam and its history, we can better assess what we are confronting. And we are confronting a problem, otherwise we wouldn’t be dealing with terrorist attacks, and hate-based threats.

I suspect that this problem is bigger than we realize. Islamic attacks and assassinations go back at least to 1968 when Sirhan Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy. With the exception of the Oklahoma Bombing in 1995, most of these attacks originated from Middle Eastern sources. We are in a war, but a much different one then we’ve ever seen; the battles are infrequent, but savage and violent. The enemy seems to hide and strike from behind innocent civilians. The enemy also seems bent on our destruction.

The sooner we understand the who, what, and why behind this, the sooner we can take effective action. This won’t go away; we must win this, or be destroyed.

September 22, 2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger rusty said...

Back in 1991, when my wife and I traveled to Israel, our guide who was an Israelie Christian, told us that the Muslim community’s wives and husbands were commanded by their Imams to have as many children as possible in order to sacrifice them in the upcoming Intifada. Does this sound like peaceful co-existence? This has come to pass.

September 22, 2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I will grant you the "Moderate" Muslims in Muslim Countries may be afraid to speak,if there are any.But why don't the Mulims living in America condemn any of the heinous actions or the Islamofascists,ever.
No ,the worse the horrible actions of the Islamofascists ,the sooner the "Moderate" American Muslims,rush our to whine,"Now don't pick on us, just because we are the same as those guys whos just committed terrible acts, we are protected by all your laws and besides ,we are the religion of peace. Don't you dare look at our Mosques or our Imam" What you never hear is an apology.

September 22, 2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

No doubt there are plenty of moderate Muslims out there who just want to live their lives in peace, make a living, support a family and not rock the boat. These Muslims are also the ones most likely to keep silent in the face of atrocities committed by their Muslim brethren simply because they don't want to rock the boat. They don't want to be martyrs... and they don't want to be seen as infidels either.

So what do we have then? We've got radical 'Jihadis' and terrorists on one extreme. These people we can clearly label as "Islamofascists".

The 'Jihadis' are supported in spirit (if not in jihad) by another large group of Muslims who have been raised to hate Jews and Christians. These people (who we might call the 'Antagonists') will not strap on an explosive belt, but will join a protest group in a minute, or burn down an embassy in a heartbeat over stupid cartoons. These 'Antagonists' are "Islamofascists" no less than the 'Jihadis'.

Then we've got the 'Sympathizers'. These are Muslims that are easily spurred into action by the 'Antagonists'. They are less likely to burn down an embassy, than they are to burn an American or Israeli flag, or to carry a protest sign.

Then we've got the 'Silent Ones'. Those who I described above that don't want to rock the boat.

Finally, I guess, we've got the 'Moderates'. These are those few who have the guts or the anonymity to actually speak out and question their religion. They are few and far between.

Nobody seems to talk about the 'Moderates'. They don't get press coverage because the liberal media is too busy bashing Bush to let people know there might be a voice of reason amongst Muslims. The MSM is too busy suggesting that Muslims are angry at the U.S. because of Republicans in the Administration and Congress.

So what's a fella to do? Got me! I just post here.

(:D) Regards...

September 22, 2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

Some Muslims teach their children to hate Jews...and everyone else who isn't Muslim. I'm not arguing that point.

But thanks to the "Information Age" ("da 'Net) many of them are learning that things are not quite as those in power would have them believe. It is on them that my hopes are riding.

We seem to be on the same page here, brother.

You're right, it is easier to generalize, but also inaccurate. Painting people with a "broad brush" usually is.

Regarding your updated version of Sharon's article:

There are various perspectives in Islam with different interpretations over the centuries. There were good people that were very enlightened in Islam that tried to understand things differently. They even brought traditions from the mouth of the prophet that women and children should not be killed in war.

These more liberal streams do exist, but there is one thing that is very important for us to remember. The Hanbali school of law is extremely strict, and today this is the school that is behind most of the terrorist powers. Even if we talk about the existence of other schools of Islamic law, when we're talking about fighting against the Jews, or fighting against the Christian world led by America, it is the Hanbali school of law that is being followed.

Those more enlightened "liberal" types of Muslims are the ones I'm hoping will eventually prevail. Unfortunately the more extremist elements, the ones who do not shy away from brutality to achieve their ends, are often the ones who are in power. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, they have to be put down, HARD. Then there are other totalitarian regimes (like the Saudis) who've learned that it's in the be$t intere$t$ to be more reasonable in their dealings with those who don't necessarily follow their belief system.

Road Rider:
I’m going to focus on your statement about charity, as a part of the Islamic culture.

In the Qur'an it says:
"Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."
(Qur'an, 2:274)

The following are some links to Islamic charities:
The tsunami of December 2004
Asia Tsunami Disaster
Hurricane Katrina Disaster
Muslims For Humanity

I agree that this situation won’t just go away; we have to try to foster understanding, but not at the cost of giving in to tyranny...ever.

I would recommend that you check out the "Mission: Imperative!" blog. Those moderate Muslims (American and otherwise) to whom you refer are represented there.

A small sample:
Some accuse the pope of bad timing but I wonder what is going to be the best time to accept criticism and accept questions? Next year? a decade from now? When?

There will be no such time for our clerics who derive their power from this history, and to them, questioning or criticizing this history is a threat to their holiness and power.

The extremists, "Islamofascists", "Jihadis" and terrorists should be fought with everything we can muster. Let's be clear on that point.

But you are quite correct that nobody seems to talk about the moderate Muslims. And they unquestionably exist, as evidenced by the articles posted in that blog I wrote about.

The nation of Israel, in the Torah (or the Old Testament, if you prefer) was ordered by their God to kill people simply for living in the lands that they were supposedly destined to occupy.
(In theory, they are more enlightened nowadays)

Towards the end of the 12th century, the Spanish Inquisition was created by Pope Lucius III. They certainly did their share of killing of Muslims AND Jews.

Christianity was the sole province of the Catholic Church until Martin Luther came along to question many of its doctrines, like keeping people in the dark as to what the Bible actually said, and that didn't happen until the 1500's.
(In theory, Christians are more enlightened nowadays, too)

Islam didn't get started until 600 years after Christianity, so they've got some catching up to do. They're a little bit "behind the curve" as it were. Hopefully, what with the power of the Internet to teach people living under the tyranny and oppression of some totalitarian regimes, they can get "up to speed" quicker than the Jews and Christians did.

I am BY NO MEANS suggesting that we give in to the extremists. I'm merely trying to offer encouragement to those who are trying to foster understanding between cultures, wherever they may be...

September 22, 2006 11:45 PM  
Blogger JR said...

Well the next time I hear muslin children singing songs about using the skull of a dead jewish baby to knock on the gates of heaven so they can enter, I will try to remember to foster some understanding...

What songs did you sing when you went to church as a child???

September 23, 2006 1:07 AM  
Blogger benning said...

There's also Iraq the Model for a moderate voice.

The problem for me is using the word "moderate" as a modifier. A "Moderate" barbarian remains a barbarian. If a Muslim hies to the tenets found within the Koran, he can not actually be "moderate" compared to a Western believer. Islam allows nothing less than complete submission.

Now, Muslims by and large may well abhor what the so-called radicals are doing in the name of Islam, but the Koran is not the Bible. To follow the Bible allows much elbow-room for differing opinions. The Koran doesn't. Yes, there are Muslims who would never kill, never attack physically. But that doesn't mean they are not willing to lie to further the goals of Allah.

They remind me of Communists. Anything that furthers the goals is acceptable. Anything. Therefore, until I see the "moderates" marching in protest of the actions of the "radicals" I will remain leery of them.

September 23, 2006 7:42 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Well then,that changes everything.
We must kill Muslim Radicals only in moderation.

September 23, 2006 9:14 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

To answer your question, one song in particular comes to mind..."Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world."

ALL of them.

Iraq the Model is one of the sites linked and posted there, as a matter of fact. The sample I posted in my previous comment came from there.

Obviously, change is needed in the way Muslims apply what is written in the Qur'an. Much the same as how we don't go around stoning adulterers for example, per the Torah/Old Testament. Like I also said in my prior comment "they're a little bit behind the curve", so they've got some catching up to do. Some of them seem to "get it". They are the ones I appreciate.

Not at all; Muslim radicals we must kill most thoroughly...

September 23, 2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger camojack_senior said...

In my opinion the golden rule
applies here most handily.
know your enemy.
They are our enemy.

September 23, 2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

The radical, extremist ones?

They are definitely our enemy...

September 23, 2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger darth_meister said...

So if we should have moderation in all things, does that mean our moderation should be moderated?

Sometimes I come on pretty strong about mainline Muslim fundamentalism not adequately distinguishing itself from more extremist forms of Islam, but given the Muslims tepid attempts OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS to go after those who are committing murders explicitly in the name of Allah, the Koran, Mohammed and Islam, an honest person really does have to wonder if Islam was ever a "religion of peace." History does seem to record that Muslims are "peaceful" when they don't bear a sword big enough to advance their Islamic hegemony. And Islam does teach that Islam can be brought to the infidel at the point of the sword - and sometimes may even be the preferred method of intimidation.

There is a serious school of thought which embraces the notion that Muslim radicals are the vanguard of this third attempt at subjugating Europe (and America if possible), and the mainline Muslims have their fingers to the wind to see if the infidels are able to defend themselves against such jihadist depradations of their brethren. And if the west cannot or does not defend itself can one guess on which side of the line in the sand the mainline "moderate" Muslim will fall?

The Koran has far, far too many open-ended commands for Islamists to murder the infidel. We merely need to listen to those Koranic passages being quoted by the jihadist to justify their murders. The New Testament has nothing like those commands, and the honest student of the Old Testament realize that those commands given by Jehovah to the children of Israel were precisely that, commands given to the Israelites to cleanse the Promised Land of various peoples guilty despicable immoral practices and at times visiting inhumane atrocities even unto their own children.

September 24, 2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger rusty said...

Darth Meister,

IMO, you've made some very important observations.

September 24, 2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

"Moderation in all things" was merely a title for the post. Don't read too much into it; as a matter of fact, I believe that we should be quite immoderate in our response to terrorism and terrorists.

Verses can be (and often are) taken out of context all the time, to suit various agendas. This is done with the Bible as well as the Qur'an.

Regarding your assertion that the "New Testament has nothing like" the commands in the Qur'an, what about these:

Jesus said:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
(Matthew 10:34)

He also said:
"But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.
(Luke 22:36-38)

As for the Qur'an, check out the following verses.

"Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans - whoever believeth in God and the Last Day and doeth right - surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve"
(Qur'an 2:62)

"Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind."
(Qur'an 5:32)

"Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and in the race for a garden wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the righteous- (the righteous are) those who spend whether in prosperity or adversity, who restrain anger and who pardon all people. For God loves those who do good."
(Qur'an 3:133-134)

"Invite all to the way of your God with wisdom and beautiful preaching. And argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. For your God knows best who have strayed from his path and who receive guidance. And if you do respond to an attack, respond no worse than they did. But if you show patience, that is indeed the best course. Be patient- for your patience is from God...Indeed, God is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good."
(Qur'an 16:125-128)

"O You who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor, for God can best protect both. Follow not the cravings of your hearts, lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well acquainted with all that you do."
(Qur'an 4:135)

"To those who persevere in doing good is a reward more than in measure. No darkness nor shame shall cover their faces. They are companions of the garden where they will live forever. But those who have earned evil will have a reward like evil. Humiliation will cover their faces. They will have no defender from God."
(Qur'an 10:26-27)

"The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree), but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from God, for God does not love those who do wrong. But indeed if any do help and defend themselves after a wrong done to them, against such there is no cause of blame. The blame is only against those who oppress men with wrongdoing and insolently transgress beyond bounds through the land, defying right and justice, for such there will be a penalty grievous."
(Qur'an 42:40-43

I get a strong impression that a lot of those who have commented on this thread haven't even bothered to read any of the things posted at Mission: Imperative!.

That last wasn't meant for you, since you've already told me that you have checked it out...

September 25, 2006 1:25 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

One of the interesting things about sending your kids off to school in California is that they come back with the 'multicultural' experience. Both my son and daughter in law (he's a cop, she's a teacher, both are conservatives) ended up living and making friends with a wide assortment of people, including Muslims. To this day, one of my DIL's best friends is a Muslim girl.

I can't help but think that was a good thing. It also scared the crap out of them.

Both hold no brief for some of the attitudes they see in that community. But you cannot judge an entire group, or a race, in the aggregate for there are always plenty of reasonable individuals who don't conform to stereotypes.

You can't escape the bell curve, no matter where you go. No group is monolithic, no group is free of its nonconformists, its freethinkers, its dissenters, its reformers, its dreamers; just as no group (and Americans are no exception) is free of its whack jobs, liars, malicious troublemakers, anarchists. Just look at Congress.

September 25, 2006 4:40 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

I generally tend to oversimplify my view of humanity (all of it!) into thirds; good, bad and in between/indifferent.

However, your bell curve analogy is a much more accurate description of the reality of the situation...thanks.

September 25, 2006 6:41 AM  
Blogger Beerme said...

It is my fervent hope that a continued advance toward freedom and democracy will enable all muslims to become educated and "moderate"...

September 25, 2006 10:03 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

Thirds works for me too, camo :)

September 25, 2006 5:22 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

I am glad that we're on the same page on this matter.

You're too good to me...thanks.

September 25, 2006 6:50 PM  

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