Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Search For Moderate Muslims

The support and assistance of moderate, tolerant Muslims would go a long way in the war against Islamists. Since the terrorist attacks in London and Egypt, there have been more reports of Muslims speaking out against terrorism. Of course it is important for them to denounce the terrorists and their ideology, rather than just terrorist acts.

It is encouraging to hear this:
Moderate Moslem voices are now being heard, which is a major victory in the war on terror. Since the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism in the 1990s, one of the major failures of religious and political leadership in the world's Moslem community has been their apparent unwillingness to openly criticize fellow Moslems. While this reticence is not unknown in the leadership of other religions plagued by radical extremists, given the strength and lethality of Moslem radicals, this failure to openly confront the extremists has led to considerable public outcry in the non-Moslem world. Of late, however, there are indications that Islamic religious leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how their failure to speak up has served only to encourage the radicals, while further discrediting Islam in the world at large. For some time now Afghan and Iraqi clerics been speaking up, often at considerable personal risk. By ones estimate some 200 Moslem clerics have been slain in the past year or so because they spoke out. And of late, other voices have been raised as well.

In Britain, the Moslem Council of Britain has strongly condemned the recent attacks in London, one spokesman stating "These terrorists, these evil people want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us. All must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down."
Unfortunately, whenever I start to feel optimistic, I find that there are still too may people like this:
The most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham claimed yesterday that Muslims were being unjustly blamed in the war on terrorism and that the eight suspects in the two bombing attacks on London "could have been innocent passengers".

Mohammad Naseem, the chairman of the city's central mosque, called Tony Blair a "liar" and "unreliable witness" and questioned whether CCTV footage issued of the suspected bombers was of the perpetrators.

He said that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda".
What else is there to know about Mr. Naseem? He "is one of the most respected Muslims in the city and is considered a moderate."

Isn't that comforting?