The “Moderate” Side of Islam

A lot of people seem to think that Islam isn’t the cause of a lot of the world’s problems today, but I disagree.  Recently, there was a fight on a local radio show between the host and a Muslim caller who insisted that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are “moderate” and don’t support the extremism that we’re seeing out of groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.  However, in every single worldwide survey that we see, a huge number of these so-called moderates do support exactly that kind of thinking.  The only possible exceptions might come from the western world, with Muslims who were born here and grew up thinking that a secular worldview was the only kind worth following.

The impetus for the discussion was comments made by local politician Loretta Sanchez, who used statistics from the new book by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue, where Harris claims that between 5-20% of all Muslims support religious extremism.  Now I have no idea where he gets those numbers and it doesn’t matter, but it does seem to agree with the majority of figures I see.  Muslims get mad that these facts come to light, I get mad because the Muslims aren’t taking responsibility for the things done in the name of their own religion.

So let’s look at the image I’ve included, which comes from a recent Pew Research study.  Exactly where does “extremism” end and “moderate Islam” begin in this image?  If there are 1.62 billion Muslims and the overwhelming majority think that the wife should obey the husband, is that extremism?  How about the 1.1 billion that think that Sharia Law should be the law of the land everywhere?  Extremism or moderate?  What about the 748 million who think that adulterers should be put to death?  Or the 584 million who want death for leaving Islam?  Where are the lines drawn?  What makes a moderate?  And if these things are signs of extremists, then just how many moderates are there actually in Islam?

Not to give any credit to Christianity, but you don’t see those kinds of numbers among Christians.  It is a tiny minority who are vocally for killing gays and bombing abortion clinics.  There are reasons why the Westboro Baptists only have a handful of members.  Hardly anyone takes these ideas seriously except in the most backwoods places and even there it’s a shrinking percentage.  What is it about Islam that makes such a huge percentage of believers cling to such violent and anti-social beliefs? And why don’t the so-called moderates call them out on it?  Where are the overwhelming majority of “peaceful Muslims” when ISIS strikes, except to scream “it wasn’t us!” I don’t care if it wasn’t you, you do bear some responsibility to reign in the crazies in your own religion, what the heck is wrong with you people and why aren’t you doing it?

I don’t think Islam is a moderate religion.  It certainly isn’t a “religion of peace”.  Of course, there’s no such thing as a “religion of peace”.  Just ask the Muslims in Myanmar that are being killed by the supposedly peaceful Buddhists.  All religions are potentially  violent unless held in check by secular society.  Let’s not fool ourselves.  Islam is as much a problem today as Christianity was in the middle ages in Europe and for the exact same reasons.  Until Islam has been neutered by secular society worldwide, we’re going to continue to have problems.  Let’s not pretend otherwise.

2 thoughts on “The “Moderate” Side of Islam”

  1. "If there are 1.62 billion Muslims and the overwhelming majority think that the wife should obey the husband, is that extremism? "

    I doubt it is. There are plenty of Christians who hold this same view. There are a great many male sexists who hold this position for reasons having nothing to do with their religion. Are we to also call all of them extremists? I'd say they are obnoxious sexist assholes, but extremists is not a term we normally associate with these sexist assholes.

  2. To follow your line of reasoning, do you not bear some responsbility for calling out the loons, extremists, and crazies in your own political camp? Why aren't you writing frequent blog posts criticizing the batshit crazy stuff that comes out of the mouths of so many politicians, pundits, and commentators on the political right (your fellow conservatives). And note that I said frequent blog posts. Writing about them every once in a great while is not exactly meeting the standard you are setting here for moderate Muslims to call out extremist Muslims. By the way, there have been instances of Muslims calling out the extremists in their religion. You'd know this if you bothered to actually research it. Problem isn't that Muslims are not denouncing extremism and terrorism inflicted in the name of Islam. Problem is that the media and people like yourself are choosing to ignore that it is happening and/or making no effort to actually inform themselves of this. It's called willful ignorance.

    This said, I agree that Islam needs to be reformed from within its on ranks. But people like yourself actually hinder this effort by spreading the false impression that there are no Muslims speaking out about the violence perpetrated by extremist, fundamentalist Muslims. Below are some examples of Muslims speaking out.

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