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will the moderate moslems please stand up

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 5 years, 7 months ago

Like you, I have heard a lot in the last little while about "moderate Islam". This perhaps hypothetical religion is contrasted to "radical Islam", about which we've also heard a great deal... all of it bad.


After that start, perhaps I don't need to say that I'm a Christian. But I hope I respect other faiths. I'm interested in learning both about them and from them. I'm even comfortable praying with them in interfaith services.


But Radical Islam isn't interested in praying with me, as I understand it, and that's the least of its many vices.


Its second worst vice is that it apparently permits "forced conversions". Now a forced conversion to Christianity would be a complete nonsense, and frankly I think that any religion that even permits the concept of "forced conversion" is itself a nonsense. I'm of course happy to hear it explained, and I'm aware that some Christians, notably the Conquistadors in South America, have practiced forced conversions. That was some centuries ago, and it's I hope universally agreed to be a shameful episode. It's completely and utterly incompatible with even the most rudimentary theology, and also with even the most rudimentary concept of human rights.


A related issue that some would find even more serious is that Radical Islam apparently permits forced marriage... generally of course a man "marries" an unwilling girl. Again, even the most rudimentary concept of human rights would call this rape, and the whole of Radical Islam an accessory before and after the fact to this crime, and the systematic failure to address this a crime against humanity.


And of course there is the murder of many innocent victims in acts of terrorism. After the bombings of Coventry and Dresden and Tokyo and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of them by countries that are part of Western Christendom, we should perhaps not be too quick to judge. But two wrongs do not make a right.


But the most serious crime of Radical Islam is none of these, although it is related. The most serious thing is that all of these crimes are being committed in the name of God.


The God of the Bible takes this sort of insult very seriously indeed, and what little I know of the Koran suggests that Allah is of a similar mind. If you believe in hell, then the murder of a defenseless and innocent person is probably a very good way to get there. But to shame the name of God by claiming that your crime is a holy spiritual act of worship and obedience... now that's likely to make God really, really angry, is it not?


There are only two logical possibilities that could explain the actions of Radical Islam. One is that these men are simply hypocrites, and have no fear of God simply because they don't really believe in one. That's my guess in most cases. Consciously or not, they are using their sham religion as a smokescreen for a campaign of rape and plunder. And this also explains very neatly why they can accept the validity of the nonsense of forced "conversion". They don't expect a convert to really believe, any more than they themselves really believe. How could they expect it?  


The other is that they are insane, at least temporarily. That's probably true in some cases too, and if so that's a legitimate excuse. The culprits are those that have driven them insane, and again Western Christendom has a case to answer. And again, two wrongs don't make a right.


But what of "Moderate Islam"? It doesn't blow up school buses, or kidnap young girls to sell as sex slaves, or execute those whose only "crime" is not to submit to the sham of forced "conversion". I hear you say: It's OK, surely?


No, it's not even one little bit OK. The only crime of "Moderate Islam" is also the worst crime of Radical Islam. It tolerates, most often by silence, the rape and murder that appear to be an integral part of Radical Islam, and even more important it tolerates the claim that these crimes are the will of God.


And "Moderate Islam" has no excuse. Its practitioners are not insane, and nor are they ignorant of these crimes. Their only crime is apathy, an apathy that is hard to understand in terms of their professed belief in a God who is proud of his name. Are they any more sincere in their belief in this God than those who practice Radical Islam?


Or are those who are sincere so few that they have no voice? No hand to save the innocent? Does Radical Islam at least give courage to its believers, but Moderate Islam only cowardice and equivocation? I know these are strong words. But rape and murder call for a strong response. And if Radical Islam is as phony a religion as it appears to be, and its so-called God as tolerant of the human lust for conquest as Radical Islam shows, then the blasphemy this represents calls for an even stronger response on the part of Moderate Islam... assuming that Moderate Islam is not equally phony.


I think God has definite ideas about those who permit his name to be slandered in this way. So if you are a "moderate Moslem", and believe in hell, I think you should be afraid. Be very, very afraid.


There are now some belated and half-hearted attempts by "moderate" Islamic leaders to claim that Radical Islam is not Islam at all. That's a start. But words are cheap.


Here is one suggestion of action: Ban Radical Moslems from the Haaj. If they are not really Moslems at all, why are they tolerated there? Members of other faiths aren't. Mecca is such a closed city that construction supervisors work remotely by closed circuit television if they're not themselves Moslems. The Saudi government claims to practise moderate Islam. Let their actions approve their words.


Don't hold your breath.


So suggestion two: A temporary, public boycott of the Haaj by Moderate Islam. The obligation is only to go (or sponsor if yourself unable) once in a lifetime, so it's not going to be a great hardship to forgo it for one or two years, even for four or five.


To attend the Haaj alongside those who shame Islam in the way that Radical Islamists do is an insult to God, surely? So stand up and be counted. Talk to the Saudi authorities by all means, but if they won't take effective action, the only possible response is to boycott the Haaj. Probably only one year would do the trick. If it happened.


And it doesn't even take a lot of courage. A few high-profile Islamic leaders need to publicly support it to get it started, and they will then be targets, but perhaps, asking for some courage from them is not unreasonable? And most Moderate Moslems, even most Islamic clergy, don't need to make a big thing of it. Just quietly put off your trip for a year or two, and the numbers will tell the story without identifying any individual person.


And perhaps that is already happening! Fascinating thought? If the HaaJ looks like becoming a purely Islamist convention that Moderate Moslems are afraid to attend, perhaps the Saudis might then take action? Perhaps. 


But I predict, again, don't hold your breath. The words of Moderate Islam may say they are a different religion, but their actions say that they are the same religion, or at least that the differences don't matter very much to them. Perhaps Islam, and the Haaj, can be saved and are worth saving. Perhaps. In my opinion the jury is still out, but the evidence gives no great reason for hope. 


I think the world should be and is watching to see whether Moderate Islam shows any more true religious conviction, and their God any more moral authority, than the little if any that we see in Radical Islam. I really hope they do, but again, don't hold your breath.


See also Islam and Christianity in a few words for some more recent thoughts


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