"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Elusive Moderate Muslim

Robert Spencer, the Director of JihadWatch, has given us three complicating situations:

The situation is complicated by many factors, including:

1. Taqiyya and kitman. These are Islamic doctrines of religious deception. They originated in Shi'ite Islamic defenses against Sunni Islam, but have their roots in the Qur'an (3:28 and 16:106). Many radical Muslims today work hard to deceive unbelievers, in line with Muhammad's statement, "War is deceit."

2. Since most Muslims today are not Arabs but all Islamic worship must be in Arabic, and because the Qur'an itself is in difficult classical Arabic, a significant number of nominal Muslims in the U.S. and around the world have no clear idea of what the Qur'an actually says, or what the traditions of their religion in fact do teach.

This group, of course, is the radicals' largest recruiting ground: again and again -- notably in the case of the Al-Qaeda cell in Lackawanna, New York -- they have radicalized such "moderates" simply by teaching them what the Qur'an says.

The smallest number is a third group: Muslims who know that the Qur'an and other Muslim sources teach violence against unbelievers but are ready to set that aside in all circumstances. "Moderate Islam" as a viable entity is still in an inchoate state theologically; it is largely a cultural habit that is ever vulnerable to being overturned by by-the-book radicals.

Read the rest of Spencer's interesting argument at Human Events Online.


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