We have been led to believe by our politicians that there are two types of Islam:
1. Fundamentalist Islam (an enemy to Western society), and
2. Moderate Islam (a friend of Western society).
We have already been told that there are Fundamentalist and Moderate Muslims, and this is a contention which we absolutely believe to be true. However the contention of this essay is that whilst there may be Moderate Muslims that there is no such thing as Moderate Islam.
We all know what the Fundamentalist Muslim creed is - it is defined by the Koran and by Islamic traditions. It has been clearly stated over and over again by dedicated Muslims. It has been publically subscribed to and endorsed over and over again. It has been demonstrated in acts of terrorisms, murder of converts, abuse of women, and more. But where can we find a Moderate Islamic creed? Where is it stated?
In Christendom there are many denominations, some conservative and some liberal. They all have statements of faith or creeds that are written down. They are represented by different churches with members in them. You can point to published statements of their belief and to the people who subscribe to them, and those people will stand for what they believe. But can the same be said of 'Moderate Islam'? Where are there mosques with Moderate Islamic Creeds? Where are their members? Where will you find mosques listed as 'fundamentalist' or 'moderate'?
I have yet to see any. Like I said, I believe there are Moderate Muslims - millions of them - but I do not believe they belong to any Moderate Muslim sect or denomination, because no such sect exists. If such a denomination existed within Islam, then it would have a creed which, anyone reading it who is not a Muslim, would immediately recognise it as 'Moderate Islam'.
I have heard that in Turkey such a creed is being drawn up for a counter-fundamentalist Muslim Movement but I have yet to see it or hear of anyone who wants to belong to it. Until that is made public, we must assume no such creed or movement exists.
What would constitute Moderate Islam? How could someone who adheres to and practices 'Moderate Islam' be defined? For one thing, they would repudiate all the excesses of Fundamentalist Islam which have already been identified, and in so doing align themselves with the society of the West.
The following six declarations have been formulated which all Moderate Muslims, their Immam's and their mosques should be able to accept if they are truly 'Moderate'. They should be able to endorse the following principles of Moderate Islam, sign such a document, and proclaim it proudly to the world as a atrue embodiment of their faith and repudiation of violence and mmiorality. If they can't then there is no such thing as Moderate Islam! And if that is true, then Islam as a whole is a menace to society.
MODERATE ISLAMIC DECLARATION
I (We) are Muslims want contemporary understandings of Islam to replace currently predominant harsh and radical (Salafi/Wahabbi) interpretations of our religion. We therefore declare that:
1. Redda Law, the Sharia Law that allows the killing of Muslims who convert to other faiths, must be banned in Islamic teachings and in Sharia legal doctrine. Islamic countries that practice Sharia must stop the practice of this law and must admit that Freedom of belief and the right to convert to other faith or believe is a basic right that must be given to all Muslims.
2. Current mainstream Sharia doctrines justify the use of violence against women. They encourage men to beat their wives to discipline them. They allow women accused of adultery to be stoned to death. These doctrines are barbarically inhumane, non-egalitarian, and teach Muslim children to be violent. These teachings must be ended by reinterpreting the Islamic text that justifies such violence.
3. Traditional Sharia doctrines teach Muslims that they must engage in war so that Islam will dominate the world. When Islam becomes dominant, Non-Muslims are offered three options: to convert to Islam, to pay Jizzia (a humiliating tax), or to be killed. These doctrines run contrary to modern respect for diversity and for personal freedom of speech and belief. This understanding of Jihad that seeks domination of Islam over other peoples must no longer be regarded as an Islamic value and its teaching as a duty for Muslims must end.
4. The early Islamic wars known as Futohaat Islameia were fought to implement this doctrine of Jihad. These wars therefore should now be regarded as un-Islamic and un-justifiable.
5. Jews are individuals who deserve the same respect accorded to all individuals. They should not be called "pigs and monkeys." The Islamic teaching that Muslims must fight and kill all Jews before the end of days is totally incorrect and unacceptable as it does not exist in the Quran. All teachings that encourage anti-Semitic attitudes, violence or disrespect toward Jews - or any other group of people - must be declared un-Islamic.
6. Slavery is a crime against humanity. All Sharia laws that justify slavery in our modern times must not be taught any more. Muslim scholars must have a clear and loud voice against slavery.
7. Islamic Sharia laws currently permit killing homosexuals. These laws also are advocating a crime against our fellow human beings. They must be declared un-Islamic and their implementation must be considered criminal.
Until such a document is signed by large numbers of Moderate Muslims and publically proclaimed, I am forced to conclude that either:
1. 'Moderate Islam' does not in fact exist and that the fundamentalists are, in fact, authentic Muslims; and/or
2. Moderate Muslims are, in fact, either only pretending to be, are of two minds, or are simply nominal Muslims who do not take their faith seriously.
Can there be any other conclusion? Can someone suggest what a Moderate Muslim statement of faith might be?
This is not a 'politically correct' view but at least it is reality. And the longer recognising this to be true is delayed or denied, the greater will be the peril of the Western World that we know.
I have many Moderate Muslim friends but all of them might be termed 'nominal'. Those who have any religious sentiments tend to just shut out the reality of the fundamentalist religion and pretend it is not 'Islamic'. The others tend to be secular Muslims who view Islam more as a cultural phenomenon that evolves and changes, rather like secular Jews who claim to be 'Jewish' but are not religious. Finally, when it comes to Arab Muslims, and particularly to those who view themselves as Moderate Arab Muslims, there is a sense - and always has been - that 'Muslim' and 'Arab' are somehow interchangeable terms, without really considering why. (See, The Arab Heart: Understanding the Sons of Ishmael).