The problem today is that we are caught between two lies. The mainstream Western lie is that Islam is a religion of peace, full stop. There is nothing at all militant in its texts. A small fringe of extremists have misinterpreted it, or are even heretics. So all Muslims are moderates pretty much, either moderate moderates or moderate Islamists. And anyone who says otherwise is an Islamophobic racist.
That is a lie.
But then there are those — far smaller in number and lacking power in the mainstream media or universities but present in other places — who say Islam is the problem, full stop. It is inevitably militant, extremist, and violent. There is no such thing as political Islamism because all Muslims want Sharia dictatorships. So the radicals are proper representatives and there are few or no moderates at all. And anyone who says otherwise is a wimpy apologist sell-out.
And that’s a lie.
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So let’s get it straight: Revolutionary Islamists are real Muslims with a big base of support who want to impose repressive Sharia dictatorships. They draw on actual Islamic doctrine and can argue that their views are legitimately those of the Koran and the other holy texts. They are not a small minority but a growing mass movement that in places either has majority support or can whip the majority into line. Telling the truth about what is in Islamic texts is an intellectual duty. Showing how radicals use these texts is simple scholarly integrity.
But that doesn’t mean that all of Islam is inevitably radical. It doesn’t mean that the revolutionary Islamists are right and all their Muslim opponents are wrong. It doesn’t mean we don’t have courageous allies among Muslims. And they are far more courageous than the posturing Western ignoramuses who romanticize the revolutionary Islamist murderers.
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