Moderate Muslims and Arabs Emerge from the Shadows

After 9/11 it was generally understood that cultivating moderation throughout the Arab and Muslim world was crucial to winning the war on terrorism. Suddenly, the elusive moderate Muslim was much sought after. But after coming to the disappointing discovery that their numbers were few and far between, many Americans became cynical about their existence. モWhere are the voices raised in protestation?ヤ they wondered as the crimes of Islamic terrorism stunned the rest of the world. But even as the West comes face to face with the barbarity of Islamism, the disingenuousness of the Arab media, and the conspiracy-theory-driven Muslim masses, voices of reason have begun to emerge from the chaos. That many of them originated in the West is not surprising; only in a political environment friendly to free expression can such voices truly flourish. But even amidst the dictatorships of the Arab world, a brave few have refused to conform. Fed up with the scapegoating ヨ of Americans, Jews, Christians, and the West ヨ that passes for governance and journalism in their countries, some Muslims have begun writing their own narratives. They suffer intimidation, harassment, and even attacks at the hands of fellow Muslims, but by refusing to cave in to the extremists, they can perhaps pave the way for future generations to follow. Daniel Pipes, Middle East scholar and Bush appointee to the U.S. Institute of Peace (although often falsely accused of the opposite), routinely gives moderate Muslims and Arabs their due. In his article “Moderate Voices of Islam” Pipes calls attention to such writers and activists because, as he puts it, “Promoting anti-Islamists and weakening Islamists is crucial if a moderate and modern form of Islam is to emerge in the West.” Indeed, it behooves those who wish to advance U.S. victory against Islamic terrorism to highlight such voices. For such a struggle cannot be won on the battlefield alone, but must also be fought ideologically. And in order to do so, reform should be encouraged from within. In the United States, organizations such as CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations), beholden to Wahhabist interests in Saudi Arabia, have for too long set the agenda for American Muslims. Issuing selective condemnations of terrorism or none at all, and opposing every U.S. effort to combat Islamism, these groups are part of the problem, not the solution. In contrast, organizations like the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) are shaking the foundations of the American Islamic establishment. Not only do these groups renounce Islamic terrorism and the ideology that fuels it, they also express unconditional support for their country ヨ America, that is. The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism has become increasingly visible on the national scene, with its spokespersons appearing regularly on Fox News and beyond. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) put on the first Muslim-sponsored モRally Against Terrorヤ in the country earlier this year in Phoenix, Arizona. Although the turnout wasnメt huge and members of CAIR reportedly tried to infiltrate the crowd, AIFD should be commended for its efforts. In his articles for the Arizona Republicメs モPlugged Inヤ weblog, AIFD chairman M. Zuhdi Jasser routinely condemns Islamic terrorism, as well as critiquing Arab journalists who provide backhanded support for Islamism. See the full article online at