The Real Muslim Moderates — The Boston Globe

FOR YEARS, Muslims have been criticized for their seeming complacency about Islamic terrorism. Time and again, Islamist radicals have committed some savagery, and time and again non-Muslims have wondered why there was no outcry of condemnation from the Islamic world. Let a fictional TV show depict Muslims unflatteringly, and Muslim spokesmen thunder in outrage. Where is that outrage when real atrocities are being carried out by killers professing Islam? Good news: Since 9/11 a growing number of Muslim moderates have been speaking out. They have denounced the jihadis’ ideology as a perversion of Islam and a disgrace to Muslims everywhere. More important, they have emphasized that decent Muslims have an obligation to enlist in the war on terror — not merely to denounce the fanatics from afar, but to delegitimize and defeat them at home. As Anouar Boukhars, a Moroccan graduate student at Old Dominion University, has written, this war is ultimately ”not a clash between Islam and the West. The real battle is taking place within a Muslim civilization in severe internal crisis, and the stakes of that battle are high indeed.” Another moderate is Zuhdi Jasser, a doctor and US Navy veteran who launched the American Islamic Forum for Democracy in 2003. The forum’s stated purpose: ”to take back the faith of Islam from the demagoguery of the Islamo-fascists.” Writing after the London bombings last month, Jasser argued forcefully that it is not enough for well-meaning Muslims to issue ”empty condemnations” of the extremists. ”As Muslims we must help bring these barbaric Islamists to justice and assist in dismantling the systems that create them,” he wrote. ”We can publicly embarrass radical imams and organizations . . . We can publicly expose the twisted interpretations of the Koran . . . We need to force a public debate with the Islamists, not run from it . . . It is time to . . . teach Muslims to dismantle terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah . . . The war against Islamo-fascism has many fronts, and moderate Muslims need to be leading the struggle.” Other anti-Islamists include Mansoor Ijaz, who says Muslim communities should form ”watch groups” to monitor the activities of Islamist radicals; Ahmed al-Rahim, who calls for a ”Million Muslim March” — a massive denunciation of the jihadis and their teachings; and Kamal Nawash, who declares bluntly: ”Throughout the Islamic world, we must acknowledge that we have a problem of fanaticism, we have a problem of terrorism, and it is our responsibility . . . to stop this.” The rest of Jeff Jacoby’s column can be found at this link at the Boston Globe