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Culture Beat / Feb. 8, 2017

A Rare Muslim Voice Condemning Radical Islam

Sadly, the movement to reform Islam gains little popular support.

One of the biggest points of contentions between liberals and conservative regarding radical Islamic terrorism is calling it what it is, “radical Islam.” Many have argued that to attach the term “Islam” to the actions of these radicals is to negatively paint the entire religion as a promoter of terrorism. There is no doubt that radical Islamic terrorists have indeed given Islam a bad name, but the lack of a strong and leading voice from moderate Muslims speaking out against these terrorists and their actions hasn’t helped either.

Part of the problem is that by its very doctrine, Islam is a religion that does not recognize the concept of a true separation of church and state, or rather mosque and state. It was a religion birthed by a warrior-prophet who spread his teaching through conquest, not an uncommon practice in his day. The political concept of a separation of church and state, while commonly accepted in the West, is in reality uniquely rooted in the Enlightenment interpretation of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The point being, while the vast majority of Muslims do not condone the actions of these terrorists, they may struggle to separate their fundamental belief that they are to struggle for Islam’s eventual world wide conquest, with that of a government that separates itself from any adherence to Sharia law. In other words, in Islam the two cannot truly be separated.

Secondly, there’s the secular West’s habit of viewing all religions through the lens of false equivalency, most commonly expressed in the absurd statement that “all religions are basically the same.” This assumes that all religiously engaged people are fundamentally motivated by the same principle beliefs and the different religious traditions are little more than expressions of those beliefs dressed up in different vestiges of practice. That is why it is so difficult for the leftists in the West to conceive of a religion being the primary motivating factor for these terrorists. They see that other religions such as Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism are not engaging in similar destructive type actions, so they reason that it cannot be religion at fault.

For Islam to truly gain acceptance in the U.S. one of two things would eventually need to occur. 1) The U.S. would become a predominately Muslim nation adopting the tenants of Sharia law as the foundational rule of the land, which would by necessity mean an end to the Constitution as we know it, or 2) the fundamental transformation of Islam into a religion that would need to reject some of its current foundational beliefs, specifically adopting a position which calls for the separation of the church and state. The problem is like attempting to mix oil and water. The U.S. Constitution recognizes the right of the individual to freedom of religion, but also freedom from religious control. Any religion is welcome so long as it accepts this relationship. Will Islam change and accept?

Well, there is at least one proponent of moderate Islam speaking out strongly against radical Islam, Dr. M Zuhdi Jasser, who just over a year ago founded the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM). His goal is to separate what he calls “politicized Islam” from the “soul of Islam.” His organization states that it is supportive of human rights and favors secular governance and the right to free speech and the freedom to criticize Islam. Dr. Jasser has been especial critical of those who use politically charged terms like “Islamophobia” in an attempt to censor honest dialogue about Islam and the atrocities committed in its name. “Non-Muslims in particular need to learn that it is not bigotry to discuss radicalization,” he argues. “It is not bigotry to want to combat a force — Islamism — that in fact promotes bigotry and violence against all marginalized peoples.”

The trouble is, it’s leftist organizations like CAIR that promote the notion of Islamophobia whenever legitimate concern over the threat of radical Islamic terrorism is publically addressed. So far MRM has gained little public support.

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