I was raised Catholic and have at various times in my life experienced Baptist, Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches and Jewish synagogues.
Some are more orthodox than others. But even the Catholic Church, the mother church of Christian orthodoxy, has its unorthodox fringe, both more liberal and more “ultra-orthodox”. I can respect every one of these religions. Even the ones that the failing mainline churches and rabidly narrow evangelical churches call “cults.” Sometimes I especially respect those demeaned by the elitist Christians because they have their special positive strengths and undergo much persecution by other Christians.
When any of the adherents of Christian denominations become ultra-orthodox or really really devout, they don’t become violent. Orthodoxy in the Jewish and Christian traditions breed introspection and pacifism, not supremacism, intolerance, and terrorism.
There is one one “religious” ideology I cannot respect, despite the politically correct demands of progressives for me to do so. And that is Islam. Islam: the fascist, supremacist, intolerant, deceit-laden ideology.
Christian churches have their heads stuck in deep dark places when they continue to devote their resources and energies bashing the Christian “cults” while pursuing “ecumenicalism” with Islam. Or if not ecumenicalism, continuing to equate Allah with the Judeo-Christian God or making nice with their favorite local Imman to demonstrate their outreach and tolerance. All of these actions reveal a gross ignorance of Islam.
Even the claim of “moderateness” by a small minority of Muslims in this country is suspect. Here is an instructive symposium discussing the extent of “moderation” (defined in a variety of ways) of Muslims, featuring the following Islamic experts:
Timothy Furnish, a former U.S. Army Arabic interrogator, he is a consultant and author with a Ph.D. in Islamic History. He is currently working on a book on modern Muslim plans to resurrect the caliphate. His website, dedicated to Islamic eschatology, is www.mahdiwatch.org
Tawfik Hamid, an Islamic thinker and reformer who is the author of Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam. A one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt, he was a member of Jemaah Islamiya, a terrorist Islamic organization, with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, who later became the second in command of al-Qaeda. He is currently a senior fellow and chairman of the study of Islamic radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. is the President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). He claims he is a “devout Muslim” which is ironic and nonsensical given his moderate writings. He is a nationally recognized expert in the contest of ideas against political Islam, American Islamist organizations, and the Muslim Brotherhood. He regularly briefs members of the House and Senate congressional anti-terror caucuses and has served as a guest lecturer on Islam to deploying officers at the Joint Forces Staff College.
Robert Spencer, a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. He is coauthor (with Pamela Geller) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).
My conclusion after reading the narrative of this symposium is this:
Moderate Muslims, defined as those who have dismissed or are ignorant of the Medina portion of the Qur’an, comprise a small minority of Muslims in the world and in the US. Most of these have little influence and are susceptible to easy conversion to aggressive, immoderate Islam given their concentration in Islamic nations abroad and Islamic ghettos in non-Islamic nations. Those who are truly moderate and influential such as Dr. Jasser are hanging their “devoutness” on a very thin thread that is not supported by historic, orthodox Islam. In fact, to call their religion “Islam” seems tenuous if not deceptive.
Until I have reason to believe otherwise, the only logical conclusion I can reach concerning highly educated Muslims who claim devoutness but exude moderation is that they are consciously paving the way toward Islamization of the nations in which they reside. They are laying the foundation for Islamic credibility, hooking major numbers of the population to accept Islam, with the hidden intent to later introduce the real, abrogating, Medina Islam on their hosts. That was Muhammad's method. And that has been the Islamic method throughout history. Some have called this the “Trojan horse” strategy. Sorry, Dr. Jasser. I am not convinced of your “devout” moderation.