The Mythical Moderate Muslim

Primitive tribes offer sacrifices hoping to mollify whatever nonexistent beings they believe in.

The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman belongs to a very sophisticated tribe that, according to the recently retired Malaysian Prime Minister, rules the world by proxy.

One would think Mr. Krugman should be above such crude superstitions.

Nevertheless, in his column on October 21, he suggests that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld should fire General Boykin in order to mollify moderate Muslims.

General Boykin, the leading anti-terror expert at the Pentagon and a devout Christian, had openly and publicly, on several occasions, expressed his personal opinion of Islam, which happens to be rather low.

Considering where the terror is coming from, this is far less surprising than Mr. Krugman's eagerness to sacrifice both General Boykin and the First Amendment to mollify moderate Muslims.

I'd like to ask Mr. Krugman what gives him a reason to believe that the beings he is trying to mollify actually exist.

The official, politically correct point of view says that Islam is just another monotheistic religion, not that different from Judaism or Christianity.

If that is true, then moderate Muslims must exist, just like moderate members of other faiths.

However, moderate members of other faiths do not require sacrificial mollification -- that's basically how we tell moderates from extremists.

Therefore, either moderate Muslims are mythical creatures, or we need substantially different criteria to identify them.

That dilemma alone should make us suspicious as to whether Islam is "just another religion".

Obviously, it is important that we determine how a moderate Muslim can be distinguished from a Muslim extremist.

Why not ask Muslims themselves?

Irshad Manji, a young Canadian author, has published a book titled The Trouble With Islam

Since we don't hear too many Muslim voices criticizing their religion, her book deserves our attention.

This is what the author herself says on her website:

"I appreciate that every faith has its share of literalists. Christians have their Evangelicals. Jews have the ultra-Orthodox. For God's sake, even Buddhists have fundamentalists. But what this book hammers home is that only in Islam the literalism is mainstream."

Apparently, the terms literalism and fundamentalism in the quotation above are used interchangeably, as synonyms of religious extremism. Unfortunately, the author fails to mention the most important difference between "literalists" in Islam and other religions. Evangelical Christians may believe that heaven is reserved for them alone.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews may display intimate understanding of the murkiest places in the Talmud.

I have no idea what extreme fundamentalist Buddhists do that sets them apart from their moderate coreligionists.

What I do know however is that no religion except Islam pursues the idea of physical extermination of those who believe differently.

The concept of holy war is unique to Islam.

Jihad is the absolute monopoly of Muslims.

There is no parallel to it in any other religion in the world. (Yes, I have heard about Crusades, but Christianity does not mandate them, and do you know when the last Crusade ended?)

So, here we have it in plain English, as simple as A, B, C:

  1. According to the Koran, holy war against the infidels is a sacred duty of every Muslim.
  2. According to Ms. Manji, mainstream Muslims interpret Koran literally. The conclusion is inevitable:
  3. Mainstream Muslims perceive war against the infidels -- meaning you and me -- as their sacred duty. Once you understand that, you don't need books to explain to you what exactly the trouble with Islam is.

The trouble with Islam derives from the fact that mainstream Islam openly calls for murder of all infidels.

That's why Islam is not "just another religion". That's what, in my view, allows to classify all its followers as extremist.

What then, besides our stubborn, groundless faith in the general goodness of our fellow human beings, leads us to believe that moderate Muslims are not just a figment of our imagination?

How do they manifest themselves in the real world?

It would be utterly useless to look for them in Gaza, Judea, or Samaria.

Unlike bin Laden, terrorists occupying Israeli lands do not live in caves.

They live in small towns, villages and crowded refugee camps where everyone knows everything about everyone else.

They couldn't survive for a day without popular support.

When someone gives them a reason to doubt the sincerity of his support, they label him a collaborator and murder him on the spot.

Indeed, the PA-sponsored educational system guarantees that innocent children are indoctrinated in the most murderous variety of Islamic extremism -- thereby losing their innocence -- at the earliest possible age.

Therefore, in Israel, a moderate Muslim is a dead Muslim, which is bad news for those who want us to believe that there is a peaceful solution to the continuing Arab war against Israel.

Let's look elsewhere.

Afghanistan, liberated by the United States from the medieval tyranny of the Taliban is about to publish the draft of its first constitution.

Their new constitution is going to be firmly based on Islamic principles.

The country itself is soon to be renamed the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

We wouldn't call a Jew or a Christian who wanted his religion to become the basis of his country's constitution a moderate, would we?

Here, in the United States, we value the separation of church from state so much that we launch court battles to remove the Ten Commandments and every reference to God from everything that is even remotely related to the government.

If Islam is "just another religion", shouldn't the same criteria apply to Muslim countries?

And if the same criteria do apply, we have to conclude that President Karzai installed in Afghanistan by the American military and unable to survive now or in the foreseeable future without the American military presence, is not a moderate Muslim, but an outright religious extremist.

His "Very correct" remark to Mahadir's call for the extermination of Jews shows that he is a political extremist as well.

Therefore, the only practical question regarding Afghanistan is why did the United States have to waste lives of its soldiers and tens of billions of dollars in order to replace one bunch of Muslim extremists with another?

It might have been worthwhile had it improved our security at home, but, as we know, that didn't happen.

Therefore, we have to conclude that the United States has once again won a battle but lost the war.

Next, the same will inevitably happen in Iraq.

Desperate search for moderate Muslims goes all around the world.

It is especially urgent in Europe whose face is being irreversibly altered by mass immigration from Islamic countries.

Recently, the British government appealed to the growing British Muslim community to isolate extremists in their midst.

It's not hard to predict the response.

Actually, there will be no response, because everyone in any Muslim community is an extremist.

Such is the nature of Islam, and the only thing that I find hard to comprehend is the self-imposed blindness of the British government.

Apparently, such is the price of liberalism and political correctness. Bye-bye, Europe. We are next.

I don't think World War II could be won if the Allies, instead of eradicating Nazism, attempted to replace Nazi extremists with moderate Nazis.

Actually, nobody was looking for moderate Nazis during World War II.

But those were simpler, purer times.

Today, the mythical moderate Muslim remains the focal point of the US foreign policy in the Middle East.

The blind faith in his existence has already led the United States to many monumental failures, and many more are to be expected in the future.

Meanwhile, the moderate Muslim, along with the Big Foot, the unicorn, the Loch Ness monster, remains more elusive than a cure for cancer: there is at least a theoretical possibility that a cure for cancer can be found one day, unless of course Islam takes over and drags us all down into its own endless Dark Ages.

[ Yashiko Sagamori ]