The question to ask is: Is this why we do not see much in the way of "moderate" Muslims opposing "extremist" Muslims, or jihadists, or Muslims who advocate the subjugation of the West to Islam? Is it merely a fear of violent retribution for rewriting the Koran or criticizing Islam's more barbarous practices?
On April 1st, The New York Times reported that the six imams removed from a US Airways flight in Minneapolis last November 20th because other passengers were alarmed by their praying and chanting before boarding the plane are suing both the airline and the passengers whose complaints were documented. The passengers claimed that the imams praised Saddam Hussein, cursed the U.S., and when on the plane, asked for seat belt extenders.
A New York Muslim lawyer, Omar Mohammedi, is representing the imams, and claims that his clients were not praising Hussein, nor cursing the U.S., and that their regular seat belts did not fit. (Which poses a not irrelevant question: Where these imams so obese that they needed "extenders," and if so, why did the imams stow them under their seats?)
Of course, the lawyer can deny that the imams said anything that might have caused alarm in the other passengers. And, of course, a seat belt extender can be used as a weapon to throttle another person or gash his face with the metal end of it. This apparently does not concern the lawyer; he wants the passengers punished for exhibiting "prejudice" and the airline punished for acting on that "prejudice."
As a point of justice, "moderate," milquetoast Muslims deserve all the "prejudicial" flack they get. They have the option - call it volition - of repudiating the creed and discovering reason and individualism. They can neither swear to uphold the Constitution nor advocate a separation of church and state without violating central tenets of Islam, which are as irreconcilable with the idea of secular government as are Christian ones.
While the attack on the Norwegian-Somalian woman is regrettable, the incident simply underscores the problem with the creed; removing one facet of an irrational dogma will not address the fact that the creed sanctions such violence, and always will, until it is thoroughly and mercilessly debunked.
Presumably, the "flying" imams are "moderate" Muslims who just want to be left alone to behave bizarrely in public, and not be unfairly associated with the 9/11 hijackers who also prayed and chanted before driving planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into a Pennsylvania field, shouting "Allah is great!"
On one hand, the U.S. has been targeted by jihadists of the violent and "civil liberties" suasions. On the other, the Christian religious right is gaining more and more power and influence in the U.S., and is allying itself with the environmentalists. It seems that the last vestiges of the Age of Reason and Enlightenment have been abandoned. Whether or not the West, and especially the U.S., will survive this triple onslaught, remains to be seen.
What will not help are articles such as Daniel Pipes' recent article in the New York Sun (April 17), "Bolstering Moderate Muslims," in which he reports and more or less endorses a RAND Corporation study, "Building Moderate Muslim Networks."
Before discussing the report and the goals of the individuals cited in it, Pipes writes:
"Moderate Muslims do exist. But, of course, they constitute a very small movement when compared to the Islamist onslaught. This means that the American government and other powerful institutions should give priority to locating, meeting with, funding, forwarding, empowering, and celebrating those brave Muslims who, at personal risk, stand up and confront the totalitarians."
Leaving aside the question of whether the U.S. government should be fund and "empower" such groups - which it most emphatically should not - what does he think the Bush administration has been doing for the last five years, but seeking out "moderate" Muslims at White House dinners to celebrate Muslim holidays and in other unlikely places?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won't meet directly with the shunned and murderous Muslim Brotherhood, but she will delegate that task to other American diplomats. (The World Tribune, April 12). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, exhibits no fear by meeting with President Assad of Syria, an enabler of Iraqi "insurgents" who regularly slaughter American troops. One cannot make a fundamental distinction between these acts of appeasement.
I am no more interested in bolstering "moderate" Muslims than I am in encouraging "moderate" Christians or "moderate" environmentalists or "moderate" advocates of global warming. Islam and Christianity are certifiable creeds based on the notion of the unprovable, on the exempt-from-reason, on the irrational, on the belief of the existence of omnipotent, omniscient ghosts to whom one must account for one's actions. Both wish to exercise political power over all Americans. Environmentalism and "global warmism" are also fast becoming creeds, also founded on the rejection of reason, the instituting of irrationalism as a policy norm, and man hatred.
The authors of the RAND report, writes Pipes, "grapple intelligently with the innovative issue of helping moderate Muslims to grow and prosper.
"They start with the argument that 'structural reasons play a large part' in the rise of radical and dogmatic interpretation of Islam in recent years. One of those reasons is that over the last three decades, the Saudi government has generously funded the export of the Wahhabi version of Islam. Saudi efforts have promoted 'the growth of religious extremism throughout the Muslim world,' permitting the Islamists to develop powerful intellectual, political, and other networks."Excuse me, but is the issue of which version of Islam is more "radical" or "dogmatic" relevant here? What religious creed is not "dogmatic" and "radical" in its fundamental tenets? All imams and mullahs are but Islamic Jerry Fallwells or Pat Robertsons, the one set wanting to be the messenger of Allah and the scourge of infidels, unbelievers and apostates, the other set starring "kinder, gentler" promoters of Allah, complete with good manners and winning, reassuring smiles.
The RAND study authors "review American efforts to fight Islamism and find these lacking, especially with regard to strengthening moderates. Washington, they write, 'does not have a consistent view on who the moderates are, where the opportunities for building networks among them lie, and how best to build the networks."
Networks? They mean ad hoc associations of "secularists, liberal Muslims, moderate traditionalists, and some Sufis."
"...The study proposes de-emphasizing the Middle East, and particularly the Arab world." It "urges Western governments to focus on Muslims in Southeast Asia, the Balkans, and in the Western diaspora, and to help make their ideas available in Arabic."
"Although 'Building Moderate Muslim Networks' is not the final word on the subject, it marks a major step toward the systematic reconfiguration of Washington's policy for combating Islamism."This is news to me. I was not aware, given the paucity of evidence over the last five years, that Washington was combating Islamism. And instead of proposing that "moderate" Muslims establish of network of talking heads, why doesn't the RAND Corporation take the Bush administration to task for, to name another instance of pragmatist lunacy, seeking to sell the Saudis "up to $10 billion in weapons, including new advanced platforms such as the F-15 and F-16. The negotiations," reports Geostrategy, "have been stuck over the Saudi refusal to accept any restrictions on the use of the U.S. weapons."
"Several U.S. newspapers said Israel has objected to the U.S. weapons sale to Riyadh. The Boston Globe and the New York Times said Israel has expressed concern that Saudi weapons would erode the qualitative edge of the Jewish state against its Arab neighbors."Geostrategy went on to report that the U.S. "has moved to supply the PAC-3 missile defense system to Saudi Arabia," and that in 2006, "the administration approved about $10 billion in Saudi arms requests from the U.S....which included main battle tanks, combat vehicles, upgrades and aircraft systems."
Against whom is all this armament intended - paid for, by the way, by U.S. taxpayers through their gasoline prices? Israel? Iran? Or the U.S. itself? The Saudis are supporting the Sunni "militants" in Iraq, but then so is Iran, in addition to Iraqi Shiites. Remember that it is Saudi Arabia that is openly supporting the "extremist" Wahhabist movement in the U.S. through CAIR and other "moderate" Islamic organizations. Remember also that Saudi Arabia is an enemy of Israel. But, in the White House's view, Saudi Arabia is a "moderate" Arab state and an ally.
"We are committed to Israel's security," said Sean McCormack in the Geostrategy article. "We are also committed to our historical relationships, good, strong relationships with other states in the region, including Saudi Arabia."
You can't have it both ways. In this instance, you can't ensure Israel's security by giving its enemies the means to destroy it. Or do McCormack and his colleagues in the State Department wish that Israel would just go away and stop posing such moral dilemmas? Or do they even see it as a moral dilemma?
"Networking" will solve all our problems. Link up all the tepid, "moderate," ghost-worshipping Muslims in networks to combat an enemy dedicated to destroying the West in the name of a ghost.
If you believe that idea will stop the Islamic onslaught on the West, then you will believe that salmon thrive in Martian rivers and flowers bloom on Venus.
Where do reason, individual rights, freedom and the security of this country come into play in this network? The authors apparently never heard of such ideas.