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Richard L. Benkin,

A Moral Muslim Resistance

Thursday August 30 2007 01:00:41 AM BDT

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin, USA

Yet, Muslim and non-Muslim all declared war on that corruption of a faith and those who appease it. Like the Thugis of India and the Crusaders of Medieval Europe, radical Islamists are destined for the dust bin of history and eternal infamy

In a non-descript office in an undisclosed location in the United States, a group composed of Muslims and non-Muslims recently came together because of their shared conviction that radical Islam is an evil interpretation of the religion of the Prophet that nevertheless has become Islam’s face to the world; and that it was high time for Muslims—the majority of whom think as they do—to take back their faith from these infidels. Some of the Muslims live in North America; others were returning to their homes in Muslim-majority countries. Thus, due to the sensitive nature of their undertaking and the ruthlessness of their opponents, individuals are being quoted anonymously here.

The discussion was marked by strong agreement among the participants, except that those Muslims still living in Islamic countries showed a greater sense of urgency. The Muslims were angry, having watched their faith—the faith they still follow and revere—taken over by groups of their co-religionists “who have no morals and who do not follow the laws of the Holy Quran.” They cited laws about women, other faiths, suicide, and the taking of human life. Moreover, in almost every country where radical Islam has gained influence, they noted, its hard core adherents form a small minority of the Muslim population. As one said, it is like “when you have an airplane with 275 passengers hijacked by three terrorists.”

The non-Muslims were equally fed up: tired of Islamists issuing repeated threats of genocide and virulently anti-Hindu, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic statements. They were tired of that small minority defining what Islam is. And they were even angrier that too often people let them slide. Yet, Muslim and non-Muslim all declared war on that corruption of a faith and those who appease it. Like the Thugis of India and the Crusaders of Medieval Europe, radical Islamists are destined for the dust bin of history and eternal infamy.

In the meantime, westerners have developed two opposite but equally dangerous tendencies in response to the radicals, which do nothing but undermine those Muslims fighting for their religion’s very soul. Islamist terror attacks on the US, Spain, Britain, Tunisia, and elsewhere were wrong by any system of morals and had to be decried, which they were. Nonie Darwish, founder of Arabs for Israel, however, recalls her attempts at getting Arab-Americans to join in the condemnation after 9/11. Responses ranged from silence to statements that the US deserved it.

So we continue to ask: ‘Where are the moderate Muslims who will condemn terror unequivocally; who will condemn Imams and others who provide ideological cover for terrorists and help the weak justify their appeasement?’ And because for the most part only silence comes in response, those two destructive trends emerge. Some respond by trying to create moderate Muslims where they do not exist; for instance, calling PA President Mahmoud Abbas a moderate, though he has not recanted his Holocaust denial and still speaks of a Palestinian state as only the first step in driving out all Jews from the Middle East.

Most western governments have sponsored Muslim groups and individuals who have not even tried to hide their support for Islamist radicals. Those faux moderates cite western foreign policy or Israel’s struggle to stave off genocide to justify Islamist terror; and yet they are called moderate. On the other end of the spectrum, others site verses from the Quran that call for the killing of “infidels” and the eradication of other faiths. And in doing so, they claim that Islam itself is evil. Yet, they forget that similar verses can be found in the holy books of other religions: in the Torah I read weekly; in the Gospels and writings of the Saints, and in other holy books. The real issue is how people act.

The first trend, that of appeasement, essentially denies the existence of an enemy and admits that its adherents will go to any length to avoid immediate violence. The second trend, that of bigotry, writes off one third of the world’s population as irrevocably evil. Both undermine real moderates. The first denies their existence and lionizes our enemies. The second refuses to believe in them and helps the radicals who want to make this a war on Islam.

At meetings like the one described above, Muslims and non-Muslims are joining together to act effectively and change that. But disunity often plagues the resistance against Islamist terror. Muslims at a conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, earlier this year agreed on that very point. They found that Islamists “are united in a worldwide network. Even if they don’t know everybody, they’re linked by the broader organization. To the contrary, we’re fragmented.” Indeed, resistance members are separated by lack of funds and by lack of any common organization. They are also fragmented because while the Islamist organizations brook no deviation from accepted orthodoxy, their opponents represent a range of ideologies and belief systems; and some of them allow those differences to obscure their greater similarities.

Efforts to build a united resistance have encountered another obstacle. “There are too many egos,” one colleague told me. And it is not unusual for social movements to lose their way because of these sorts of divisions. The quiet meetings taking place mostly in the United States are an incipient attempt to overcome these marginal elements of disunity and to develop a unified Resistance that will allow Muslims to work together despite discordant ideologies and beliefs. “If the radicals win,” one told me, “our differences won’t matter anyway. We’ll either be forced to give them up or we’ll be dead.”

Dr. Richard L. Benkin
Special Advisor to The Intelligence Summit on Bangladeshi Affairs
E Mail : drrbenkin@comcast.net


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