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Moving past black-and-white caricatures of one another.

8 January 2011


Muslims protect and greet Orthodox Christians leaving the church where Saturday's bomb blast took place in Alexandria, January 6, 2011, after the Coptic Christmas mass. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has repeatedly poised the question, “Where are the moderate Muslims?” and concluded that the very concept of a moderate Muslim majority was merely wishful thinking. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s assertions are not hers alone. They are shared by many prominent commentators, such as those found on Fox News. It is also a widespread belief among average Americans. But the popular idea that mainstream Muslims do nothing to condemn, or worse, even secretly applaud, the outrages perpetrated in the name of Islam is a misinformed notion. Sometimes error of this belief is demonstrated in dramatic ways.

In the aftermath of the recent violent attacks by Islamist Extremists against Coptic Churches in Egypt, Egyptian Muslim clerics and intellectuals have called on ordinary Muslims to stand outside Christian Churches during their Christmas celebrations both as an act of solidarity and to function as “human shields” against further violence. (More information can be found here, here, and here.) Word was passed around using Twitter and Facebook, and apparently many Egyptian Muslims even changed their profile picture to that of a cross, or a cross and a crescent together to show their solidarity with the Christian minority that were being victimized by the extremists.

It seems that in our current age of sound bites and one-liners, strident if uninformed criticism will always outperform calm, reasoned inquiry. We must move past black-and-white caricatures of one another. They serve the best interests of no one.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 January 2011 4:05 am

    Although it is from last year, I think you may find this book review useful. The author comes from a Muslim perspective and reviews her works. The link is here … it is good to hear other opinions and ideas.

    Hope you find it interesting.

  2. JoeStevens permalink
    12 January 2011 7:21 am

    Mohamed said to lie to the infidel. Actually, the admonition to lie comes from the moon god himself. Mohamed said war against the infidels until they all submit or are all killed. Please tell me where I have misunderstood the Koran.

    Muslims must do good works to get to heaven. Killing Jews and Christians is the only sure way to know if you’ve been a good little Muslim and deserve to go to heaven. So moderate, non-hating Muslims go straight to Hell. Even the pre-logical Muslim mind can figure this choice out, right? A moderate Muslim should become a Christian. No need to hate Jews and you can shuck the head gear and clown pants!

    Moderate Muslim. Moderate Nazi. Moderate mass murderer. All make the same kind of sense, that is, none at all!

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