A delusion about Muslims

Moderate Islam. What exactly is it?

The debate over the mosque near Ground Zero in New York is taking wings. Largely a local concern for New Yorkers, it has ramifications for all of us. The dominant issue is about competing notions of tolerance and the centrality of  the concept of what exactly constitutes  a  “moderate”, and therefore tollerant Muslim.

A short piece by Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim appeared in The Australian today, extracted from a Wall Street Journal symposium on the question: What Is Moderate Islam?

Anwar made some very reasonable points; that “the quest for the moderate Muslim in the 21st century is akin to the search for the Holy Grail,” given that the association between Islam and terrorism is so wide spread and so constantly being reinforced by the fact of so many atrocities. He feels for ordinary Muslims, “whose identities have been drowned by events beyond their control.”

But some feel you cannot have the one without the other. Rod Liddle in last week’s UK Spectator, commented on the Ground Zero mosque debate. He dares to believe that there is a lot delusion on both sides when discussing issues of moderation and tolerance. Quoting from the illuminating 2006 Pew Research Centre study into Muslim attitudes throughout the world, he concludes rather pessimistically about those whom we in the West are eager to call mostly moderate;

The Pew study discovered that there was not a single Muslim country in the world where the majority of the population was able to accept that the 9/11 terrorists were Muslim, Arabic or anything other than part of the George W. Bush CIA-filthy Jew alliance. There is epic delusion on every side, in other words.

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