The Search of the Moderate Muslim
We often hear that Islam is a religion of peace, that the terrorists are extremists and that we should work with the moderate Muslims to build a more peaceful world. The question is however, where are they and who are these moderate Muslims? Let us find one moderate Muslim, peer into his mind and see what he thinks and what his outlook of the world is.
Who is better for this than Doctor Mahathir, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, who stepped down from the office last October? He was hailed to be a moderate Muslim. Prime Minister Mahathir tried to create a modern Islamic country. He believed that Muslims should not just read religious books but also go after science, mathematics and technology and build modern countries. He probably would make a perfect choice for us as the specimen of the moderate Muslim.
Dr. Mahathir stayed in power for 22 years. To do so he played the race card. With his tirades of anti-Western and anti-Semitism and other conspiracy theories he hoped to foster the national cohesiveness among the majority Muslim population.
To get rid of his deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, after he fell from grace, Mahathir jailed him and amidst a barrage of charges, widely believed to have been trumped up by Mahathir himself, accused him of sodomy, claiming that “he himself had conducted the investigation” and that had found him (Mr. Anwar Ibrahim) guilty. This is just to show how committed a moderate Muslim is to democracy and democratic procedures.
However, a couple of weeks ago, in the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) Dr. Mahathir unveiled the real face of a moderate Muslim.
In his speech, which received the approval and applause of the leaders, Kings, and presidents of 57 Islamic countries, Mahathir used the word “enemy” and “enemies of Islam” 17 times.
He said that to the “detractors and enemies”, the Muslims are considered to be sworn enemies who believe Islam promotes terrorism.
He talked about how in the early days of Islam “Allah helped the Muslims to defeat their enemies and to create a great and powerful Muslim civilization” and stated that Muslims today have more wealth (oil) and are more numerous than the early believers and hence they can defeat their detractors and enemies.
He spoke of the “humiliation and oppression” that Muslims suffer in the hands of their “detractors and oppressors”. And he kept repeating, “We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated.”
Of course to incite people to hate you have to make them feel oppressed and victimized. Muslims all over the world are always told that they are being oppressed and victimized. It is not clear however, how and by whom?
Mahathir lamented the disunity of the Ummah (the entire Muslim population) and that they are now divided into thousands of sects that often fight and kill each other.
He groaned, “They will attack and kill us, invade our lands, bring down our Governments whether we are Sunnis or Shiite, Alawits or Druze or whatever.”
He acknowledged that the early Muslims built a great civilization by studying the works of the Greeks and other scholars before Islam and then boastfully added that the “Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their own scholastic heritage.”
Then Dr. Mahathir lamented that halfway through the building of the great Islamic civilization the Mullahs started interpreting the Quran, discouraged the study of science and emphasized only the study of Islamic theology, which lead to the intellectual regression of the Muslims and the demise of Islam.
Not so surprisingly Mahathir also blamed the “western democratic system” for undermining the unity of the Ummah and its division in different political parties and groups who as he said, “claim Islam for themselves and reject the Islam of other parties and refuse to accept the results of the practice of democracy if they fail to gain power for themselves.”
To me it seems using Islam to undermine the democratic procedure, i.e. imposing the rule of Sharia over the will of people is a problem caused by Islam, and not by democracy. This only proves that Islam is incompatible with democracy. However Dr. Mahathir seems to imply that it is democracy, which causes disunity among the Muslims.
He concluded that this weakness of Muslims allowed the Europeans to excise Muslim land and create the state of Israel for the Jews.
Finally he spelled out his solution for the liberation of the Ummah. The solution, according to the moderate Muslim Dr. Mahathir is WAR. But not petty wars as fought by the Islamic terrorists; Mahathir envisioned a big war fought by all the Muslims united against the enemies of Islam.
He encouraged his colleagues to amass “guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships”. He told them that they should encourage learning of science and mathematics and modernize. Not for the well-being and comfort of their people but so that the “Ummah can produce its own weapons and not rely on its detractors and enemies for what it needs most.”
So that is what the Muslims need most. Not food, not medicine, not drinking water and good sanitation, not democracy, not freedom of speech, not respect of their human rights, not equality of rights for their women; but “guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships”. This is what the Muslims need most.
Mahathir condemned those who interpret the Quran superficially and do not understand the importance of the above.
He warned the Muslims for not realizing the need of having the most modern weapons and said “Our detractors and enemies will take advantage of the resulting backwardness and weakness in order to dominate us.”
After exhorting the Muslims to go back to the fundamental teachings of Islam he rightly said “It cannot be that we are all practicing the correct and true Islam when our beliefs are so different from one another.”
He said, “Today we, the whole Muslim Ummah are treated with contempt and dishonor. Our religion is denigrated. Our holy places desecrated. Our countries are occupied. Our people starved and killed.” However he did not specify by whom and how. Who is treating Muslims with contempt and dishonor? Who is denigrating their religion? How are their holy places desecrated? Who occupies their countries? And who is starving the Muslims and killing them? All that may be true, but take the example of Iran. Who is doing all that to the Iranians? Aren’t their own Islamic leaders dishonoring them, killing them and starving them? Isn’t it the corruption of the governments in Islamic countries that is responsible for the dishonor, starvation and murder of the Muslims who live under their rule? Why did Dr. Mahathir try to shift the blame on others when the culprits were right there in front of him?
The governments of the world have gone out of their way to protect the Muslims and Islam. It is in fact the acts of the Muslims themselves that are turning the public opinion of the people in the civilized countries against them and making them suspect that perhaps Islam is responsible for all this violence and terror.
Again playing the card of victimization, Mahathir ruefully pointed out “there is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right. They believe that things can only get worse. The Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. They will forever be poor, backward and weak.”
The fact is however, that it is not the Europeans and the Jews that oppress and dominate the Muslims, keep them backward and weak. It is their Islamic leaders who try to impose the archaic and draconian laws of Sharia on them and deny them democracy and their basic human rights.
Then Mahathir comforted the Muslims by saying “1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategize and then to counter attack. As Muslims we must seek guidance from the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Surely the 23 years’ struggle of the Prophet can provide us with some guidance as to what we can and should do.”
Mahathir is absolutely right. Al Quran and the Sunnah contain the guideline for the Muslims to strategize and then to attack. Al Quran tells Muslims to hate the non-Muslims, to divide the world into two halves, the house of war and the house of Islam. It teaches them to wage war against the infidels in the house of war and kill them wherever they find them and cut their throat from above their necks.
Of course Mahathir’s audience was all Muslim. That is why he told the truth without trying to sweeten his talk by sugarcoating it. This is not what we hear from the Muslim apologists who strive hard to make us believe that Islam is a religion of peace and the Quran is a message of love.
Mahathir even spelled out the strategy that Muslims should follow to win this war against their “detractors and enemies”. He reminded them of the Hudaibiyah treaty. In Hudaybiyah, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was forced to sign an accord that was less than what he and his companions had bargained for. In fact it was a retreat. However, he waited a few more years and after his army was stronger, he broke the treaty and invaded his opponents.
By reminding the Muslims of Hudaibiyah, Dr. Mahathir hinted that Muslims should make a “strategic retreat”, “calmly assess the situation, build more weapons, devise a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory” and then strike en mass and conjointly at the enemies of Islam.
Who are these detractors and enemies that Muhathir spoke about so much? They are the Jews and the entire world that supports their right to live. He said, the Jews “have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.” “Today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
This “others” are of course the Americans, the Europeans and anyone who defends the Jews’ right to live and prevent the Muslims from drowning them in the sea. In other words, we are all detractors and enemies of Islam as seen by Dr. Mahathir and other Muslim leaders who greeted his speech with a standing ovation as did other Muslims around the world. So all those guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships that Mahathir was encouraging the Muslim leaders to amass are for us. They are for killing you and me.
Dr. Mahathir however, perhaps remembering the support of few friends of Islamists such as Jacques Chirac, the BBC, the liberals and the leftists and their rampant opposition to the USA in its war against terrorism acknowledged that “not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are welldisposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies.”
Mahathir advised the Muslim terrorists to abandon their way because it is futile. He said, “We need to be brave but not foolhardy. We need to think not just of our reward in the afterlife but also of the worldly results of our mission.” However his plans were far more macabre and dangerous than those of the terrorists. He thinks Muslims should unite, build and amass guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships and then strike for a decisive victory.
This speech delivered by a moderate Muslim and received with applause by the leaders, the kings and the presidents of the entire Islamic world is significant because it sheds light into the reality of Islam. It makes us see the world through the eyes of the Muslims, not the extremists and the terrorists but the moderate ones, the ones who are our allies, “friends” and the recipients of our aids.
Islam is a divided house. Muslims fight and kill each other constantly for interpreting the Quran in different ways. However all the Muslims are united in one thing and that is their hatred of the Jews and the West.
For example, Dr. Mahathir while emphasizing on the unity of the Ummah, acknowledged that a total unity would be impossible however he suggested that “all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand if not on all issues, at least on some major ones, such as on Palestine”.
Why should Palestine be important to Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh or Pakistan? Why shouldn’t the plight of the Shiites in Pakistan or the Sunnis in Iran be the major point of concern for Muslims and their leaders? These Shiites and Sunnis are being massacred systematically for their beliefs despite the fact that both groups are Muslim. Why is there not even a mention of the slave trade of millions of Christians in Sudan perpetrated by the Arab Muslims? Why this much ado about Palestine? The answer is that Palestine is believed to be occupied by non-Muslims and worst of all by the Jews, the ones who, as Muhammad said are descendents of apes and swine. This is a major humiliation for Muslims. Even a Muslim living in the UK or USA, enjoying all the benefits of the free world and who has no ties with Palestine can feel oppressed because of this.
Syria invaded Lebanon and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians; no Muslim said a word. Saddam Hussein massacred hundreds of thousands of Shiites and Kurds, no Muslim complained. Why then is the presence of the Jews in Palestine such a thorn in the eye of Muslims all over the world, to the extent that Mahathir says even if Muslims cannot be united over anything else they should be united over this one? Why should Palestine be so important to Saudi or Indonesian Muslims to the extent that they are willing to kill thousands of people in USA and Bali to avenge?
This is how a moderate Muslim thinks. None of those present, including America’s darling Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai saw anything wrong in Mahathir’s speech.
After peering into the mind of a moderate Muslim the question that begs an answer is: what is the difference between a moderate Muslim and a terrorist Muslim? As a former Muslim myself, my long and careful analysis leads me to the conclusion that the only difference is the latter wants to start the Jihad against the infidels now while the former thinks it is better to wait until the Muslims are strong and then attack.
The difference is in the form not in substance. Their only disagreement is when and how the Jihad against the infields should take place. Otherwise all the Muslims, whether moderate or extremists believe in the same book. That book calls for waging war against the non-Muslims until they are subdued and humiliated. The Quran teaches:
9:29, Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.