Radical Islam Can Only be Defeated by Moderate Muslims

Radical Islam Can Only be Defeated by Moderate Muslims

© David Burton 2015

Moderate Muslims

     Islam is often called the religion of peace and tolerance. Unfortunately, there are many fanatical adherents of the religion who behave in a fashion that is inimical to such concepts. Also unfortunate is the failure of more moderate and liberal Muslims to come forward to rescue their religion from the extremists that have co-opted the religion and given Islam such a bad name throughout the entire world. Many more moderate and liberal Muslims need to come forward to gain control of their religion. Until this occurs, the non-Muslim world cannot trust Islam or put any faith in their claims that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. There are, however, glimmers of hope appearing in the Muslim world.

     In Oslo, Norway, on 22 February 2015, it was reported that Muslims formed a “ring of Peace” around a Jewish synagogue. The number of Muslims participating in the demonstration against Islamic extremists was as many as 1,000 or so as widely reported (for example, Ref. 1)) or only 20 as one report claimed. (Ref. 2) Another report stated that, “More than 1,000 people, including many Muslims, formed a human chain around an Oslo synagogue in a show of support for Jews.” (Ref. 3)

     For me, the actual number present at the demonstration is irrelevant – what is relevant is the fact that a number of Muslims stood up in public and, in effect, stated that they opposed extremist Islamic jihadists. As the president of the 1,400-strong Jewish Oslo community, told The Times of Israel, “The importance of the event . . . was that a group of Muslim young adults took the initiative to speak out against anti-Semitism, and decided to not let the radicals and jihadists take over the agenda.” (Ref. 2)

     In 2013, “Members of Canada's Muslim community helped tip off authorities to a terrorist plan to attack a train, allegedly devised by two men working with al Qaeda.
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     “. . . a Muslim community leader in Ontario, told the Toronto Sun that the imam of a local Muslim community helped foil the terror plot by alerting authorities.
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     “. . . {The} U.S. Ambassador {to Canada} added that the two men were apprehended following ‘extensive’ cross-border operations.
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     “{The two accused terrorists} are accused of receiving ‘directions and guidance’ from members of al Qaeda in Shiite-led Iran, even though al Qaeda is a Sunni Arab network . . . Charges against the men include conspiracy to carry out an attack and murder people in association with a terrorist group.” (Ref. 4)

     “Islamic extremists . . . proselytiz{e} that modern life conflicts with Islamic teaching, {that} the West and colonialism are responsible for the despair afflicting so many Muslim communities, and {that} violence is necessary to defend the faith and redress injustices.
     “That message is easily carried from one neighborhood to another, propagated over the internet, and benefits from considerable financial support from ISIS.
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     "Parents, teachers and religious leaders are best able to first spot the beginnings of hateful influences among young people and engage them. {Moderate Muslim parents, teachers and religious leaders must} do what Christian leaders have been doing for years—explain to young people that hateful ideas about others are ill-founded and can do as much harm to them as to their targets.” (Ref. 5)

     Are moderate Muslims beginning to see the light and joining in the struggle against radical Islam? Maybe.

     “The militant activities of the Islamic State (IS) and its counterparts have contributed to the rise of moderate Islam in the Islamic world. The fact is that it is Muslims, of all sects, who have suffered the most at the hands of these groups. A 2012 US National Counterterrorism Center report revealed: ‘In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.’ The violence has created among Muslims a general feeling of solidarity with the non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East and Westerners who fell prey to these groups.
     “The recent killing of a number of journalists at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices in Paris is no exception. Through their target selection, extremists were betting on the attack winning them wider social support from Muslims, as the target was a sensitive and controversial subject among Muslims. Despite the many Islamic objections to the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, the result was the opposite: The Muslim world largely responded by denouncing the terrorist act, not the cartoons.
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     “Tehran’s substitute Friday prayer leader Ahmad Khatami condemned the attack, saying, ‘We fully condemn this terrorist act and announce that Islam does not allow the killing of innocent people.’ This position is a radical change in the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose founder’s fatwa calling for the death of novelist Salman Rushdie had set a precedent for fatwas against those insulting Islamic sanctities.
     “The Iraqi Foreign Ministry issued a statement fully denouncing the terrorist act and asserting, ‘Iraq stands at the forefront of countries supporting France and all the states affected by terrorism.’ Popular demonstrations in the streets of Baghdad have made many Iraqis' position on the murders clear.” (Ref. 6)

     Words are important, but where are the “masses of moderate Arabs and Moslems” that should be combatting Islamic extremists like ISIS and al Qaeda? There is certainly enough military manpower in the Arab nations to defeat ISIS and al Qaeda. ISIS is reported to have perhaps 30,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria. Discounting the armed forces of Syria, Iraq and Iran for now, the Arab world has the following number of troops under arms: Egypt - 440,000; Saudi Arabia – 230,000; Morocco – 200,000; Algeria – 130,000; Jordan – 100,000; UAE – 60,000; Oman – 40,000; Tunisia – 40,000; Kuwait – 20,000; Qatar – 10,000; Bahrain – 10,000. Combined, there are some 1,280,000 troops serving in the Arab armies. If only 10% of these were committed to fighting ISIS, there would be 128,000 troops compared to ISIS’s 30,000. In addition, Iran (520,000), Iraq (280,000), and Syria (180,000) have a combined military of another 980,000 men under arms.[7]

     While not all of these Arab countries would be considered “moderate”, they all appear to have a vested interest in ridding the world of the scourge of ISIS. So where are the multitude of moderate Arab and Moslem fighters that could be fighting the extremists? The answer to this question is that many of these Arab armies are busy keeping the despotic regimes in power in the countries where they are located. Might not self-preservation and self-interest induce the “moderate” Arabs and Moslems to join the rest of the world in fighting and destroying a common threat?

     It may be that a moderate movement in the Islamic world with attitudes very different from that of militant Islam is now developing. Hopefully this movement will strengthen and take a more active and aggressive role in the struggle against militant Islam. What is needed is a flood of Islamic moderation – not just a few Muslims speaking out against the barbarism of Islamic fanatics, but the raised voices and actions of hundreds of millions of moderate Muslims opposing the violent actions of the jihadists. As we so often hear - Deeds speak louder than words! As of today, a start may have been made in this direction, but the all-out condemnation and opposition of radical Islam by moderate Muslims has yet to be fully achieved. Words will not suffice – moderate Muslims must take action!

     Victory over fanatic Islam requires that we insist that Muslim “moderates” whole-heartedly join the fight to defeat and destroy Islamic fundamentalism. There can be no standing on the sidelines. You are either with us or against us! Islamic extremism will not be “degraded and ultimately destroyed” unless it is “moderate” Muslims themselves who join in the fight to defeat it.

     Recently, another glimmer of hope appeared when for the first time since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, Chanukah candles were lit in the Jewish synagogue in the capital of the Arab nation of Bahrain.

     “French Rabbi Moshe Levin of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) along with French Imam Hassan Chalghoumi traveled to Bahrain under invitation from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to join a special interfaith conference hosted at the palace in Manama.
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     “Greeting his guests for a special interfaith meeting, King Al Khalifa said that ‘the call to war against terror needs to come from the leaders of all the religions as one.’
     " ‘Here in Bahrain members of all the religions live with no fear, and we will continue to allow Jews to live peacefully and quietly, maintaining their lifestyle, their customs and the commandments of their religion without any fear,’ he continued.” (Ref. 8)

     If moderate Muslims are to join the effort to rid the world of Islamic extremism, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed, including: women’s rights, increased tolerance of ethnic and religious minorities, improved human rights, and increased democracy. But, the following are minimum requirements:

  • Moslems must unambiguously join the fight to eradicate all forms of extremist Islamic terrorism.
  • Islamic proselytizing must only be by peaceful non-coercive means.
  • The right of Israel to exist must be unequivocally announced and all incitements to violence against Israel and Jews must end.
     “Moderate” Arab/Moslem leaders and governments are now painfully aware that the excesses of Islamic fanatics threaten not just “infidels” but themselves as well. These “moderates” have seen that Muslims are being butchered and abused by fanatics across the Middle East and elsewhere. Victory over fanatic Islam requires that we insist that these Muslim “moderates” aggressively join the fight to defeat and destroy Islamic jihadists. Instead of a trickle of support from “moderate Muslims” in the war on Islamic fundamentalism, there needs to be a veritable flood of concerted and continuing opposition to Islamic terrorism from the so-called “moderates”. “Moderate” Muslims must proactively report incitements to Islamic acts of terror. They must take to the streets and barricades in opposing jihadist extremism. They must join the armies opposing fundamentalist Islamic extremism. Muslim moderates must be wholeheartedly with us or else they are against us! No one can stand on the sidelines or be silent in the face of radical Islamic terror. Moderate Muslims stand to lose more than anyone else in the fight against Islamic extremism. The war cannot be won without their unequivocal support.

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  1. 1,000 join Muslim 'ring of peace' outside Oslo synagogue, Associated Press, USA Today, 22 February 2015.
  2. MEDIA HOAX: 20 MUSLIMS HOLDING HANDS BECOME 1,000-STRONG ‘RING OF PEACE’ AT OSLO SYNAGOGUE, Jordan Schachtel, Breitbart, 22 February 2015.
  3. Oslo synagogue ‘peace ring’ marred by organizer's anti-Israel remarks, some Jews say, The Jerusalem Post: Diaspora, 22 February 2015.
  4. Muslims Helped Foil Terror Plot In Canada; Imam Tipped Officials To Plans To Derail Train, Cavan Sieczkowski, The Huffington Post, 23 April 2013.
  5. Obama and moderate Muslims both fail to fight Islamic extremism, Peter Morici, Washington Times,
    22 February 2015.
  6. Moderate Islam pushes back extremism, Ali Mamouri, al-monitor.com; Iraq Pulse, 30 January 2015.
  7. Arab armies: Full of sound and fury, The Economist, 22 August 2015.
  8. Hanukkah candles lit in Bahrain synagogue for first time since 1948, i24news, 9 December 2015.


  21 December 2015 {Article 243; Islam_21}    
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