Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More Moderism Please

More to address my own disquiet on the issue of Muslim moderates then anything else, here is a story from

"Moderate Unicorns," huffed a reader, responding to my recent plea that Western states bolster moderate Muslims. Dismissing their existence as a myth, he notes that non-Muslims "are still waiting for moderates to stand and deliver, identifying and removing extremist thugs from their mosques and their communities."

It's a valid skepticism and a reasonable demand. Recent events in Pakistan and Turkey, however, prove that moderate Muslims are no myth.

I read about the demonstrations in Turkey and blogged about it, but I was not aware of the ones in Pakistan. There are many Muslims who do not want to live under shari'a law either.

In Pakistan, an estimated 100,000 people demonstrated on April 15 in Karachi, the country's largest city, to protest the plans of a powerful mosque in Islamabad, the Lal Masjid, to establish a parallel court system based on Islamic law, the Shari‘a. "No to extremism," roared the crowd. "We will strongly resist religious terrorism and religious extremism," exhorted Altaf Hussain, leader of the Mutahida Qaumi Movement, at the rally.

I believe that these moderates (or maybe that is the wrong word - how about just human beings who want to be left alone to raise their families as they see fit without getting hacked up) are sick and tired of the same crap from the same radical imams that inspire the same acts of murder and torture.

In Turkey, more than a million moderate Muslims in five marches protested the bid of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to take over the presidency of the republic, giving it control over the two top government offices (the other being the prime ministry, currently filled by Recep Tayyip Erdoðan).

We had a young Turkish girl visit our church a few years ago; she was a high school senior, an exchange student. Simply a lovely, lovely girl. Perhaps she or membesof her family joined in the demonstrations.

Nor are the masses alone in resisting AKP's Islamists. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer warned that, for the first time since 1923, when the secular republic came into being, its pillars "are being openly questioned." He also inveighed against the imposition of a soft Islamist state, predicting that it would turn extremist. Onur Öymen, deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party, cautioned that the AKP's taking the presidency would "upset all balances" and create a very dangerous situation.

I think that a lot of Muslims "get it." They see the properity in America, they have relatives of their own or relatives of their friends who come here and tell them what they find. We are not the sex-obsessed, drug addicted, godless wage slaves that they are led to believe. America is a beautiful country with a incredible variety of wonderful people. The overwhelming majority have absolutely no inclination to hack you or your family to pieces. In fact, they would be horrified.

Sure, we have our idiots and a fair collection of monsters too, but life here is still better than life over there. That's why they are waiting in lines to come HERE. Do the math.

The military – Turkey's ultimate powerbroker – issued two statements reinforcing this assessment. On April 12, the chief of staff, Gen. Mehmet Yaþar Büyükanýt, expressed his hope that "someone who is loyal to the principles of the republic—not just in words but in essence—is elected president." Two weeks later, the military's tone became more urgent, announcing that the presidential election "has been anxiously followed by the Turkish Armed Forces [which] maintains its firm determination to carry out its clearly specified duties to protect" secular principles.

Since the death of Ataturk, the Turkish army has stepped up to the plate more than once to return the country to a stable, secular course.

This resolute stand against Islamism by moderate Turkish Muslims is the more striking when contrasted with the cluelessness of Westerners who pooh-pooh the dangers of the AKP's ascent. A Wall Street Journal editorial assures Turks that their prime minister's popularity "is built on competent and stable government." Dismissing the historic crossroads that President Sezer and others perceive, it dismisses as "fear mongering" doubts about Prime Minister Erdoðan's commitment to secularism and ascribes these to petty campaign tactics "to get out the anti-AKP vote and revive a flagging opposition."

Of course I would still like to hear more from these Muslims, but perhaps it is not all their fault. As the newspaper saying goes, "If it bleeds it leads." Muslims demonstrating against radicalism may not be bloody minded enough for the MSM.

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