As I write this #MUSLIMRAGE is trending on Twitter. Do a Twitter search on the terms “Moderate Muslim” and you get a string of cynicism and the snarky: “Where are the moderate Muslims?”. Some claim the term is an oxymoron. They say it doesn’t exist. These gems of faux wisdom are echoed by news commentary that I hear all the time around me. What is a moderate Muslim? Where are they hiding when violence and controversy are stirred in the name of Islam?
Most recently, violent protests against an anti-Islamic film made in the United States are all over the news. The September 11, 2012 killing of US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, is generating thousands of news stories. A lot of Westerners are angrily claiming that Moderate Muslims are not condemning this violence. Well, if you do some digging, you’ll find that they are:
#1 Let’s start with Libyans reacting to the killing of Stevens. These pics tell the story:
[All images taken from Libyan Youth Movement Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/LibyanYouthMovement]
#2 Then there is President of Libya’s national assembly, Mohammed Magarief:
“We apologize to the United States of America and to the American people and to the whole world for what happened, and at the same time we expect the rest of the world to help us face these cowardly criminal acts.”
#3 A group of 500 Libyan tribal leaders
They met in a forum put together by the Council of the Elders of Benghazi and condemned the attacks as “shameful” and in direct conflict with the values of Islam.
#4 Egyptian-born cleric Youssef al-Qaradaw – “Our manner of protesting should reflect sense and reason,” – a public challenge in a Friday sermon following the killing.
#5 Sami al-Faraj, director of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies - “There’s no doubt that every Muslim feels in some ways deeply troubled by any insults to the Prophet Muhammad, but how many have seen the video of this movie to make up their own minds? Very few… You need someone to organize the protests and, in effect, throw the switch.” – This indirect condemnation of the forces stoking crowd fury is highly astute and points at some of the source of the larger problem of extremist provocateurs.
#6 Komaruddin Hidayat – A Muslim academic from Indonesia says that while Muslims should oppose insults to their faith they should be sure to “avoid using violence in expressing their objections.”
#7 Sheik Sani Yahaya Jingir – even more explicitly, this Muslim leader said that violence never brings “any benefit to Islam.”
OK, I hope I’ve made my point. I could extend my list by thousands of names within Islam that condemn violence. The ignoramus lobby in the United States and elsewhere that claims there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim should take a step back and realize that their narrow-mindedness is hurting them. Rather than claiming that moderate Muslims do not exist or that if they do, the are mute, let us do all we can to lend our voice to theirs.
These voices of Moderate Islam help complete the picture. They tell the story of true Islam better than terrorists or the ridiculous talking heads in anti-Islamic circles around the world. Moderate Muslim leaders clearly show show that there are conscientious people everywhere. They prove that fundamentally, we are all one and good is recognized the world over.