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iceHorse

Can We Define "moderate Muslim" ?

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Again, a discussion aimed at improving mutual understanding and peace...

 

We all know that in the West, Islam is often associated with terrorism. We know many Muslims in the West feel that they are the targets of "Islamophobia". In short, we know that a lot of tension exists.

 

We often hear it said that most Muslims in the world are "moderate". But what does that mean?

 

A common way to learn about large groups is through polling, this is a common practice, and everyone falls into some categories. 

 

Let me propose a few categories. They might not be good categories, we can add and subtract, but it might be interesting to see how people on this forum feel about these categories.

 

I'll propose starting with "easy" ways to be moderate, and then harder and harder ways:

 

Easy: Anyone who would never commit terrorism.

Not as easy: Anyone who disagrees with terrorism.

Harder: Anyone who will publicly speak out against terrorism.

Really Hard: Anyone who publicly debates with terrorists.

 

In your experience, what percentage of Muslims do you think would fall into these categories?

 

We could do a similar poll concerning the introduction of Sharia into Western countries:

 

Easy: Anyone who would never actively participate in spreading Sharia.

Not as easy: Anyone who disagrees with spreading Sharia

Harder: Anyone who will speak out against spreading Sharia

Really Hard: Anyone who will publicly debate people who are trying to spread Sharia.

 

What percentage of Muslims living in the West do you think would fall into these categories?

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For the second one on Sharia, that's a REALLY bad example. For one, that's almost as bad as saying moderate Muslims would be against jihad. Because western people don't understand the meaning and refuse to listen to Muslims try to explain it. They want to listen to people who hate Muslims talk about how evil jihad is without knowing what it is.

 

As for the other, you'd be shocked to know that almost every single Muslim leader has condemned terrorism and has done so publicly. Including the governments of places like Pakistan and other countries that the west say support terror. Again, the media in the west is full of lies. Doubt me? Why can't CNN and MSNBC and Fox News ever agree?

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Hi Nightingale,

 

Can you say more about why you think the Sharia example is a bad example?

 

I've been studying Islam for a while now. I think I have a reasonably good understanding of Sharia. I will tell you that I'm not listening to biased media, I'm listening to Islamic scholars, studying Islamic scripture, reading other books, and so on.

 

Based on all of that study, my current feeling is that there is much about Sharia that I don't agree with. (We have covered this topic in other threads BTW.) From my experience, most Westerners would also disagree with Sharia if they studied it. I think that the most objective truth is that if, and whenever, Muslims attempt to spread Sharia to the West, Westerners will not be tolerant. 

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According to my understanding, a Muslim saying "I hate terrorism" does not solve the problem, but tinkers with the symptoms.

As long as there are people who deny the existence of sentences in the Koran which can be taken as being violent and as long as these sentences exist, everything else is secondary.

More than half of the planet's Muslims are illiterates. They only know what they are told.

Only ~13% of Muslims speak Arabic and only 0.0001% have studied ancient Arabic. They only know what they are told.

This means that most Muslims believe what they are being told and as long as there are sentences in the Koran - and the sunnah for that matter - which can taken as being violent, there is a chance that people can be misled by false interpretations of the text or an overly zealous bigot.

The same applies to Islamic Law, the shariah, where there is no single book and anyone can interpret anything they want into a case. There's a shariah judge on video (taken with a hidden camera) who tells a wife who has been beaten it is not serious as it has only happened once. Is that what shariah is all about? I don't think so. But as long as misogynistic sentences are found in Koran and sunnah there will be humans who will interpret it as such.

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Sharia in itself, as practiced in the time of the Prophet saws, I would support. Sharia as it is being displayed in the world today? Not a chance. If you speak about Sharia, always be sure to differentiate between true Sharia and Sharia-based law systems (like Saudi Arabia). Nowhere in the world is Sharia properly implemented.

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Hi Amna4,

 

Can you tell me where I can read about "true Sharia"? As StopS has already said, for almost everyone in the world today, understanding the Quran happens only through what Imams tell us. So if you say "study the Quran" then, unless you are the .0001% that can read ancient Arabic how do you really know?

 

I would be very happy to hear that "true Sharia", or any popular version of Sharia has been written down somewhere and agreed to. Perhaps there is a book that documents the basics of Sharia that most Muslims would agree with? Like the central parts?

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You would have to talk to a scholar about it. I haven't studied Sharia enough to actually give deep enough information for you. I don't mean Imam by scholar - there are hundreds of thousands of people (men and women) who have done extensive studies who can help you.

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Again, a discussion aimed at improving mutual understanding and peace...

 

We all know that in the West, Islam is often associated with terrorism. We know many Muslims in the West feel that they are the targets of "Islamophobia". In short, we know that a lot of tension exists.

 

We often hear it said that most Muslims in the world are "moderate". But what does that mean?

 

A common way to learn about large groups is through polling, this is a common practice, and everyone falls into some categories. 

 

Let me propose a few categories. They might not be good categories, we can add and subtract, but it might be interesting to see how people on this forum feel about these categories.

 

I'll propose starting with "easy" ways to be moderate, and then harder and harder ways:

 

Easy: Anyone who would never commit terrorism.

Not as easy: Anyone who disagrees with terrorism.

Harder: Anyone who will publicly speak out against terrorism.

Really Hard: Anyone who publicly debates with terrorists.

 

In your experience, what percentage of Muslims do you think would fall into these categories?

 

We could do a similar poll concerning the introduction of Sharia into Western countries:

 

Easy: Anyone who would never actively participate in spreading Sharia.

Not as easy: Anyone who disagrees with spreading Sharia

Harder: Anyone who will speak out against spreading Sharia

Really Hard: Anyone who will publicly debate people who are trying to spread Sharia.

 

What percentage of Muslims living in the West do you think would fall into these categories?

 

If you are trying  for a universal definition of moderate, I fear, you are wasting your time, everybody has their own definition and no two will be the same..

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Hi Occam,

 

I agree! However an understanding of how people fall into categories is often useful, e.g. 40% take the "easy" path, 30% take the "not as easy" path, and so on.

 

So in the original post I proposed four categories of "moderate" and allowed that we might want to change the categories.

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[at]IH

Your poll regarding sharia is hilarious. Its like making a poll to see who among Muslims refuse to say the shahada!

Sharia is an integral part of Islam. Anyone who rejects the implementation of sharia is not a true Muslim.

Putting terrorism and sharia in the same post means you're totally confused regarding sharia.

Without implementing sharia, all Muslim marriages wouldn't be valid. Sharia handles everything we Muslims encounter in daily life.

Most Muslim countries make sure their laws conform with sharia, though not entirely, but at least laws what concerns family laws, inheritance etc. follow the sharia, but that is not applied on non-Muslim citizens. Family laws applied on them follow their own religious laws.

There are also many non-Muslim countries who apply Muslim sharia laws on family disputes regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance etc.

 

Your question regarding sharia should be specific to the part that you have in mind. To explore this, let me ask you a question:

Based on your amount of knowledge, what is your definition of sharia?

 

PS. if you're trying to start a poll, there is always an option to add a poll for members to vote for the questions and choices you setup. Numbers and percentages would serve you better.

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Hi dot,

 

I'll look into how the polls work.

 

In answer to your feedback, my understanding is that a part of Sharia includes legal issues that range from 'civil' issues like marriages, and wills and maybe even businesses? And that Sharia also includes legal issues that get into the criminal areas like theft, adultery, murder, and I *think* blasphemy. There is more to Sharia than that, but I guess it's those legal areas that I was referring to.

 

Since this is the Western-Islamic dialog forum, my poll is specifically intended for those countries in which Muslims are a minority, and the country has a basically secular legal system. Specifically, I'm interested in (and concerned about), those situations in which Muslims are trying to add Sharia into a secular country's legal system.

 

So, in that specific case, what would moderate Muslims do? Does that scenario give the question more meaning?

 

In other words: "A common situation these days is that politically oriented Muslims are actively trying to introduce Sharia in countries that have  primarily secular (non-religious), legal systems. In that situation, how do 'moderate Muslims', living in that secular country, feel about what the political Muslims are doing?"

 

- do they agree with what the political Muslims are doing?

- do they disagree?

- if they disagree will they say so in public?

- if they disagree will they debate the political Muslims?

 

Does that make more sense?

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I find very little in the present "secular" laws of the U.S. that would greatly differ from sharia other than the use of riba which many non-muslims disagree with already especially here in the Bible belt.

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Can you point out iceHorse, where are Muslims trying to make Sharia dominant over other secular laws in non-Muslim majority countries? For instance, here in the US, no Muslim group is advocating replacing the Constitution with Sharia at this time. It is people like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and David Yerushalmi who are crying wolf at Sharia.

 

As you pointed out, most things covered are civil matters. Already in the US, Jews and Catholics are permitted to use their own law systems in civil matters. A fact that Mr. Yerushalmi constantly forgets about mentioning. Also, from what I have heard from Islamic scholars, Sharia covers Muslims, and non-Muslims aren't held to the same standards. That's what I've been told by Islamic scholars and heard from many others.

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Well those of us who think of themselves as secular aren't too pleased with radical Bible Belt types. For example, a secularist will typically NOT be in favor of teaching intelligent design.

 

More specifically. and to name a few instances: women's rights, minority rights, and free speech (and by free speech I specifically mean the right to criticize ANY religion), leap to mind as being significantly different. There are more important differences of course...

 

Nightingale, another example is the OIC's ongoing campaigns in the U.N. (human rights and blasphemy).

Edited by iceHorse

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With free speech, it's a slippery slope. People here where I live have made threats against stations carrying advertisements for the new network Al-Jazeera America. To the credit of one of the personalities (Jimmy Barrett of WRVA here), he denounced people up in arms about the US government allowing Al-Jazeera in this country because it is free speech. Too many people in the US especially seem to think that free speech is only for their side of the argument.

 

And both sides of the political spectrum are truly bad at women's rights and minority rights if you want to be completely honest. Secularists have made comments that "blacks are the most disgusting dangerous creatures around" for instance. I believe in science, but I do believe that Allah gifted us with the knowledge to have and cherish science. He is the creator of all things.

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It might be interesting to start a separate discussion about comparing Sharia to secular law.

 

But in this discussion I'm interested in understanding the common (or prevalent) views of 'moderate Muslims' when it comes to converting secular countries into Sharia countries.

 

Nightingale - it's true that some secularists have said horrible things. People from all categories say horrible things. But it would be inaccurate to generalize and say that secularists are racist. Some are, most aren't.

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That's my point iceHorse, generalizations are always wrong. I have had rednecks here attack me and call me a traitor, a terrorist, someone who deserves to die simply because I'm Muslim. I've also had self-professed rednecks hold the door for me, nod politely and act very gentlemanly.

 

Same applies for Muslims. So I always find it annoying when people try to claim that all Muslims are this evil "other" that has to be eradicated. You don't want to know what I hear, even from one or two of my subordinates at work about how thrilled they are with all the deaths in Egypt and Syria and so on. How we (meaning Muslims) deserve it because we're not western. THAT is the problem that people who try to pigeonhole everyone into labels cause.

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Nightingale,

 

My goal is to gain inderstanding. Of course you can only understand at some surface levels. For instance, I recently heard that over 40% of Americans believe to some degree that Jesus will return within the next 50 years. While that doesn't help an individual, it does help provide a big picture view. So, for instance, it makes sense that if a lot of people think the end is near, they won't worry about a clean environment.

 

In a similar way, I'm trying to get a sense of common attitudes held by Muslims living in secular countries. For example, if 80% feel that they should embrace the local culture that is very different than if 80% feel they should help change the local culture to include Sharia.

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I didn't feel that I should embrace the greedy materialistic self centered culture of modern America before I became Muslim, nor will I ever. If theatheists & secularists don't like it they can leave Dixie.

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abdullahfath,

 

Do you think your opinion is a common one for Muslims living the the West, or do you think your opinion is uncommon?

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I didn't feel that I should embrace the greedy materialistic self centered culture of modern America before I became Muslim, nor will I ever. If theatheists & secularists don't like it they can leave Dixie. 

 

Do you think that the U.S. constitution, and democracy and greed are all linked together? (Perhaps they are BTW, I'm not sure.) Or could you imagine the U.S. keeping its current constitution and the culture not being greedy?

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Do you think that the U.S. constitution, and democracy and greed are all linked together? (Perhaps they are BTW, I'm not sure.) Or could you imagine the U.S. keeping its current constitution and the culture not being greedy?

It was written to leave room for greed (ex:slavery) by upperclass white men. Look around you. Has this really changed, other than superficially?

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 It was written to leave room for greed (ex:slavery) by upperclass white men. Look around you. Has this really changed, other than superficially? 

 

For the sake of discussion, let's say that's true.

 

Can you name a different system that's worked better for everyone? Can you name a different system that keeps greed from happening?

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I can actually. It is a system that was practiced by the Cherokee, is practiced by the Amish.  A communal living order where everyone lives based on their needs and if there is more than what they need to survive they share it with the rest of the community.  This removes the greed but it does not remove the ambition for one can be viewed in the community for how hard he works and it is seen as a great honor that he is such value to his family, and community.  This, to me, is what Islam truly advocates.  It is a system, a way of life, that advocates caring for others instead of just focusing on yourself.  It is when people become self absorbed that greed begins to occur. 

 

p.s.

just in case you are thinking that this is some radical Islamic or even religious idealogy that has brought the notion of this kind of society as a working form of people I can list examples of secular ones for starting with this one:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Oaks_Community

Edited by abdullahfath
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