[lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims

  • From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 18:54:01 +0100

I read this the first time it was posted, but I don't object to its return.

The existence or otherwise of moderate muslims certainly seems to be a hot topic on the right (I'm aware that Harris claims to be a liberal), and that suggests an agenda of sorts. From what I've read on the net and in Lawrence's posts, the tendency appears to be to downplay the existence of moderate muslims and boost the numbers and importance of extremists.

Now the following looks exclusively at British muslims. I understand that Lawrence and others would prefer us to limit the analysis to the middle east, but considering that most if not all terrorist attacks after 9/11 have been conducted by home grown terrorists, I think it's worthwhile.

In a recent(ish) poll conducted for the Telegraph (London) and ITV, 73 per cent of British Muslims would go to the police if they believed that someone they knew or knew of might be planning a terrorist attack.


Whilst this implies that the remainder, 27 per cent, would not go to the police, it isn't equivalent to the number who would themselves committ an attack. According to the poll, six per cent, if not prepared to carry out terrorist acts, are ready to support those who do. In which case those who would consider themselves active terrorists (clearly would not say in any case), but also must be much less.

An alternative poll conducted by NOP


and commented upon here


shows that 94% of respondents disagreed that Muslims should live separately from non-Muslims but at the same time, given the choice 36% would prefer to have fellow Muslims as neighbours.

Quoting directly from the polling report: NOP also asked if British Muslims thought that relgious leaders who supported terrorism should be removed - 68% agreed, with 22% disagreeing. Cross-referencing these results, NOP characterised 9% of the Muslims they surveyed as “hardcore Islamists” - people who thought that it was perfectly okay to speak in support of terrorism, but thought people should be prosecuted for insulting Islam. This small minority tallies with NOP’s other questions on terrorism - 9% of respondents said it was acceptable for religious or political groups to use violence, 13% of people said they understand why young British Muslims might become suicide bombers.

And a February 2006 ICM Poll


which says that 60 per cent of muslims are more alienated from British society over the previous year and that 46 per cent believe that muslims have become more radical in that period. Conversely, 80 per cent might believe that western society may not be perfect, but muslims should live within it and not seek to bring it to an end.

Another ICM poll, this one in the wake of the July bombings:


On who was to blame (in each case I've picked out 'a lot'):

Blair for invading Iraq: 58%
Muslim Imams and other leaders for failing to root out extremists: 26%
Muslim community for not doing enough to root out extremists: 18%
Non-Muslims in Britain for racist and Islamophobic behaviour: 28%
The bombers themselves: 70%
The bombers handlers: 70%

There are a stack more polls to look through - ICM are especially active - but the general consensus appears to be that:

1. There certainly are moderate muslims and they make up the vast majority in Britain.

2. The feeling against the war in Iraq is dominant.

3. Only a small minority would consider violent action in support of their beliefs.

4. A sizeable majority would inform on anybody they believed was planning a terrorist strike.

Now, because Lawrence is currently operating an apartheid system based on perceived intelligence, I understand that he won't even read this let alone comment on it directly. Perhaps therefore, other list members could include relevant quotes in their comments so that he can get the gist.

Resident thick person

----- Original Message ----- From: "Eric Yost" <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 5:08 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Moderate Muslims

>>I was not able to determine that there were any moderates
in the Middle East because neither Omar nor I could find hide nor hair of them.

Let me repost an excerpt from this article to see if it can advance the discussion. For those who skim, the last paragraph is most important.


A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy.

Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities.

Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.

I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw the heads off of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate. The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.


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