Our Norwegian correspondent The Observer returns with an examination of “moderate” vs. “extreme” Islam, using the much-neglected tools of logic and formal analysis.
Why the term “moderate Muslim” is an oxymoron
by The Observer
Why has Islam been able to grow at such an unprecedented pace in Europe, and why has it been allowed to do so practically unchallenged? There are many reasons for this, but one contributing factor that has facilitated this rapid growth has been the decision to artificially divide the religion into two opposing philosophies with completely different goals and values, which has transformed it into an ideological version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. By firmly dividing its adherents (Muslims) into two distinct camps — the extremists who are alleged to be misusing their religion and who only constitute a tiny minority, and the moderates who ostensibly represent the majority and who strongly opposes the extremists — Islam has managed to establish a defence that is almost impenetrable, and that has fostered an environment in which meaningless terms such as Islamophobia are actually given credence.
This clever distinction, which has in effect divided Islam into a moderate and an extreme form, has ensured that it can continue to grow unabated and without being properly challenged, as any terrorist attack committed by its members can be blamed on the extremists and thus also used as an argument to exonerate the moderates. It’s a form of classification or “branding taqiyya” that has served the religion well, and given it a solid argument that it can rely upon no matter what type of hurdle or obstacle that is being thrown in its way.
The mainstream media and the political classes have deliberately failed to call Islam by its proper name and actively undermined any serious attempts to scrutinize and expose the ideology for what it really is. As a result, the majority of the blame for the very precarious situation that Europe finds itself in these days has to be put squarely on their shoulders. These two powerful groups have been able to control public discourse and sway public opinion through the extensive use of lies and propaganda. Crucial facts that could have altered the course have been deliberately downplayed, and in many cases outright ignored. Unpalatable events have been omitted. The job responsibilities of the MSM and the politicians have largely been transformed into those of campaigners who pay lip service to such things as truth and accuracy — values that actually used to matter in the past. The absence of an in-depth analysis of Islam’s doctrines, its history and its stated goals for the future have left ordinary people blissfully unaware of the dangers that this ideology represents, and only now when Islam has seriously started to flex its muscles are they beginning to wake up from their political-correctness-induced slumber.
This essay will focus on the rebranding of Islam that has turned it into something unrecognizable and innocuous — namely a predominantly moderate and peaceful religion — and offer a valid and thorough explanation as to why this is not the case. It will show that this artificial rebranding is false, that it is unscientific and utterly dishonest, and demonstrate by the use of critical analysis that the opposite is true. This assignment has not been undertaken to further cement the convictions of those who have already reached this conclusion of their own accord, but rather to serve as a wakeup call to those who are still in the dark and have failed to grasp what should have been obvious all along.
The first step in this process is to demonstrate that one cannot logically divide Islam into two distinct camps; one that preaches war and hatred, and the other that preaches love and tolerance. It is an absurd claim to make, given that both camps are reading from the same script. This is made obvious by the fact that a large portion of Islamic doctrine is dedicated to the advocacy of hatred and animosity against non-Muslims. However, before we can start to immerse ourselves in the subject at hand and initiate our investigation, we have to obtain some definitions that will allow us to describe the religion and the points that we are trying to make. The words that we are interested in here are “Islam”, “Muslim”, “moderate”, “extreme” and “extremist”.
A quick Google search gives us the Merriam-Webster’s English dictionary’s classification of the word “extremist”:
“Advocacy of extreme measures or views.”
The word “extreme” is defined by the same dictionary as:
“Very far from agreeing with the opinions of most people: not moderate”.
The word “moderate” is glossed as:
“Professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme.”
Furthermore, it is important to correctly identify the term “Muslim”, as the purpose of this essay is to establish whether a Muslim should be classified as an extremist or as a moderate based on the choice of his or her religious convictions. According to the same source a “Muslim” is defined as:
“A person whose religion is Islam: a follower of Islam”
Islam is defined as:
“The religion which teaches that there is only one God and that Muhammad is God’s prophet : the religion of Muslims”
These are basic definitions which could be elaborated upon in great detail, but which will have to do for the purposes of this essay. The only thing that we are going to add is that a Muslim is a person who embraces Islamic doctrine, i.e. the teachings of the Quran, the Hadith and the Sira (the official Islamic doctrine). The Quran being the word of Allah as recited to Muhammad, Islam’s first and last prophet, by the angel Gabriel. The hadith, which encompasses the traditions of Muhammad (a supplement to the Quran). The Sira, which is the official biography of Muhammad. The Sunnah (doctrine) is a term that encompasses the Hadith and the Sira.
Now that we have sorted out the correct definitions we can move on to the next step in the process, which is to place practitioners of Islam on either the moderate end of the scale, the extremist end of it, or somewhere in between. A prerequisite in order to achieve this task is to be equipped with a basic knowledge of Islam. It should be evident that it is impossible to refute the claim on a purely scientific basis without having a basic understanding of the ideology. As with anything in life, in order to make an informed decision one has to be in possession of the relevant facts. It is also imperative that we clarify what constitutes moderate behaviour in order to prevent undue confusion. We have already offered a definition of this word, but we still have not assigned what type of behaviour falls into this category. Normal behaviour is also to a certain degree a relative concept, as different countries and different cultures operate with different definitions of what constitutes normal behaviour. What is considered normal behaviour in Saudi Arabia is not necessarily normal behaviour in a country such as Canada, and vice versa. The best way to overcome this issue is to use the UN’s declaration of human rights as a template and gauge various behaviours and ideologies against this document in order to ascertain on which side of the scale they belong.
It should also be pointed out that normal behaviour could quite easily be classified as extreme if it occurs in a society that has descended into anarchy or chosen to adopt fascism or any other anti-democratic forms of governing. In order for any ideology or political system to be classified as moderate, in this context, it is thus imperative that it does not violate the basic principles of the UN’s declaration of human rights, and by no means can it be found to be in gross violation of this declaration. Hence in order for Islam to be classified as a moderate religion, it is essential that it can be categorically established that it accepts and respects the overall principles found in this document.
We are now going to take a closer look at certain aspects of Islamic doctrine and bring attention to some of the more disturbing incidents of Muhammad’s life, which will put the claim that Islam is a moderate religion into serious question. We are not going to detail every single event or analyse every single passage of its holy books with a magnifying glass, but rather take a closer look at some of the characteristics that makes it impossible to classify it as a moderate religion.
The first hurdle that anyone who wishes to exonerate Islam and label it as a moderate ideology encounters is the existence of a unique judicial system (Shariah) which is a 7th century justice system based upon the Quran and various instructions and commandments made by Muhammad throughout his life. To say that it conforms with the UN declaration on human rights would be a gross misrepresentation of the truth, as it quite clearly violates both the spirit of this document and pretty much every single paragraph listed within it. The most egregious example is probably the Sharia’s view on apostasy, i.e. members who wish to leave the religion, a transgression which according to the Sharia is punishable by death. Similar punishments are meted out for blasphemy, homosexuality and marital infidelity, which according to the Sharia stipulates that the offending individual be stoned to death, just to name a few examples.
The fact that these laws have been practiced since the inception of Islam and that they are still being practiced in various Muslim nations today makes Islam come across as a rather extreme ideology straight off the bat, and it certainly makes it very difficult to see why anyone would choose to classify the Sharia or any system that resembles it as moderate, or claim that it has undeservedly been awarded the classification “extreme” To justify killing individuals who don’t share your personal religious or political views is an extreme act, and it certainly runs counter to the UN’s declaration of human rights, as do the other issues highlighted in this paragraph. The only logical conclusion that can be deduced from this information is that the Sharia is extreme.
The second hurdle that the proponents of Islam encounter when they wish to classify Islam as a moderate religion is the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. It’s a book that Muslims cherish and treat with the utmost respect, and which they believe was dictated to their prophet Muhammad verbatim by their God, Allah. The book is an integral part of Islam, and its content gives us a good indication to the exact nature of the religion. The proponents of the “moderate Islam” theory will be swift to point out that the Quran contains many peaceful passages, and consequently cannot in good faith be viewed as extreme. However, that does not change the fact that the Quran also contains a staggering 109 verses that actively advocates violence against non-believers, verses that condone violence against women, the subjugation of non-Muslims and verses that justifies slavery. Any of these acts can in their own right justifiably be referred to as extreme by anyone’s definition, and most certainly by pitting it against the UN’s declaration on human rights. Some may interject that the Quran should be viewed in a historical context, and maintain that the practices advocated in this book were commonplace and accepted when it was written. That may be a valid argument, but is still fails to explain why people living in the 21st century show so much reverence for a book that advocates so much hatred and violence, and why they would wish to live in accordance with the principles found in such a book. Based on the numerous passages that promote violence against non-Muslims which can be found in the Quran one is left with no choice but to categorize it as an extreme book that advocates violence.
The third hurdle that proponents of Islam encounter in their quest to exonerate their religion is the first prophet of Islam, Muhammad and his life story, and in particular the later stages of his life which were dominated by violence and brutal warfare. What sets Muhammad apart from other significant religious figures such as Jesus and the Buddha, who were known pacifists and advocated a philosophy of turning the other cheek, is the fact that Muhammad was a warlord who killed, robbed, raped and had people who disagreed with him assassinated. According to Islam’s own sources, Muhammad personally ordered the execution of 600-900 male Jews during the invasion of Banu Qurayza and took their women and children as slaves. He also had numerous people who mocked or disagreed with him killed, and even admitted towards the end of his life that he had been made victorious through a reign of terror. Furthermore, after his death his followers colonised and spread the religion of Islam by force to large areas of the known world by following his personal example. Some estimates indicate that this brutal colonization resulted in the loss of up to 270 million lives.
The most troubling aspect of Muhammad’s life is, however, not that he committed all these atrocious acts, but rather the fact that so many people continue to worship him and show him so much reverence. Even today Muslims consider Muhammad to be the perfect human being whose behaviour should be emulated in every aspect of life. So great is the respect for Muhammad that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are violently opposed to even having visual representations made of their prophet, such as drawings, paintings etc. Whenever such visual representations materialise, riots and violence are often the outcome.
Having looked at the three main aspects of Islamic doctrine, the Quran, the Sunnah and the Sharia, and highlighted the problematic issues found within these, it’s not unreasonable to classify the contents as largely extreme. We have shown that all the three major parts that make up Islam advocate violence, and reject basic human rights and opinions that are not consistent with official Islamic doctrine. Such views can obviously not by categorized as moderate ones; given that moderate is by definition the absence of extremism, and they certainly cannot be viewed as moderate if we compare them with the UN’s declaration of human rights. That Islamic doctrine also contains elements that are moderate does not change the fact that there is an overabundance of elements that clearly are extreme in nature, and which can be found throughout its holy texts, giving us no other choice than to label the religion as a whole as extreme.
This invariably leads us to the last section and the original goal of this essay, which is to show that Muslims who embrace Islamic doctrine thus cannot logically be labelled as moderates, given that the ideology they have embraced is an extreme one.
We have already offered a very basic definition of the term Muslim, as classified by Merriam-Webster’s English dictionary. For our purpose in this essay — which is to establish whether it is reasonable to categorize Muslims as both extremists and moderates — it is important to specify whom we have chosen to designate as Muslims, given that the term is often loosely applied, and are on some occasions used to include individuals who are born Muslims in predominantly Muslim nations, but who don’t necessarily identify as Muslims. The term Muslim as it has been applied in this case refers to practicing Muslims; in other words, individuals who identify as Muslims, who believe in the Quran and who live their lives according to Islamic principles. It does not include what some would choose to refer to as cultural Muslims, non-practicing Muslims, reformers or individuals who choose to identify as Muslims out of concern for their own safety, of whom there are plenty given, Islam’s highly controversial view on apostasy.
It’s also necessary to make a logical assumption: to accept that most people who follow a specific ideology, regardless of which one it may be, have at least a basic understanding of its official doctrines and stated goals. This means that a devout communist has at least a minimum of knowledge of official communist literature, and that a fervent Christian has at least a basic knowledge of Christian principles, etc. Thus we should assume that a practicing Muslim has a basic knowledge of Islam’s holy texts, and that he is familiar with its official policies on a wide range of issues. It is therefore also safe to conclude — if we accept these criteria — that a practicing Muslim has a basic understanding of Islam’s views on unbelievers, apostates, sharia law and the life of Muhammad. In other words, a practicing Muslim is familiar with the undemocratic nature of Islam, but nevertheless still chooses to identify as a Muslim.
This is a very significant fact, and one that has to be given the utmost attention when trying to determine on which side of the “extremist” scale practicing Muslims should be positioned. It is absolutely crucial to take political or religious views into consideration when endeavouring to establish whether a person is an extremist or not, and it is certainly an approach that is being used extensively by the media and the political classes when it comes to classifying non-Muslims with whom they disagree politically as “extremists”. The latest people to be labelled as “extremists” by the use of such methods are US Presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters, who have been given this classification based solely on their political views and not based on their actions or behaviours. It should also be noted that the views that have earned them this label are fairly innocuous, given that they have not called for the extermination of political opponents, the introduction of a fascist state, or advocacy for an authoritarian judicial system — concepts that practicing Muslims do embrace wholeheartedly without being stigmatized as extremists by the same MSM.
Now the question that should present itself when taking these things into consideration, and in particularly bearing in mind the issues raised previously pertaining to the undemocratic and violent nature of Islamic doctrine, is this: can a practicing Muslim’s belief in such concepts be interpreted as anything but a tacit acceptance of such views? And can such an individual be classified as anything but an extremist?
Most people would probably agree that it is not a sign of moderate behaviour to endorse and condone violence and anti-democratic activities; on the contrary, such behaviour is part and parcel of the mentality of an extremist. To use a popular saying, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is more than likely a duck. One could of course apply this to Muslims and Islam and say that if the Quran advocates undemocratic values it’s more than likely that a practicing Muslim believes in and condones these views and the he wishes to live in a society governed by them. It’s certainly a natural conclusion to make when looking at the facts in a rational manner.
It’s equally natural to conclude that a moderate individual would by definition reject Islamic doctrine, or any other violent and undemocratic ideology based solely on the given ideology’s level of extremism and its antagonism against those who seek to question and challenge its authority. From this it follows that a truly moderate Muslim would reject Islam, based on its general violent message. In effect he would become an apostate, i.e. a non-Muslim. One could of course attempt to make the case that a moderate Muslim could discard the violent and extreme parts of Islam and focus solely on its peaceful verses, and still be a Muslim, but this is an unrealistic assumption that fails to recognize the dominant position that violence and jihad enjoy in Islamic doctrine. Moreover, it would render the teachings of Muhammad completely meaningless, and severely question his judgment and authority.
We know that the MSM and the political classes base their definition of extremism — excluding Muslims, that is — exclusively on political beliefs, and label individuals with whom they disagree as “extremists” on a much flimsier basis. Why is it then that practicing Muslims with views that are evidently more extreme are being categorized as moderates? An honest approach would be to treat Muslims in the same manner that other groups are treated, and scrutinize and define them in a similar fashion. To have two opposing classifications systems, and use them selectively for political purposes, can only be described as intellectual dishonesty at best. The outcome of such an inquiry is of no real value, as it has been obtained by the use of faulty methods. Thus the term moderate as it is applied today by the Western elites to describe the majority of practicing Muslims is a dishonest and erroneous description of reality.
It should also be obvious that it is unreasonable to classify a practicing Muslim as a moderate or as an extremist based solely on the violent acts that this individual has or has not committed, or on the amount of extreme viewpoints promulgated by said individual, or the lack thereof. Most people would agree that extremism isn’t exclusively synonymous with violence, but that it can also be applied to those who embrace extreme political and ideological ideas, and who disseminate such. Nevertheless, this unreasonable classification system is the one that the MSM and the political classes have chosen to adopt.
If we accept that a truly moderate individual would reject Islamic doctrine based on its overall violent principles, then the only logical conclusion to make is that an individual who continues to publicly praise and Islam and worship Allah and Muhammad, and criticize those who question this ideology, must be viewed as an extremist, based on this individual’s espousal of extremist ideas.
The next question to ask, then, is this: Is it reasonable to assume that a person who condones Islam’s theological message of jihad is sincere whenever this person’s offers a condemnation of jihadi attacks in the MSM? It’s a scenario that we are able to witness every time an Islamic terrorist attacks occur, and whenever the MSM are pretending to do their job by pretending to confront members of the Islamic community. The answer has to be a resounding “NO” from a purely logical standpoint. It’s also a conclusion that is in line with what we have seen on numerous occasions when so-called moderate Muslims say one thing when interviewed by media people, and express diametrically different and opposing views when captured on hidden cameras.
All things considered, it’s exceptionally difficult to label practicing Muslims as anything but “extremists”, given their acceptance of the overabundance of extreme views that are found within Islamic doctrine, and their reluctance to distance themselves from these principles.
Looking at it from an honest perspective, the methodology that has been highlighted in this essay is the only sensible way to ascertain whether practicing Muslims are extremists or moderates, and the methodology of this essay is the only truly objective way to make sense of Islam and practicing Muslims.
The conclusion is that practicing Muslims cannot possibly be classified as anything but extremists, given the religious and political views that they espouse. It may not be what people wish to hear, but it is a conclusion that has been reached by employing a rational and honest method, and from now on the conclusion should be treated as fact.