“Moderate Islam Must Not Be Ignored”
Vol: 55 Issue: 18 Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Less than two hours before the new Israeli Knesset was sworn in, another Palestinian terrorist blew himself up outside a falafel stand in Tel Aviv.
Sami Hamad walked up to the falafel stand, which had been hit by a suicide bomber in January. The Israeli security guard, Binyamin Hafuta, spotted Hamad and blocked his entry into the restaurant, forcing Hamad to blow himself up outside. Hafuta’s fast thinking probably saved scores of lives, but it cost him his own. He was one of the nine victims of the attack who were killed.
Five of the victims were men, four of them women. Thirty-six others were wounded, including two children and a sixteen year-old American tourist (who is listed in critical condition.)
Sami Hamad had been a member of Hamas, but switched allegiances and joined Islamic Jihad, complaining that Hamas hadn’t killed any Israelis in a long time. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing. But it was Hamas’ reaction to the attack that made the headlines. Hamas member and Palestinian Authority Interior Minister said Palestinian security forces would not interfere with terror strikes against Israel.
“We will not put our sons in prison for political memberships or resisting occupation, because occupation is the reason for the problem,” Siam said.
The US condemned Monday’s attack, but WITHOUT the usual call for Israel to show restraint. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack issued a statement in which he “noted reactions by several Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, that defend or even applaud these barbaric actions, as we have noted President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s swift denunciation of it.”
Abbas’ “swift denunciation” came in the form of a statement saying: “This attack violates the Palestinian national consensus and runs contrary to our interests, and we as an authority and government must move to stop it We will not stop pursuing anyone who carries out such attacks. . .”
In other words, it was ‘despicable’ because it harmed ‘Palestinian national interests’ and NOT because it killed five fathers, four mothers and wounded 36 other innocent Israelis.
The most interesting Israeli response came from Israeli President Moshe Katzav, who said he was perplexed by the silence of Islamic spiritual leaders whenever terrorist attacks were carried out against Israelis by young Palestinians.
“We are the ones who tell them that this is counter to the teachings of the Koran,” he said. “Why are the Imams not saying this? There is no religious justification for killing people of another faith.”
Katzav’s remarks were interesting because they went unanswered by any Islamic leader. We hear constantly that terrorism runs counter to Islamic teachings, that Islam is a religion of peace and love and that the majority of the Islamic world is ‘moderate’.
So, where ARE all the moderates?
Khaleel Mohammed, an assistant professor of religion at San Diego State University is an Islamic ‘moderate.’ But he is hardly a member of any Islamic majority.
In an article called, “Moderate Islam Should Not Be Ignored” carried in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, authors Ilan Benjamin and Tammy Rossman-Benjamin argued:
“Khaleel Mohammed is a courageous man. His critical analysis of contemporary Islam puts him at odds with most Muslims around the world. Scholars such as Mohammed are rare in the Arab world because those who dare to challenge the prevailing understanding of Islam may be targeted for assassination and must flee to the West.”
Hmmm. Does this mean the majority of Islam lives in the West? Take another look at the column’s title.
If moderate Islam is the majority, then why do Islamic moderates like Khaleel Mohammed have to flee to the West to prevent being assassinated?
The authors note: “. . .there is another reason why Mohammed s scholarship, which speaks directly to the serious threat that militant Islam poses for the entire world, is not being given the fair and objective hearing it deserves at universities around the country. In the current climate of political correctness that pervades so many of our college campuses, Mohammed s call for a return to a more tolerant and authentic Islam has, ironically, itself been labeled as a racist attack on Islam. . . “
They noted that Mohammed came to speak at USSC last month: “Of the 10 university departments, colleges and research groups that were asked to co-sponsor Mohammed s talk, not one agreed; one explained that Mohammed was too controversial, even though all 10 academic units had previously co-sponsored numerous talks and events vilifying America and Israel. Also, in the weeks leading up to his visit, fliers announcing his talk were systematically torn down or obscured by fliers of a Muslim student group, denouncing Mohammed and disputing the legitimacy of his scholarship.”
Why is it that ‘moderate’ Islamic scholars get the cold shoulder from US universities who find no conflict in inviting speakers that ‘vilify America and Israel’? Money.
Five million dollars was donated to USC Berkeley by two Saudi sheiks linked to funding al-Qaeda. The University of Arkansas got $20 million; $11 million went to Cornell; another $8.1 million to Georgetown.
Other recipients of Arab government largesse include UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, USC, American University, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, Rice, Rutgers, Syracuse, Texas A&M and the University of Chicago.
Imam Siraj Wahaj is another Islamic ‘moderate’. In 1991, Wahaj was the first Muslim invited to give the invocation opening the US Congress. Not long after 9/11, he went on record saying, “I now feel responsible to preach, actually to go on a jihad against extremism.”
But Wahaj also warned that the United States will fall unless it “accepts the Islamic agenda.” He has lamented that “if only Muslims were clever politically, they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”
In the early 1990s he sponsored talks by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in mosques in New York City and New Jersey. The blind sheik was convicted of conspiring to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. Wahaj was designated a “potential un indicted co-conspirator.”
Islam is an extreme ideology that only appears to be ‘moderate’ when its adherents make unprincipled exceptions to it’s teachings. Muslims in general do not like using the term, understanding it to indicate an individual who has politically sold out to the other side.
In some internal intellectual debates, the term ‘moderate Muslim’ is used as a pejorative to describe a Muslim who is more secular and less Islamic than he should be. Still, it appears that there IS at least one Islamic ‘moderate’ in America.
At least, until one of his co-religionists offs him for blasphemy.