Monday, January 13, 2014

Moderate Islam: A Myth or just Irrelevant

It’s hard to deny the extent of Islamic violence, even in Western nations. However, the secular narrative has drawn a sharp distinction between radical and moderate Islam, assuming that the latter group represents the majority and will eventually exercise a moderating influence. However, there are many indications that this assessment might be nothing more than wishful thinking. For example:

  • In May, an opinion poll published by NCRV public television and radio found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of Dutch Muslims believe that Muslims who travel to participate in jihad in Syria are heroes. Most Muslims (75%) surveyed believe that those who want to leave for Syria should be free to do so and do not want them to be arrested and prosecuted. Upon their return, they should be accepted back into Dutch society and their Dutch passports should not be revoked.

With such high esteem for terror and Jihad within the Islamic community, there is little reason to expect that these tendencies will be checked. These findings receive support from other surveys. For example, the:

  • “Berlin Center for Social Science Research” has conducted a survey whose results were just published in a paper by Ruud Koopmans, “Fundamentalism and out-group hostility Muslim immigrants and Christian natives in Western Europe” (free download at the link; WZB’s summary is here).

The respondents were Muslims of Turkish and Moroccan origin – certainly not the most radical Islamic nations. However, Koopmans was surprised by the findings and concluded:

  • These findings clearly contradict the often-heard claim that Islamic religious fundamentalism is a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe or that it does not differ from the extent of fundamentalism among the Christian majority. Both claims are blatantly false, as almost half of European Muslims agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, that there is only one interpretation of the Koran, and that the rules laid down in it are more important than secular laws. 

Even more startling, approximately 53% of the Muslim respondents admitted that “Muslims aim to destroy Western culture.” This raises the question of the survival of Western democracy in light of a growing subculture from which many will readily use violence to replace democracy and Western values with Islamic Law.

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