Friday, December 11, 2009

Moderate Muslims

We all know that most Muslims are moderate Muslims, and we are all comforted by that thought. It is a fact that is so unimpeachable that no one bothers to provide substantiation, and it's hard to know how it could be substantiated anyway.

Well I have a suggestion. It seems to me that a reasonable definition of a moderate Muslim might be someone who is willing to publicly renounce and repudiate:
  1. the Qur'anic command to punish apostates with death.
  2. the Qur'anic approval of wife-beating under certain circumstances.
  3. the Qur'anic tradition of forced marriages and child brides.
  4. the Qur'anic tradition of honor killings.
There are probably more things that could be added to the list, but this seems a good start.

Some might -- with some justification -- say that this would require Muslims to cease to be orthodox Muslims. It's something about which I don't know enough Islamic theology to have an opinion. But if there is any validity to it, or to the extent that there is validity, it would seem to throw the whole matter of Islmaic moderation into question. I don't say this is the case, and I certainly hope it is not.

Have I missed something? Any thoughts or suggestions?


Mike said...

I don't know much about Islam but from what I understand it is de-centralized. Such a pronouncement, then, wouldn't have authority unless it was drawn up in a sort of unifying contract. I don't know if that's right or not, but that is the first thing I though about.

ignatius said...


It may be a gap in my knowledge, but are you sure honor killing is a Quranic tradition? Honor killing is a means for a family to redeem themselves from the disgrace brought upon them by a wayward daughter. Though it is strongly linked to Muslim circles, I believe it reflects a tribal ethic, not a Quranic tradition.

Kevin said...

I've read at one catechism on islam. I suppose that makes me knowledgeable enough to be dangerous.

I would agree that if a group or individual rejects the things you list, that would be a fine definition of moderate. Probably calling them all Q'ranic might be erroneous for the reasons mentioned by Ignatius.

Not a bad set of ideas Gil.

ignatius said...

Gil, you might want to include a renunciation of slavery on your list, also a renunciation of polygamy, also a renunciation of the so-called lesser jihad, directed against non-Muslims, real or perceived.