The Search For The Moderate Muslim


This may be one of the most difficult issues to deal with for those of us who are working to defeat the third jihad: What about the moderate Muslims? Is there such a thing? What does "moderate" mean?

I think what most of us hope it means is "a Muslim that openly and definitely repudiates the violent, intolerant, supremacist passages in the Koran."

But the more I read about mainstream "moderate" Muslim organizations in America, the more I realize that what I hope "moderate" means and what those "moderate Muslims" mean by the term are entirely different. I am getting the feeling that the term "moderate Muslim" is not only pointless, but misleading — perhaps even deliberately misleading.

We should stop using the term. We should come up with a name for Muslims who straightforwardly reject the violent, intolerant passages in the Koran and openly reject the supremacist ideology strewn throughout Islamic teachings.

In my opinion, someone who does that is not really a Muslim, but maybe they still enjoy praying five times a day and fasting during Ramadan, so they might prefer to call themselves Muslims. Maybe they don't want to be rejected by their community and family. Who am I to tell someone what they call themselves?

On the other hand, we non-Muslims need a term that draws a distinction between the two types of Muslims. One type is dangerous to non-Muslims and one is not. A Muslim may not care about this distinction, but it's pretty important to us non-Muslims.

I heard Walid Phares use the term "democracy-seeking Muslims" and I thought that was pretty good, but it doesn't go far enough. Until a Muslim acknowledges that there are, in fact, calls to violence and intolerance against non-Muslims in their central holy book, and then repudiates those specific Koranic passages, I don't feel that Muslim can be trusted.

I know that would sound terrible to someone who doesn't know anything about Islam. But really, this is a pretty straightforward matter. If you call yourself a Muslim, almost everybody on earth is assuming you think the Koran contains the core teachings you will follow. For us non-Muslims who have read the book, that's a scary thought. For those of you who haven't read it yet, these passages will give you an idea: What the Koran Says About Non-Muslims.

So a firm repudiation of those passages would at least acknowledge that the Muslim knows those passages exist and acknowledges that they should be rejected. I know it is entirely possible someone saying so could be lying, but it would at least be a start.

What should we call Muslims who repudiate intolerant and supremacist Islamic teachings? "Moderate" isn't good enough. How about "Scrubbed Muslims?" "Jihad-rejecting Muslims?" "Freed Muslims?" "Friendly Muslims?" "Non-jihadi Muslims?" "Pluralist Muslims?"

I like "Jihad-rejecting Muslims," or JRMs. As far as non-Muslims are concerned, JRMs are the only ones we should engage in "interfaith dialogs" and the only ones allowed to provide counsel for the FBI and the only ones translating documents for security services.

JRMs are the only Muslims who should be allowed to preach in mosques in free countries or teach in madrassas. This is just simple, reasonable self-preservation. A person who calls himself a Muslim but does not openly reject the killing of non-Muslims for being non-Muslims, and who does not reject the overthrow of legitimate democracies, and who does not reject Shari'a law, should not be allowed into those positions. That should be a no-brainer for any person who cares about their government's survival.

So far there aren't many Muslims who are clearly JRMs. The term "moderate Muslims" lets them off the hook — they don't have to risk rejection by their families or perhaps even risk their lives openly repudiating specific Koranic passages, and non-Muslims are left with no way to tell who is a friend and who is a foe.

The term "moderate Muslim" also allows Muslims to remain "undeclared." They don't have to decide whose side they are on. They can secretly harbor a wish that some day their democratic country will be ruled by Shari'a, that some day Islam will reign supreme over the whole world, and that some day all kafirs will pay the jizya (tax on non-Muslims), and yet they may look in every way like a good citizen, trusted by non-Muslims, allowed into influential positions, etc. But if circumstances permitted, they would work toward their Islamic supremacist fantasy. They can function like a kind of sleeper cell in our midst.

By making our own term and defining it, we can make a clear distinction for ourselves and for Muslims, between who is an enemy and who is a friend.

I don't know if simply rejecting jihad would be even be enough, however. One of the most fundamental principles of Islam is that loyalty to Islam comes before loyalty to anything else, including one's country or even one's family. Wouldn't that be a potential problem if the person is working for the government? But maybe our definition of a JRM could include a repudiation of this Islamic hierarchy of loyalties as well.

Another problem is that it says in the Koran 91 times that a Muslim should use Mohammad as an example to emulate. And Mohammad ordered the torture of people, personally participated in beheading 600 people in one night, ordered and led raids on caravans, captured, owned and had sex with slaves, and spent the last ten years of his life conquering and subjugating people. So the definition of a JRM would also have to include a bold rejection of the idea that Mohammad is someone who should be imitated.

Since the stakes are so high for us non-Muslims (being the target of the violence), and since it is easy enough to find out what it actually says in the Koran (that it's a Muslim's duty to fight against the unbelievers until no god is worshiped in the world but Allah), we would be foolish to cavalierly grant our trust to Muslims until they prove themselves trustworthy.

The onus, the burden of proof, is not on non-Muslims.

Muslims will have to prove themselves trustworthy. This whole thing is difficult for all of us, but this distinction must be made. It's a sane response for non-Muslims to make to this sticky situation.

If any Muslim thinks this is offensive or intolerable or somehow outrageous, I think we have discovered someone who is trying to pretend those dangerous passages are not in their holy book, and that sounds like someone we cannot trust.

But if non-Muslims named and defined who we would be willing to trust, and we did it clearly and defiantly, we might find out how many Muslims are on the side of freedom, equality, and pluralism. What do you think?


Anonymous 3:42 PM  

I think you may well be right, and I come to this conclusion sadly, since I too do not wish to tell people how to describe themselves.

But sites like yours and mine have spent months, some years, advising "moderate Muslims" to "come out" and show themselves willing to question some of their barbaric teachings.

It may well be that many of them are as "secular" and habitual in their religion as non-Muslims, but due to the ferocity of some in their midst they are cowed into submission and are afraid to speak out.

After all, the very word Islam means "submission". And what the Khoran says is considered unquestionable.

I don't know where this is headed, but here in Britain I am deeply concerned that not one of the main political parties is looking at the issue of Islamist fundamentalism, which we know is breeding in (some) mosques, universities, communities and inside prisons.

Meanwhile Sharia law now has its sister in our land - Sharia courts, in at least five cities.

I'd like to use or refer to your article at my blog. I hope this is alright with you.

Many thanks for your thoughts here.

Citizen Warrior 11:56 PM  

BlairSupporter, it's definitely all right with me if you use or refer to my article. I love being referred to!

Anonymous 7:48 AM  

Great piece CW, I think 'Secular Muslims' might be good for us non-Muslims.

"Approximate antonyms for secular are religious and devout."

This might bother some Muslims, but it's a good way in a simple 'label' to continually remind Infidels where the difference lies.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe
HATES secular humans

rejecting what is backwards
in religions that they love

absurd thought –
God of the Universe says
Earth is a terrible place

but it is still the best
planet in the Universe

All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
Help Halt Terrorism Today!


Anonymous 3:55 PM  

Have added the link - in fact your whole article. There was nothing I wanted to leave out.

PinkNeck 3:49 PM  

What do I think? Hmmm. I think the religion itself is deadly and therefore anyone who follows it is also deadly, even if all they do is tithe to their mosque who then gives the money to those who are more deadly. ALL MUSLIMS ARE DEADLY TO FREEDOM!

I would ask any Muslim: Why are you a Muslim if you don't agree with jihad? with Mohammud? with Shari'a law?

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

I agree with pinkneck. Asking a Muslim to reject any part of the Koran,or to say Muhammad was anything less than the perfect Prophet is like asking a Christian to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ; it negates the entire belief system.Jesus was not an advocate of violence,Muhammad was fluent in the language of conquest.Therefore,anyone who follows the teachings of this raving lunatic Muhammad must be dealt with,harshly if need be.

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

Muslims against Sharia is a good example of moderate or secular Muslims This includes the filmmaker of the Third Jihad, also a secular or moderate Muslim. They do exist and they are beginning to speak out, but their numbers are small. I look forward to the growth of this movement.

Dar Alharb 5:01 AM  

An excellent article with excellent commentary following.

I heard an excellent question recently that if the koran is the word of god; that if sharia is the law of god; then can man transform it into something else?

I would like for all of the world's muslims to be "JRMs", but if that were the case, could they truly still be called muslim?

Al taubah, or sura 9, actually the next to last -- or penultimate -- revealed sura, is universal and eternal. Can we cut that and the other unabrogated 'bad parts' like 98:6 (repeated many times in slightly different words) out of the koran?

I think not. What we have left with the transformation of islam into a peaceful 'love thy neighbor' type of religion is not islam at all. The "submitted" (muslims) become the anchorless; the adrift.

The desert pirate and his fake god become meaningless.

Islam delende est.

OneLove 5:18 PM  

You're saying that Muslims who are NOT terrorists are those who don't know about Islamic doctrine. So you're saying that perhaps 99 percent of Muslims in this world don't know the doctrine of their own religion? That's rather misleading, considering there are many different interpretations of what the "Islamic doctrine" really is. So, in effect, what you're doing is, you're taking the worst of the Muslims, and you're telling the ignorant non-Muslims in the West that THAT is what Islam is all about. Eventually they will hate ALL Muslims, even if you say that's not what you intend to do. You know, in the end, you're just a preacher of hate. You're just the same as the terrorists who preach hate.

Citizen Warrior 9:08 PM  

Hating people who call themselves Muslims would be stupid. But knowing what the doctrine says is smart. I have read many versions of the Koran. They all say the same thing. They use different words, but it is very similar. Don't take my word for it. Don't take anyone's word for it. Read it yourself. You can obviously read. Check it out for yourself.

The DOCTRINE is hostile to non-Muslims. Luckily many Muslims either ignore the ugly parts or don't know what it says. But you don't need a huge majority to make it a dangerous doctrine.

Why the Peaceful Majority is Irrelevant

You're probably a good person who just wants the world to be at peace, and I can appreciate that. But which would be the best use of your time? To convince me not to educate non-Muslims about the doctrine of Islam, or convincing believing, orthodox Muslims that they're interpreting the doctrines incorrectly?

Matthew Dickinson 8:50 PM  

The best thing to do is just judge people based on whether they have been found guilty in a court of law for basic crimes, such as a violation of the Noahide Laws or Ten Commandments.

Sharia law, or Koranic law, in my view, is not compatible with American law or Western political philosophy. It doesn't allow certain things that we hold sacred, such as freedom of thought and speech.

But advocating that people can't have the freedom to believe in the Koran, or worship as they please (in mosques) also violates this fundamental American principle!

We must assume people are innocent until proven guilty, and not assume guilt based on their beliefs. We already have laws in place that protect against the crimes you assume occur in any devout Muslim who practices his religion, such as laws against murder, forced belief, aiding and abetting enemies (funding terrorism), etc.

These laws protect against whatever a religion teaches, whether it's Islam or some new sect. The laws are not based on abolishing a certain religion.

When anti-Islamists like yourselves want Muslims banned, they mean anyone from 1 years old and up, regardless of criminal history. But again that goes against hundreds of years of criminal justice and political philosophy -- you have to judge a person (criminal) by his actions, not an expectation of what he may do in the future according to his beliefs.

Anonymous 6:16 AM  

I want to see a fatwa, an official change, to the Koran, atmo, moderates can lapse into nut-case behaviour, leaving on-lookers, like me anyway, unable to trust them

Babs 9:17 AM  

Hello, Citizen. Thought-provoking article, particularly:

"The onus, the burden of proof, is not on non-Muslims.

"Muslims will have to prove themselves trustworthy. This whole thing is difficult for all of us, but this distinction must be made. It's a sane response for non-Muslims to make to this sticky situation.

"If any Muslim thinks this is offensive or intolerable or somehow outrageous, I think we have discovered someone who is trying to pretend those dangerous passages are not in their holy book, and that sounds like someone we cannot trust..."

However, I am not sure that I agree with your reasoning in the final paragraph I quoted above. The default position for many Muslims is over-defensiveness, and I am not sure whether we can assume that these want to deny the warlike nature of Islam. Yet again, dare we take the chance?

@Matthew Dickinson, I am not sure what you are arguing. For many/most Muslims the sharia and worship and literal belief in the koran are all of a piece. Have you read the koran? It is one of the most hate-filled, bloodthirsty religious books I have ever come across. There is no injunction in it to love thy neighbour, no sense of a Golden Rule to be applied by its faithful. Instead, it enjoins Muslims to make war on you, me and any other kufr (non-Muslim) until the whole world becomes Islamic. Remember good Muslims are enjoined to take those commandments literally.

No-one can be prevented from believing what they want to believe but when Islam takes that to a new level, and demands of its slaves that they translate those violent introjected beliefs, many put into them in childhood, into action or they will condemned to hell fire for eternity, it should be stopped.

I, for one, am not inclined to play "Muslim roulette", particularly after the recent murder by attempted beheading of Drummer Lee Rigby in the name of Islam. I do not see why I should be tasked with assessing which Muslims are or are not a threat to me and my family.

To that extent, I agree with Citizen. The onus must be on Muslims to prove that they can be trusted not to attack us. If they refuse and/or cannot, then I am not prepared to trust them in any way.

Also, and I mean this respectfully, you really should learn more about how Muslims/Islam are likely to react to our liberal, Western values of innocent until proven guilty - particularly where they are anything but. A would-be jihadi or other sort of extremist would chuckle, though not to your face, perceive you to be a pushover, and use your attitude, laudable in so many other ways, to undermine your own power and status. How else has Islam gained so much traction in the West?

Babs 9:36 AM  

@OneLove, you are not partialling in to your argument the essential koranic injunction that the Muslim's main loyalty is to his fellow Muslim rather than to the state or to anything or anyone else.

That being the case, and given the active discouragement of critical thinking about Islamic doctrine and the extent to which it can/should be followed in the present, the Muslim's lack of knowledge of that doctrine is immaterial - he must do as his imam bids as if he knows what the doctrine means.

The essential question is whether we should be expected to have to play "Muslim roulette" - to take chances about which Muslims actually mean to do us harm because the koran commands it, or whether we should try to be proactive and do the equivalent of "heading them off at the pass" by instituting measures (insofar as we can) that will sort out the jihadi sheep (and they ARE sheep) from the decent Muslim goats.

We dare not assume, given the koranic injunctions to smite the necks of infidels, (and knowing that this is meant to be taken literally by the faithful)that there is moderate Islam, unless it is proven to us that there is.

The Atheist 10:16 AM  

I think on of the problems in western societies with Islam is, that we put it into the category of religion. But the ideas associated with religion come form our own christian history.

There have been times in history, when christianity was abused in different ways to justify violence and suppression.

The common conclusion form this is, that violence is abuse of religion. Which is true for christianity and buddhism. Neither Buddha nor Jesus have been violent or have promoted violence in any way.

I am German. We have learned: Although Hitler was the head of a political party (NSDAP) and the party was elected democratically in 1933, his party and his ideas were not compatible with our standards of democracy and human rights. Today, we make a clear distinction between democratic parties and parties that are not compatible with our political system. Just because an organisation is labeled as political party, it does not make it compatible with our modern democracies.

For some reasons, we do not make a similar distinction when it comes to religion. Just because Islam has the label religion means it is inherently peaceful and the non peaceful parts are abuse of the religion of Islam.

In politics, we have learned our lessons, but have we learned it when it comes to Religion?

What happens if you take the teachings of Jesus or Buddha seriously? What happens if you act like Jesus or Buddha? What happens if you act like Muhammad?

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

"This sentence is false." The paradox of the lie should never be forgotten.

But even so, islam encourages all of their own to lie to all the rest of us to achieve their own ends.

As for freedom to worship as you see fit, it is a wonderful concept, but one must first include only religions which do not demand the extinction of all the others.

This needs to be addressed in the article body, for those who don't go this deep into the comments.


Walter Sieruk 1:20 PM  

On the subject of Islam with it’s founder and prophet, Muhammad. It’s not always the guestion was he really a prophet. He might had been one. So the question was Muhammad a prophet send by God or was he a false prophet send by Satan to speak falsehoods and lead many people astray. After all, Jesus had warned “Beware of false prophets,which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Mathew 7:15. The way to tell if a prophet, teacher, or relgion is a true one or not is does that prophet, teacher or religion have doctrines and teaching that are consistent with what the Word of God [theBible] teaches. As it is explained in Isaiah 8:20. reads “To the law and to the testimonty: ifthey speak not according to this word, it is because the it is because there is no light in them.” [KJV] In other words if a prophet ,teacher of religion teaches things that are in contradiction to the Bible than person is a false prophet or teacher and that religion is a false religion and is part of the wolrld of darkness. Islam denies tha Jesus is God this is in strong contradiction to the teachings of the Bible that teaches that Jesus is God. As seen in John 1:13. Romans 9:5. Colossians 1:15-17. Hebrews 1:8. Second Peter 1:1. Titus 2:13. First John 5:20. Furthermore , All one need to do to see that Jesus is God is to compare Isaiah 45:22,23 with Philippians 2;5-11. Likewise by comparing Psalm 89:8,9. with Mathew 8:23-27. To further understand that Jesus is God. Just by comparing the New Testament with itself will also show Jesus to be God. As in comparing John 5:2. with Romans 14:12. The list of the places that teach that Jesus is God may go on but these few are enough to show that the teaching of Islam about Jesus is in great contrast the teaching of the Bible. Many imams and mullahs wil try to cover this up by claiming that the Bible had been corupted by Christians through time. This claim ,in fact, denies or ar least understemates the Power of God to protect His word from the corruption or multilation of men through the passing of time , By theimamsand mullahs trying to cut down the Bible also exposes just how little their Islamic teaching are supported in the Bible. In short. according to the Bible Islam is part of the world of darkness and is also a false religion, Proverbs 14;12. John 14:6.

Ben 8:43 PM  

Puts me in mind of an old racist joke: "Does U believe?". A believer is not moderate and can not be trusted. Belief in Allah, his imperatives, threat and promise is disqualifying.

You ask Muslims to abandon Islam, to make it something other than Islam.

Instead of letting go that rope, the believer will implement the al-taqeyya license found in 3.28

Rejecting any part of the Qur'an or sunnah is a capital offense leading to execution. They will not do it any more than rattle snakes will quit biting or skunks will quit spraying. Jihad is what Islam is; what Muslims do.

Ben 8:51 PM  

@ Anonymous BC:

Is there a right to attack, rape, pillage, plunder and enslave?

Then there is no right to manifest and practice Islam because Islam entails those actions.

The second attack on the World Trade Center is declared by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad as an act of worship. "service to God"
Muslims are comanded to obey Allah and emulate Moe.

"Fight them until" and "made victorious with terror" are clues for you.

Citizen Warrior 1:09 AM  

We received this comment via email:

Excellent issues!

Below, I am giving a submission of mine, which was never published by my local paper.

It is relevant to the questions you raise.


Letter: Noted intellectual castigates Jihad and the Left

Noted intellectual Sam Harris accuses the Jihad theology of Islam of "misuse of religious ecstasy,"
and blames the Left for failing to understand the threat of Jihad, in considering "Dick Cheney to be more dangerous than Osama bin Laden."

Sam Harris further says that the recent killing of non-Muslims by Jihadists in a mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya (in which the victims were mutilated and tortured prior to being killed), and the killing of Christians by Jihadists in the church bombing in Pakistan, are "no ordinary violence." Harris asserts that Islamic Jihad is true Islam, and that it "presents an enormous threat to civil society, which apologists for Islam and secular liberals can now be counted upon to obfuscate."

Harris concludes: "Until moderate Muslims and secular liberals stop misplacing the blame for this evil, they will remain part of the problem. "

These ideas are explained by Sam Harris in several articles which are available at his website:

Citizen Warrior 11:44 AM  

Someone emailed this comment:

I like to stick to the source language so people can recognize it if they actually read the sources, like Mecca Muslims and Medina Muslims and apostate Muslims. I tell people that moderate Muslims are only conforming until Sharia law can be enforced and that all Muslims are required to enforce Sharia law whenever it is possible. Moderate Muslims are only moderate until Islam is dominant.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

JonTurk. Muslims who engage in premarital sex, drink beer, do many other prohibited things are spreading corruption in the land. Koran 5:33 commands the killing of those who spread corruption in the land, Boko Haram bombs such people, am not sure those Turks could properly be called Muslims.

Anonymous 6:35 AM  

Your thinking seems along the lines of this recently published article by someone whose entire family is Muslim:

But then there are Muslims such as the Ismaili who have throughout their history been subject to violence and persecution from other Islamic groups who call them apostate because they believe the Koran to be more of a metaphorical document. Esoteric Islam is not new, so I'm not sure we need a new term for "Moderate Muslims" as much as we need more exposure of the already well established Muslims who have no history of violence or theocratic literalism.

Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Citizen Warrior,
i read your article quite misleading and spreading wrong information to society.

you should first spell correctly the word Koran as Quran :)

you should wrote article on those people personnel's religion who destroyed Muslim countries and expect them to not show any sign of pain or any kind of reaction....
you are a dumbo setting there somewhere comfortably and feeding these lies to peoples...

A Muslime

Citizen Warrior 12:20 AM  

I've read the Koran twice and quite a bit of the Hadith and Sira.

Here is an answer about the spelling of Koran:

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.


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