The Blog of Cafe Dissensus Magazine – we DISSENT

Can Moderate Muslims Defeat the Extremist Monsters?

By Kouser Fathima

The Paris Attacks are a blot on humanity; the perpetrators again have struck in the heart of a city sending waves of panic. While the attacks have been strongly condemned by all, it has also forced the world leaders to replan their strategy against the IS. People from all faiths and all walks of life have expressed their grief and shown their solidarity with the victims. The attacks have brought Islam under scrutiny. The Muslims are now judged based on the action of few barbaric terrorists, only because they claim to carry out such barbarity in the name of Islam. As in the case previous attacks, there are calls for reforming Islam and for the moderate voices in the community to be more vocal.

Apart from the IS terrorists, the whole incident has brought the Moderate Muslims into limelight. Suddenly the Moderate Muslims (henceforth, MM) are the most talked about entity. The world wants them to take a stand, speak out, condemn the terrorists; some even want them to fight against the terrorists. MMs suddenly appear like the new superheroes, who have the duty of rescuing the world from the terrorists.

But who are these moderate Muslims and where are they to be found? Do they have any typical markers, specific look? How do we describe them? What do they do? Are they any different from other Muslims? And, most importantly, how do we define Moderate Muslims? In simple words, an MM is one who doesn’t endorse the ideology of the hardliners or extremists. An MM is a normal person living an ordinary life in any part of the world, facing his/her own problems, worried about  his/her job, upset with the raising petrol prices and bad traffic, coping with  his/her routine life. The MMs have absolutely nothing to do with this bunch of jerks, who go around killing people for whatever reason. Just because these guys claim to be doing the killing in the name of Islam, it doesn’t mean all Muslims are responsible for their barbaric act. And then for the world to expect that the moderates among Muslims should stand up against these terrorists is a crazy thought, to say the least.

Remember here we are talking of a well-organised, heavily-armed, ruthless terrorist organisation responsible for the death of hundreds of innocents. Some of the most powerful nations are not able to destroy them and you want the MMs to take on them. Just because one hates and denounces their ideology, it doesn’t guarantee that one is bestowed with some supernatural power to defeat them. Not being a part of this barbaric ideology does give one a moral high but not special power. Let’s make it clear that the MMs can’t foresee the future and predict the next attack nor can they fly across the continents to save the world. Stop confusing them with the fictional superheroes. This is what happens if you are hooked to too much Hollywood.

Few experts on ‘Radical Islam’ want the MMs to address the terrorists, reprimand them, remind them of the right path and try to change them. It sounds as if these nut-heads are actually waiting to be guided by the MMs. As if, on reading our message, they would immediately give up everything and get reformed. Only if things were so easy. Then we have the reformer-types, who blame everything on the holy book; they want the MMs to denounce the book, or at least change some verses of the book. They forget that the killings during the World Wars or the by the Nazis had nothing to do with the book. If someone wants to kill they will do so even without the book. By cherry-picking verses or even circulating fake verses, you are simply alienating Muslims with the only agenda of aiding the propaganda of the extremists. By ignoring the geopolitical reasons and blaming only the faith or faith-based ideology, the world is only displaying its intellectual laziness. 1.8 billion followers of a faith are scrutinised due to the act of few and then you expect  the moderates to change the narrative. Seriously!

Not that the MMs are completely helpless; they can be more vigilant, oppose any radicalised views, bring into notice any propagation of hardcore ideology. But putting the entire onus on them is wrong. Moderate Muslims are also humans, who fear for their lives as much as the rest of you do. And I would repeat again that we have no super-powers to tackle this menace.

We are human and let us be human.

We strongly condemn all the barbarity done in the name of our faith, Islam. We stand with the world in its fight against terrorism. We are as angry as the rest of the world but we can’t take out these monsters alone. If these monsters have to be defeated, it has to be done by the combined effort of all, not by one particular community.

Dr. Kouser Fathima is a Bangalore-based dentist who writes on issues concerning women, especially Muslim women. Email: Twitter: @drkf_18

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