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July 21, 2005
The forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Domestic Terror, Politics, War on Terror

In his on point commentary for the London Free Press yesterday, columnist Salim Mansur explores The myth of the 'moderate' Muslim and opens with:

Since at least Sept. 11, 2001, the non-Muslim world at large has been waiting for that segment of the Muslim population designated as "moderate" to resolutely denounce terrorists who, in defiling its faith-tradition, have subverted Islam into a cult of death.

He then clearly provides a set of what would be working characteristics for "moderate" Muslims:

1. A counter-offensive repudiating war-mongering politics, terrorism, and suicide bombings.

2. That same counter-offensive isolating the extremists politically and socially.

3. Explicit support for the global war on terror.

4. Spontaneous or organized demonstrations in support of the victims of terror.

5. Spontaneous or organized demonstrations in unqualified condemnation of extremists who exploit Islam for criminal purposes.

6. Resolutely taking back their faith-tradition from extremists and murderers.

Any of these things would be publicly evidential and would certainly be caught on CNN's cameras should they occur - but that's not what we see. Mansur says that  what we observe instead is:

1. In the face of mounting atrocities Muslims have remained publicly complacent.

2. Their religious leaders are divided on what a proper Islamic response should be to terrorism and suicide bombings .

3.  They provide endless explanations that jihad, though misguided, is a response to the wrongs inflicted on Muslims by the West.

4. They foster societies where dissent is frowned upon  and opposition might be branded as seditious.

5. They malign and ostracize the singular or small groups of Muslims that unapologetically condemn the culture of violence and extremism among them.

While Mansur rightly lauds the small number of Muslim individuals who work for reform, he concludes that "moderate" Muslims are indeed a myth.

Given this state of affairs, in the light of the recent events in London, could there be no more clear clarion call for our society to break out of its multicultural malaise and alter the grave vulnerabilities we are exposed to?

To loosely quote Mark Steyn from his column this week that I just posted about: The London bombers appeared to be assimilated - but they had no allegiance to the society into which they appeared to be assimilated. This is one of the fundamental lessons of 7/7.

Mansur writes that "Consequently, what might pass for "moderate" Muslims, the large number of Muslims unaccounted for as to what they think, in practical terms constitute a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary"... and this really demonstrates the clear and present danger that we face in the world's democracies. It is why I have been arguing that we need for the trees in the forest to clearly declare their allegiance - and invite such demonstrations of "moderation" that Mansur prescribes.

If the unaccounted for as to what they think will not do that - and we must find the cultural and political will to do so - we must take up our own "moderate" counter-offensive and isolate them and if necessary deport them - to prevent "a forest within which extremists are incubated, nurtured, given ideological and material support, and to which they return for sanctuary".

The time is up for our own complacency. The mangled bodies and blood in the streets of London say that it is. And today, the attacks there continue.

H/T Gail at Scribal Terror for the Mansur piece as well as her thoughts that I value.



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People Pulling

Why would a moderate rat out an extremist? There's no reward. There's the threat to their life, their work, their family. There would be the immediate fatwa. If the average moderate Muslim is like the average moderate Christian, their being a Muslim is only part of their identity and they are unlikely to be willing to risk it all in order to maintain the good name of their faith. However, if we start killing Muslims right and left then all Muslims will feel targeted and the backlash will begin. The Islamofacists pay people to blow themselves up. Perhaps we need to pay people to turn in the Islamofacists wherever we don't want them. Why not throw a little money at the problem? Morality doesn't seem to be motivating them.

Thanks for your considered thoughts as always, Ana. I'm not talking about them 'ratting out' extremists. I'm talking about them declaring which side they are on. I'm not talking about killing "moderates" - I'm talking about preventing them from giving succor to the extremists. If they are so pliable, they certainly won't mind a little allegiance work. And if the extremists beheading people aren't enough to get them riled, then probably nothing will.

The money idea sounds good. Haven't they offered like $50 million for Bin Laden and $25 million for al-Zarqawi? Are you talking about more 'on the ground' rewards?

Posted by: Ana at Jul 21, 2005 1:17:36 PM

You mentioned isolation and deportation and that's a reasonable action. Racial profiling makes sense as well. Still, how do we figure out who the bad guys are? They'll just walk and talk like moderates until it's time for the cell to blow some people up. How do we encourage those who would know something to come forward with that information when doing so gets them labeled shirks and put on the fatwa list? Which is where I think the money comes in. You give us information about a cell and we give you money.

As for killing moderates, I was thinking about something I heard on Boortz this morning. 'Put a bomb over Mecca and five more over five Arab capitols and say, "we know you're not doing it, but you know who is. Next terror attack and we drop a bomb." ' Well, I can see how that might work, but on purely practical grounds, I think that the backlash makes it impractical. It's shaky on moral grounds. Collateral damage taken to a whole new level. And yet, there's a psychological principle at work here, too. When you are dealing with crazy people, you have to talk the crazy talk and do the crazy things or they aren't going to pay attention.

So I go back to bribery. It is not an elegant solution, but look at the alternatives.

Posted by: Ana at Jul 21, 2005 2:40:26 PM

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