By Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Middle East expert Daniel Pipes focuses public attention on a distinction between Muslim “moderates” and “extremists.” He also distinguishes between “Islamism” and “militant Islam” from Islam per se.
Now, let us admit at the outset that not every Muslim is a Jihadist. Indeed, Dr. Pipes’ estimates that “only” 10 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims support Jihad: that’s 150,000,000 people, a not very comforting number. Other experts estimate the number of Muslim supporters of Jihad as more than 20 percent or 300,000,000, roughly the population of the United States. That should make Obama voters sleep well.
That 9/11 was gleefully celebrated throughout Islamdom makes the distinction between “moderates” and “extremists” appear academic or “politically correct.” Not that there are no Muslims who sincerely deplore the extremists. Dr. Pipes has brought the names of some moderates to the public’s attention. He succumbs to obscurantism, however, when he admits that “militant Islam, with its Westphobia and goal of world hegemony, dominates Islam in the West [my emphasis] and appears to many commentators to be the only kind of Islam” (Jerusalem Post, September 24, 2003). Yes, that was thirteen years ago. But why did Pipes then limit “militant Islam” to the West? Doesn’t “militant Islam” dominate the East, the heart of the Islamic world?
Now, the question arises: “Why so much attention to Muslim “moderates,” a strategically insignificant matter when Muslim extremists dominate Islamdom and when America is at war with the most authentic disciples of Muhammad, who readily defeat “moderates” in any debate over the meaning of the Quran? In fact, Pipes himself has indicated that many “moderate” Muslims may be or become quiescent “extremists”!
This is more than a semantic issue. Imagine focusing public attention on German “moderates” in the midst of World War II. Wouldn’t this be disarming in the democratic world so given to pacifism or milk-and-toast liberalism? Moreover, didn’t all this talk about Muslim moderates mislead the West regarding the “Arab Spring.” which pundits on Sunday applauded as a democratic wave sweeping across the East only to discover on Monday that the “Arab Spring” was a misspelling of “Muslim Brotherhood”?
In his book Militant Islam Reaches America, Pipes quotes the following spokesmen: (1) Algerian secularist Said Sadi: “A moderate Islamist is someone who does not have the means of acting ruthlessly to seize power immediately.” (2) Osmane Bencherif, former Algerian ambassador to Washington: “It is misguided policy to distinguish between moderate and extreme Islamists. The goal of all is the same: to construct a pure Islamic state, which is bound to be a theocracy and totalitarian.” (3) Mohammad Mohaddessin, director of international relations for the People’s Mojahadin in Iran, a leading opposition force: “Moderate fundamentalists do not exist…. It’s like talking about a moderate Nazi.”
Dr. Pipes is not a milquetoast expert on Islam. But since he sees no way the United States can vigorously counter Islam without ceasing to be a liberal democracy, he obscures the evil nature of Islamic theology by reducing it to a political ideology. Islam …read more