Islamic Apologist: Stop Saying ‘Moderate Muslims’

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


NatSince at least the 9/11 attacks, we have been reassured constantly that Islam means peace, that violent jihad is being waged by a tiny minority of extremists, and that most Muslims are moderate. But on a Heritage Foundation panel recently, terrorism expert Brigitte Gabriel correctly dismissed that “peaceful majority” of Muslims as “irrelevant” to the equation. And now at least one prominent apologist for Islamic terrorism wants to do away with the term “moderate” altogether.

On a special episode of Hannity a week ago called “Radical Muslims on the March,” host Sean Hannity skeptically asked self-described moderate Muslim Michael Ghouse of the America Together Foundation if the voices of the Islamic community are loud enough to counter “the radicals hijacking your religion.”

“They’re not loud enough,” conceded Ghouse. “We need to gather momentum.” Nearly thirteen years after the 9/11 attacks on our own soil, the moderates who are supposedly the vast majority of the Islamic community are still struggling to gather momentum and make their voices heard? Later in the show Ghouse, whose organization seems more focused on combating the stereotyping of Muslims as radicals than combating the radicals themselves, proved why moderate Muslims like him are ineffectual allies against jihad. In a heated confrontation with FrontPage’s own editor-in-chief Jamie Glazov, Ghouse tried to deflect responsibility for Islamic terrorism away from the religion itself when he shouted that “Islam is not dangerous, it is the bad people that are dangerous.” Bad people – as if the ideology driving jihad is simply “badness.”

Last week Nathan Lean posted an article at The New Republic online entitled “Stop Saying ‘Moderate Muslims.’ You’re Only Empowering Islamophobes,” in which he questions the very legitimacy of that phrase. “This moderate Muslim nonsense,” as he puts it, is “intellectually lazy because it carves the world up into two camps: the ‘good’ Muslims and the ‘bad’ Muslims,” and gives credence to the “unfounded notion” that the more pious the Muslim, the more dangerous.

Who is Nathan Lean? He is the author of The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (with a foreword by Saudi-funded Islam apologist John Esposito), a title that ridiculously suggests that we have nothing to fear from Islam except fear-mongering itself. Did the right manufacture 9/11? The Ft. Hood massacre? The Boston Marathon bombing? What an insulting, patently false notion – that there is less to fear from the savagery of jihad than from the patriots warning us about it. As for the mythical phenomenon of “Islamophobia,” FrontPage readers are well aware that it is a Muslim Brotherhood neologism designed to demonize and marginalize critics of Islam like Brigitte Gabriel, whom Lean smears as “wackos.”

In his TNR piece, Lean complains that “until proven good, or in this case ‘moderate,’ all Muslims are perceived as ‘bad,’ or potentially extreme.” The obvious response here, which Lean doesn’t admit, is that if Muslims are perceived that way, perhaps it might be the result not of anti-Muslim paranoia but of the rabidly violent resurgence of Islamic supremacism throughout the world today.

After all, he argues, “We certainly don’t spend our time searching out ‘moderate’ Christians or Jews.” That’s quite simply because we don’t have to. “Sure, Muslims give us plenty of bad examples,” he concedes in the understatement of the year, but we shouldn’t let those examples “constipate our ability to perform basic logic.”

Actually, it is Lean’s logic function that is constipated. For example, regarding Gabriel’s comment that the moderate Muslim majority is irrelevant, Lean sniffs that “I shouldn’t have to explain that it’s usually the majority of a given group that makes the minority irrelevant, not vice versa.” Do I really have to explain to him that a majority can be irrelevant if they remain passive and silent, or possibly even complicit, in the face of a more intensely committed minority? He refers to the “supposed silence” of moderate Muslims in “this supposed age of Islamist extremism” (supposed?) and goes on to wonder where “the examples of such supposedly widespread extremism are.” Seriously? If he wants examples, he can start paying attention to world events or perhaps read FrontPage Mag and Jihadwatch. There are plenty of examples to be found for those with eyes to see.

Lean resents that “moderate Muslims” are expected either to “condemn violence or other loathsome acts” or be considered “a terrorist lying in wait.” This raises an obvious question: why wouldn’t any moderate Muslims condemn the violence and loathsome acts committed by those whom they insist have hijacked their religion? Isn’t it reasonable to be suspicious of Muslims who won’t?

He also sneers at the non-Muslim “credential police” who deem themselves the “arbiters of what Islam really is and isn’t.” Actually, it is Muslim fundamentalists who have rather forcefully asserted themselves as the arbiters of what Islam really is, which is why the most numerous victims of those Muslims today are other Muslims (although Christians are catching up fast).

Lean believes we should stop “carving up our Muslim compatriots into categories that fit our idea of what they should be.” Please. This is all very disingenuous on his part. Non-Muslims absolutely are entitled to demand that Muslims, or people of any faith, “coexist” peacefully with us, to quote a popular progressive bumper sticker. If Muslims want to be considered our “compatriots,” if they truly believe extremists have hijacked their religion, if they are weary of being associated with terrorism, then they can stop pretending that Islam has nothing to do with the “bad people” waging jihad; they can stop pretending that Islamophobia is a more serious threat than sharia and terrorism; and instead they can begin taking advantage of their supposedly far superior numbers and go after the real enemy in their midst.

As the Research Director at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Nathan Lean either doesn’t understand much about the Muslim part or doesn’t want you to understand the truth. It’s very simple: the world has an Islam problem. Not a Buddhism problem, Christianity problem, Judaism problem, or even a Wiccan problem, but an Islam problem. That’s not fear-mongering; it is the demonstrable reality borne out every single day around the world. Anyone who won’t acknowledge this is either in denial or in agreement with the jihadists’ aims.

If Nathan Lean wants to eradicate a truly bigoted, intellectually lazy term, perhaps he should reconsider one which he has devoted much of his career to hyping: “Islamophobia.”

*

The heated exchange on Hannity between Frontpage Editor Jamie Glazov and self-described “moderate” Muslim Mike Ghouse can be seen below at the 32:00 minute mark:

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  • Softly Bob

    Nathan Lean is a disgusting bully who for some time now has been harassing the likes of fine truthful writers such as Robert Spencer. This vile little cockroach will meet his nemesis one day.
    He has sowed a nice bed of stones for himself that some day he will have to lie in.
    Traitors like him should be forced to grow a beard and live under Sharia law – forever!!

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  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    Given the daily attacks by Muslims on non-Muslims in the name of Islam, the problem doesn’t seem to be Islamophobia as Lean would have us to believe but Infidelophobia.

    Tapson, you are dead on about Lean and his propaganda machine. However, I give Ghouse some slack. Adherents of any religion tend to believe their variant is the true religion and violent Muslims are just “bad people.” I’ve seen this pattern with devout Christians who can’t face historic (not present) failures within Christiandom. When asked why it took 17 centuries before a John Locke could write about toleration or a George Washington could replace oppressive monarchy with republicanism, D’Souza defends Christianity just as Ghouse defends Islam. D’Souza says the religion is good but it is the “warped timber” of human nature. Thus, apologists for Islam argue the their religion just needs more time.

    Islam, however, is a supremacist political ideology. It doesn’t need anymore time. Like communism and fascism, it needs to be opposed and defeated. Ghouse is just blind to the essence of his religion and will always dream the impossible dream just as most leftists believe communism wasn’t the real socialism.

    • Acharya S

      Just so one knows that there ARE liberals out here fighting the good fight against this heinous cult, but I’m a centrist, not a “leftard.” This is MY image, for example, created years ago. Check out #infidelophobia on Twitter – the earliest and the bulk are MY posts. More are always welcome.

      https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23infidelophobia&src=typd

      • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

        Wow, I didn’t know the word Infidelophobia had already been coined. Awesome!

        I’ve always welcome liberals to the fight. Indeed, it’s vital. Whether it’s Sam Harris or even Paul Berman (further to the left) you guys have my support. Thanks for brightening my day, Acharya.

        • Brian Hull

          I’m definitely liberal and I believe Islam needs its own Reformation, such as the one that transformed Christianity- all religions are valid but they all must modernize. The Spanish Inquisition could not exist today- treating people, and especially women, with the same brutal intolerance used thousands of years ago is moral idiocy. What the world seems to lack is a DESIRE, born within faithful Muslims, to modernize. I believe in the Bible but certainly not all of it! Love and fear are forever at war, and when your religion teaches fear as the greater power, regardless of degrees, violence will follow.

          • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

            Fifty years ago Muslims were more secular. Daniel Pipes talks about this and hopes that could happen again someday. In the meantime we have to face their inability to deal with modernity.

          • BLaw

            Who is sad to me, if you go back to antiquity the Middle Eastern world gave us all sorts of breakthroughs in ancient technology and mathematics. Oppressing half your population long enough will stunt your growth, that’s my take.

  • Warren Raymond

    If Nathan Lean wasn’t a Muslim agitprop he would be Charles Manson’s lackey.

  • http://www.MikeGhouse.net Mike Ghouse

    MIKE GHOUSE’S RESPONSE

    Mark Tapson, I hope you get a chance to check my response in the link below. Moderate people in all traditions religious,social or cultural mind their own business. It’s the ½ of 1% that tends to be on the extremes –either right or left. It is good to wake up the moderates to mitigate conflicts and create peace , harmony and cohesive societies for you, me and all of us.

    http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/06/youre-dangerous-sparks-fly-between.html

    • morriscat

      I watched you on TV . Your apology for Islamic terror is ridiculous claiming it is such a small amount of Muslim population .
      We watched the cheering after 9/11 in most Muslim cities by your peaceful ones .

      • aspacia

        They still cheer about any dead Israeli or American Jew. The world has now lost 3 potentially productive teens to Muslim violence and the murderers mother is proud of them.

        • morriscat

          They name their streets after terrorist murderers and their mothers are proud to give their sons and daughters to jihadist deaths .

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

      Islamism, political Islam, is not at all moderate. Yet we’ve seen Islamists are able to get the majority of votes in Algeria, Egypt, and Turkey. These aren’t Islamic backwaters but key Muslim nations. Clearly radical Islam is acceptable to majorities. This is a bona fide variant of Islam–perhaps not your variant–but we can’t deny this is Islam.

    • Demetrius Minneapolis

      There is only one islam and it’s political, not theologically based. Read their books for yourself (if you haven’t bothered to). And I’m not just speaking of the qurans (Mecca, Medina), but also the hadith and sura. Yes, it takes a few years as an arab speaker (took me 6 years with the assistance of an arabic professor), especially since it’s classical arabic, but you will see what it truly is if you keep an open mind and use some common sense.
      If muslims are so fixated by mohammad, you should at least understand what he really preached without english translations or the opinion of someone else.

      • zoomie

        so you’re saying it’s not only their religion, but their culture as well.

        • Paul Austin Murphy

          Don’t you believe that religion is cultural? Therefore isn’t Islam a cultural phenomenon?

          Many Muslim cultures have been Islamic for over a thousand years. So why buy the Islam/culture dichotomy?

          It’s strange that Leftist activists and intellectuals told us, for over a century or more, that religion is a cultural phenomenon and that placing it on some kind of higher plain fails to see the “material reality of all religions” and their “institutional and political basis”.

          … and then Muslims came, in large numbers, to the West and America. And, suddenly, the very same Left constantly stresses the Islam/culture opposition, which they never did with Christianity.

          So it’s all down to the fact that most Muslims have brown skin and Christianity is deemed to be a “white religion”. Such is the racism and opportunism of the Left.

        • J.B.

          Arab “culture,” yes. For all other islamopithecines it’s ignorance, stupidity, hatred or a combination of any of those three.

      • liz

        The ignorant led by the evil.

    • Drakken

      Islam is islam, and where ever islam goes, the blood always flows, without exception. Sooner or later jihad is going to come to a neighborhood near you and Joe Average isn’t going to care whether or not your moderate or not, you and your so called moderate kind will be lumped into the jihadist kind and all will dealt with extreme measures.

    • NonPCconservative

      Your figures do not give much comfort. You freely admit that there are between 13,000 and 26,000 Muslim extremists in the United States and that is supposed to be okay?

  • Hard Little Machine

    Or not. Simply remain silent. Sit on the sidelines and let the maniacs define who you are to the rest of us. We longer care what you think.

  • De Doc

    Lean is an ill-educated punk. His writing skills are amateurish at best and he rarely, if ever, allows even constructive criticism of his words. The hallmark of a supremely insecure and arrogant person.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    I think that this article, Bat Ye’or, and Robert Spencer have the analysis down accurately. See http://clarespark.com/2014/06/28/bat-yeors-eurabia-more-relevant-than-ever/: “Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia more relevant than ever.”

  • Frank Black

    No such thing as a moderate muslim.

    • Gee

      There are some. I know many Muslims – have no problem with inviting some of them into my home, heck I know some that I would hand my house keys to and know that I could trust them implicitly.

      Unfortunately they are neither the majority nor do they feel free to say what they want.

      A vast majority are not moderate, but they do exist and that someday if there is ever to be peace with them they must become the majority

      • Charles Martel

        You know muslims who aren’t practicing the full requirements of their faith. They are bad Muslims, or like Christians who are not following their faith honestly, “luke warm.”

      • Murtadin Alimin

        At least your friends not practicing below verse:
        “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are ruthless to the Unbelievers, but merciful to each other.” (Quran 48:29).

        They consider not muslims but kafir.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    On a special episode of Hannity a week ago called “Radical Muslims on the March,” host Sean Hannity skeptically asked self-described moderate Muslim Michael Ghouse of the America Together Foundation if the voices of the Islamic community are loud enough to counter “the radicals hijacking your religion.”

    Sean Hannity is completely obsessed with the words, “radical Islam” and “radical Muslims”, which is very unfortunate because it is totally misleading. Thus, Sean Hannity has materialized today into one of the biggest proliferators of misinformation about Islam.

    Regardless of Sean Hannity’s stupidity, the only so-called moderate Muslims that exist today are self-proclaimed so-called moderate Muslims. In reality, however, a Muslim who would meet the actual infidel definition of being a moderate Muslim, would be a blasphemous apostate in Islam and all blasphemous apostates in Islam are executed per the dictates of Islam.

    As a matter of fact, waging jihad in one form or another and either violently or non-violently in the cause of Allah against infidels to ultimately make Islam supreme throughout the world is a fundamental holy obligation incumbent upon all Muslims, and because Islam is a so-called religion that executes all apostates and all blasphemers, all mainstream orthodox Muslims in the world are jihadists in one form or another, either violent or non-violent. Otherwise, they are executed for apostasy and blasphemy per the dictates of Islam.

    Thus, since all mainstream orthodox Muslims in the world are jihadists in one form or another, either violent or non-violent, there are no so-called moderates in Islam, exactly like there are also no so-called extremists and radicals as well. Indeed, Sean Hannity doesn’t have the first fricking clue what he is talking about. So please don’t listen to that dumb a$$ unless you enjoy being misled.

  • Paul Austin Murphy
    • Peter McDougald

      A Loon is a beauiful animal and must not be placed near monstrous muslims nor their apologists.

  • sjm

    Maybe once the laicist arabs are being exterminated by millions, either with direct war or with “creative chaos” seeds, some are comfortable to have the scope clean to claim against muslims… because with the laicist arab countries unity and strengh the zionist racism was more apparent. But we know that the radical muslim sects have been financed by US and Israel…

    • J.B.

      The word is spelled “laicest.” If you’re going to be a pedant, make sure you spell it right, you anti-Semitic whacko.

  • Metatrona

    There are no moderate Muslims. There are trash Muslims and disgusting trash Muslims.

  • USARetired

    My first introduction to my Muslim education , In the US Army, I have never considered anything except, a Muslim is a Muslim, allowing for no alternatives! Now we see the World is finnaly waking up to just that fact! All Muslims should be restricted to live in their own deities, and leave the rest of the World alone! Islam is ‘Faciest Ideology’, which does not qualify as a religion, and they certainly cannot coexist in a Democracy!

  • Acharya S

    Nathan Lean is deranged. Who is paying him to tout the world’s most misogynistic and violent ideology? He should be investigated for treason.

    Shrieking “Racism!” and “Islamophobia” is a way to enforce BLASPHEMY LAWS in the West. Lean is an Inquisitor for Islam.

    • Drakken

      Follow the money, who is paying Lean to spout the propaganda that he is, and you will have your answer.

  • http://www.MikeGhouse.net Mike Ghouse

    BLAMING RELIGION

    We
    should tell the criminals, those who murder, rape, steal, kill, burn,
    bomb and go to war – you SOB, you did the harm, you killed, you wronged
    and you pay for it.

    You blame an individual to punish, hang, beat,
    bury or pay to restore trust through justice in the society.
    Individuals commit crimes, not religions. Religion does not teach one to
    be criminal, none whatsoever! We should not buy poor excuses of
    abusers!

    I am not buying your ridiculous stupidity to blame the
    religion. I am not going to let you get away and blame the religion
    that I cannot do anything with, it is intangible, I cannot kill it, hang
    it, fire it or bury it. What’s the point in blaming if does nothing?

    We build better societies by placing the blame where it belongs; the
    individuals and not his parents, spouse, siblings, kids, spouse, rabbi,
    imam, pastor, pundit, gyani, shamans and the mayor of the town and even
    religion. If we take that stance, we increase the chances of building
    cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of
    the other. Where there is justice, trust, harmony and peace are the
    products.

    http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2013/12/blame-religion.html

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

      Mike, people’s actions stem from people’s thoughts. Their belief system is a core part of the thinking process. For most people that means religion. Islam is not monolithic but many Muslims are inspired by the political and martial example of Islam’s founder. If you’re not, great. But others are. Just look at the world today!

    • Drakken

      Well you muslims had better get your house in order or us infidels one way or another will do it for you. One way or another this ends in war that will make the Crusades pale in comparison.

    • Mr_D

      The natural fruit of Islam is violence and mayhem. Yes, we can blame the religion, as well as those who follow this Satanic creation.

    • NonPCconservative

      It is well documented that the Koran exhorts its followers to violence. We already know where the “moderate majority” of Muslims stand after seeing their joyous reaction to the twin towers coming down.

      The only reason that we have a problem with Muslim fundamentalists is that there are grave problems with the fundamentals of Islam.

    • J.B.

      The koran, hadith and sira ALL command the subjugation and murder of ALL non muslims through jihad. They command the practices of: supremacism, imperialism, genocide, murder, slavery, pedophilia, pederasty, rape, cruelty to animals, bigotry to homosexuals, misogyny, deceit…………and terrorism.

      These things are ALL irrefutably evil. Thetefore it is asinine to claim islam isn’t evil and that its followers don’t commit evil based on its commandments.

      You are seriously deluded………AT BEST.

    • ConcernedCitizen999

      “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

      — ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

      Thank you so much for your comment Mr. Ghouse. I’ve never seen a better demonstration of the truth of this quotation.

      You seem to be laboring under a misapprehension. I suggest that you actually read the Koran, then after you get done throwing up and showering, the error of your thinking will be clear to you.

      Oh, and by the way, you and your idiot friend Sean Hannity deserve each other.

    • ConcernedCitizen999

      We saw what 19 Muslims would do on September 11th. So why should we tolerate 1% of a billion, or 1/10th of a %, or 1/1000th of a %? The correct number of Muslims in this world is zero.

  • retired

    Hey Mike! I read on Google that there are 1.33 billion Moslems in this world.If only 1% of these people were wild-eyed & blood thirsty psychopaths the civilized world would have an army of 13 million maniac jihadi’s to contend with.The other 99% of wonderful peace loving Moon worshipers wouldn’t matter,one way or another.

  • CosmotKat

    It is likely to take at least 500 years of Islamic evolution before the greater Muslim population is suitable for mixed company.

    • Drakken

      In 500 years there will be no more islam.

      • CosmotKat

        From your mouth to God’s ear.

  • Patriotliz

    The only good Muslim is a heretic.

  • Mr_D

    He’s right. There ought to be but one camp: Bad Muslims.

    • rhcrest

      Is there any other kind of muslim?

  • nelly2004

    We have to combat the stupid term islamphobe. Phobe means fear and the people who stand up and call Islam out for its mandates to kill and enslave or convert by the sword all non believers are nof the ones who are phobic- they are the ones who have guts. The phobes are the media and the businesses who don’t want to offend a religion that is offensive to all others even their own.
    People need to get the message out loud and clear – Islam is a threat to humanity unless there is reform that takes every verse out of the Koran that says to kill non believers and enslave their own women.
    Anyone whose comeback is the bible has violence in it nonsense must be put in their place by stating the fact that the bible was written by men so people have a cholce whether to follow it verbatim whereas the Muslims are taught that the Koran was a direct dictation by Allah to Mohammed and must be followed verbatim That is why so called moderate Muslims never condemn Jihad unless they have to do it for propaganda purposes!

  • NonPCconservative

    I view all snakes as potentially venomous until positively identified otherwise and all sharks as potential maneaters. The same applies to tigers, bears, crocodiles and other creatures where a mistake in judgement may be fatal. I do the same with Muslims. Does that make me logically constipated?

  • kikorikid

    A “Radical Islamic Jihadist’ is a guy who, the day before a moderate,
    decided to answer the Imam’s call to Jihad. It is simply Islam, Islamist,
    and Islamism.

  • http://www.MikeGhouse.net Mike Ghouse
    • J.B.

      A religion that is also the government is not pluralistic. Are you practicing eishful thinking or takiya?

  • Smig Robustus

    Why is ISLAM the ONLY religion given a pass by the left elite???? Christians are ridiculed constantly, yet Muslims are always given the RIGHT to their religion???? Can u imagine the confusion that would swirl around the political left if CONTRACEPTION was denied by Muslim business owners???? U can bet that some bullshit law would attempted to be passed that ISLAM could deny free pills….but, OBVIOUSLY, not Christians, with reasons SO OBVIOUS, that please lets not waste time discussing them…….

  • Riff B.

    The problem here is that it isn’t loud enough. It’s not unspoken entirely. And i think media has a role here in making it louder. But they choose not to. They would rather make the ”Islamic Problem” louder.