Islamic Apologist: Stop Saying ‘Moderate Muslims’

The twisted and jihad-denying world of leftist writer Nathan Lean.

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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