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Why I’m not a ‘moderate’ Muslim

Last update - Thursday, April 8, 2010, 13:01 By Liam Egan

A cursory glance at what the term ‘moderate Muslim’ really means in non-Muslim circles reveals much about the perception of the Muslim faith.

Socially, a ‘moderate Muslim’ is one of the lads – or girls, as the case may be. He or she will act, look and think like their non-Muslim counterparts. The only difference may be the name, which will often be modified to make it more palatable for their non-Muslim friends.
Religiously, the ‘moderate Muslim’ is someone who keeps his or her religion private and in many cases hidden. They will pray, but would never dream of inconveniencing the boss by requesting prayer time allocations or festival holidays. Talk of the need to embrace Islam for salvation will never come from their lips; all religions are equal.
Politically, the ‘moderate Muslim’ is one who promotes and believes in the superiority of liberal democracy. Mention of Sharia will be rare and usually in condemnation. Talk of the future Caliphate will be wholly absent; indeed, they will actively pursue the democratisation of Muslim lands – and minds.
In summary then, the moderate Muslim is against the Caliphate, Sharia, jihad, theocracy and the supremacy of Islam over all other religions. They are pro-democracy, pro-reformation of Islam, pro-gender equality and supporters of the Jewish state.
Many would argue also that the non-Muslim portrayal of the ‘moderate Muslim’ strips the individual of any semblance of Islam.
However, the term ‘moderate Muslim’ is in fact redundant, as Islam encourages believers to follow the middle way (“And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way” (2:143)). It is this middle way that all true, conscientious and practicing Muslims embrace, for this is the way of the Prophet, his companions and those who followed them in righteousness.
 It is a way that shuns the extremes, yet it calls us to theocracy, the supremacy of Islam, the beauty of Sharia and the obedience of Muslims. It calls us to willingly submit ourselves to Allah and His Messenger and to obey the creation as long as this does not constitute disobedience to Allah.
I am not a ‘moderate Mus-lim’; rather I am one who strives to follow the middle path, shunning both ghuloo (extremism as defined by Islam) and liberal negligence and capitulation. The true path of Islam is indeed the middle way.

Liam Egan is South East branch manager with MPACIE (Muslim Public Affairs Committee Ireland)

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