In medieval times, people created fairy tales and magical creatures to make sense of their world. One of the most endearing is the unicorn, a horse with a single horn that symbolized purity and wholesomeness. In our modern times, people in Europe and the United States consider themselves more sophisticated and rational than people from the Middle Ages, but we still create myths, albeit more subtle ones.
Daily we hear reports of violent acts committed by Islamic terrorists on every inhabited continent. We try to wish it away with the myth of the ‘Moderate Muslim’, telling ourselves the Islamic agenda has been’ hijacked’ by a ‘tiny minority of extremists’ and that soon the huge, silent, moderate majority of Muslims will take charge and change things. However, post 9/11 very few Muslims have condemned terrorist actions. We are still waiting for moderates to stand and deliver, identifying and removing extremist thugs from their mosques and their communities. Waiting for this self-correction is our modern version of unicorn hunting.
Moderate Muslims will not be able to wrest control of the agenda for several reasons. First of all, Mohammed, the Messenger of Allah’s eternal word, was not moderate. No moderate can legitimately tell another Muslim to stop doing the extremist things Mohammed himself did. Also, the Qur’an condones violence and coercion to further the Islamic agenda. People whom we call moderates are labeled hypocrites by Allah Himself in the Qur’an. Moderates will always lose the argument because, as ex-Muslim author Ibn Warraq says, “There may be moderates in Islam but Islam itself is not moderate.”
Islamic expert Daniel Pipes and others estimate ten percent of the Islamic world to be militant. In 1933 when the Nazi party took control of Germany it had 2 million members, comprising only three percent of Germany’s sixty-six million citizens. A tiny minority of extremists can control a vast number of moderates, making them irrelevant.
Placing hope in ‘The Moderate Muslim’ is like searching for unicorns in the forest.