"Terrorism has no religion." Why don't Moderate Muslims restrain their Radical counterparts?

  • There is a perspective, pretty popular in both mid-East and Western worlds, which says that the majority of Muslims do not share the radical views

    Provided this is true, why don't we see calls for peace from Muslim priests and other leaders of the public opinion?

    Many other religions have also suffered from radicalism, but authorities and the Churches have effectively eliminated it. I would specifically stress on positive role of priests.

    What prevents Muslim society, officials, and priests to restrain the Radical Islamists?


    A rather long rationale

    Only a small amount of Radical Islamists (probably 10-15%) seem to be responsible for a majority of terrorist acts. This makes the public opinion into thinking that Islam by itself is an aggressive religion.

    The Moderate Islamists argue that Terrorism has NO religion.

    Terrorism has NO religion


    Christian society has suffered from Christian radicalism and Christian terrorism as well, check Ku Klux Klan for example.

    Not all Christians shared the ideas of the KKK or supported its terrorist activity. Finally, the Moderate Christians took control over their radical counterparts: any terrorist activity was prosecuted, while moderate factions of KKK even received legal support in defense of their First Amendment rights to hold public rallies, parades, and marches.

    There same applied to Buddhism.


    Now, to the question.

    Why don't Moderate Muslims, who allegedly make the 85-90% majority, who have all necessary instruments and influence, take control over their radical counterparts?

    Can we find any Imam (a Muslim Priest) or another public opinion leader who would come up and say: "hey, there will be no 72 virgins for anyone who commit terrorist acts"?

    Can we see cases when e.g. Iranian authorities accuse and imprison someone of their own faction for terrorist activity?

    If this happens, why don't we see this on top news in the media associated with Muslim countries, like Al Jazeera?

    If this didn't happen, how could a thoughtful person tell Radical Islamism from Any Islamism?

    P.S. I think this question does not differentiate denominations of Islam, but if I would completely accept answers that may suggest different approaches regarding different denominations.

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    Probably because most Muslims, like anyone else who is reasonable and moderate, want nothing to do with radicals. Back in the 1960's/70's the average American college student didn't have anything to do with the Weather Underground, or in fact know anyone who was involved with it, even though the Weather Underground was founded by a group of college students. They were still active when I was in college but I didn't know anything about them - and yet I was a college student, in America, at the same time - but that didn't make me a terrorist. Superficial similarities don't make people identical.

    `Only a small amount of Radical Islamists (probably 10-15%) seem to be responsible for a majority of terrorist acts.` - the number is **significantly** lower than 10-15%. It's more in the order of 0.01%

    There are many different sects and branches of Islam, just as there are many different sects and denominations of Christianity. What this question is proposing seems about as reasonable and effective as asking Christians to restrain Westboro Baptist Church's members from acting as they do. Safe to say that almost all American Christians are disgusted by WBC's behavior and would love for them to cease. Even if Billy Graham or the Pope publicly condemns WBC, WBC will not care. Assholes will be assholes, thugs will be thugs, and terrorists will be terrorists.

    Maybe there are even less 'modere' Muslim as we might think, at least from a western point of view. Isn't problematic that the sometimes called `secular` Syria and even the modern Tunisa with it's new constitution (from 2013/14!) requires it's president to be muslim (just have a look at article 1(!) and 74(!) and Tunisa has a Jewish minority since antiquity). Could you imagine a western nation (with a constitution that was ratified after 2000 -- the uk codified constitution that dates back to the magna carta doesn't count) to have similar requiments? I guess I don't have to mention saudia ar;)

    I disagree with the fundamental premise of this question, or at least its targeting of Muslims specifically. It would be equally valid to ask "why don't moderate Christians restrain the IRA", or "why didn't moderate anarchists restrain the Unabomber", or "why didn't moderate Germans restrain the Nazi party", etc.. The answer being a mix of "to a large extent they _do_ try to restrain radical elements when possible" and "being a member of a large, generic group (like 'all Muslims') _does not_ give you any special power or influence over other individuals in that group".

    Again, try to avoid long discussion in the comments section. If your comment doesn't address something with the question or if your comment is just a rehash of some other person's comment or answer, It will be deleted.

    For an example of Muslim leaders speaking out against terrorism, check out the Open letter to al-Baghdadi

    The OP has not defined what radical Islam is. If it is preparedness to use violence due to religious reasons- then you are talking at least 20% of Muslims.

    Does that fact that OP does not pay attention to or notice moderate calls for peace, or condemnations of radicalism, mean that they don't occur? That seems to be the pretext here.

    The whole history of civilisation is of people doing exactly that. If you live in non-interesting times, it's working.

    In the US we have some radical Christians and other groups with some troubled and very destructive views. We don't do anything to control them. Hollywood likes to make fun of them but (i can only guess) that emboldens them. There are no outreach programs, no public service announcements, no pamphlets in schools. Not even an after school special on not shooting up the local planned parenthood. I walked into a very rural restaurant once and they were selling copies of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" out of a big box. A lot of Americans did not come home from that war.

    @PV22, I have expanded it further in the question, but in simple terms, I understand "responsible" = "they who do" + "they who support".

    @bytebuster I appreciate your response, but I am still unclear. Are you saying 10-15% of all Muslims are radical (the other 85-90% are moderate) or that of the entire subgroup, "radical Muslims" (excludes all moderates from this subgroup) 10-15% of that subgroup go on to commit terrorist acts? As an analogy, "You have 100 balls, 10 are red, 1 is a red baseball." Are you saying 10% of all balls are red, or 10% of red balls are baseballs?"

    @PV22, there is a difference between "go on to commit" and "responsible for". Probably, here's where the misunderstanding comes from. Also, the intention of this post was to say that there is a "small" number of radicals comparing to a "big" number of others. I did not have intention to claim a specific number in a question. One can change it to 0.0000001% (one billionth) and make my question sound "why a billion people can't restrain a single person?"

    Thank you for the clarification. I think I understand the significance of what you are saying.

    This reminds me of telling a girl she shouldn't be dating a drug addict and needs to do better. The attacks leveraged against me for the comment were viscous and held me responsible for his entire life, but the point being dedication and attachment trump reason for a lot of people and though many do call for peace or condemn attacks it will never get through to those that believe they are virtuous, attached, ignorant, or locked into a point of view.

    I’m so confused. How is the “moderate” (by which I assume you mean, “not organized to kill people” as opposed to “not hating black people, Jews, and all other non-white and non-Christian people”) KKK receiving (justified) legal support for their right to speech and assembly in any way an example of moderate Christians restraining the KKK? It’s an example of moderate individuals of various religions (though the ACLU was founded by Jews, it has members of all faiths) *not* restraining the KKK.

    You are asking why ordinary people don't restrain murderous fanatics whose only association with them is claiming that their interpretation of Islam is wrong.

  • You say these things don't happen when they do. Case in point, the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11 mastermind and behind Daniel Pearl's execution) who WAS jailed in Egypt early in his life, had to flee Bosnia when intelligence had pinpointed him, and was finally captured and turned over to the US by Pakistan. In other words, he was targeted by Muslim countries.

    Further, the number of Muslim clerics who have advocated for peace is huge - from the Grand Mufti Talip Atalay of Cyprus to Jordan's top cleric, to the Nairobi Muslim Cleric's Peace Caravan to Iraq's Ali al-Sistani issuing a fatwa last year calling for "Citizens to defend the country, its people, the honor of its citizens, and its sacred places," against the Islamic State of Iraq.

    For local police/intelligence operations capturing radical elements, the list is long. Recent examples have happened in Yemen, UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for example.

    The only thing that doesn't happen? It doesn't get reported on enough. On that you are correct.

    EDIT: As to your question "how could a thoughtful person tell Radical Islamism from Any Islamism?" that one is easy. Radicals wear their militancy openly, all you need to do is listen to them. Its no different from how to spot a racist, or a militant Christian calling for the world to bend to their beliefs. Its really not hard to engage people if you put forth the effort.

    Lets also not forget that legal power often means nothing if you can't enforce it. ISIS flowed into northern Iraq well armed and facing a shattered and largely disarmed citizenry, and it is near impossible to arrest the guy with the bigger gun when you don't have one. The people who are being effective against them in that region? Well armed Kurds with coalition support

    And while it may be hoped that the calls for peace from noted clerics might be all that is needed, unfortunately there is even more of a sectarian divide in the middle east than their was in northern ireland, and the IRA wasn't about to listen to the Archbishop of Canterbury either. Priests can help, absolutely, but in such an environment they can often only reach their own followers and maybe not even then due to illiteracy and isolation in many regions.

    The radicals have their radical clerics, and they are the problem - not the moderate ones. Look what happened when Arafat renounced terrorism: The radicals marginalized him and the Israelis barricaded him in a compound thus limiting his ability to work for peace when was what we have to hope for: radicals laying down arms.

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    Agree. Even here in Malaysia, we're at least reminded almost on weekly basis during our weekly Friday congregation/prayer the falseness of the isis believe, not to be involved with them and report any militant activity.

    Arafat called for a "march of a million martyrs on Jerusalem" right when he was "barricaded". that's hardly renouncing terrorism but is in fact, sticking with it and calling for it, encouraging it and supporting it (he also funded it then, as documents later revealed). every public square in PLO-controlled areas is called after some "martyr" or other. You can as well claim that Hitler was a warrior for peace, based on his rhetoric and the torch-lit marches which were in fact "for peace", in the late 30s. (yes, this is a legitimate comparison of taking a leader's rhetoric at face value).

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM