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The problem of Muslim “moderates”

Posted by Richard on July 29, 2005

Italian journalist Fiamma Nirenstein went to Sharm el-Sheik Hospital and spoke with the friends and relatives of people wounded in the terrorist bombings. They are, she said, poor workers who return to their families in the villages near Cairo for one week a month. They live ten to a room in Sharm el-Sheik and work in the tourism industry that’s the reason for Sharm el-Sheik’s existence. They are:

the typical "moderate Muslim" that the holy rage of the jihadists destroys with fury, the one infected by the contact with the West and also the one that in our Western dreams and in many European and American experts’ analyses should suddenly rise against the extreme Islam, their enemy.

So, let’s test this thesis and ask: "Do they hate terrorists?" The answer is "Yes, very much so," and they really do, – they close their fists and watch in rage and repeat to me that they deeply hope that Mr. Mubarak will catch them all, will put them in prison, will kill them. Are they ready to fight them? Yes, at every level, with their hands, if requested, and with demonstrations that actually, while I’m in Sharm, suddenly appear in the hot streets and just in front of the cameras of the international press: "Down with terrorism," "We are against terrorism"…

But then, if it’s so, why can the great moderate Muslim world not really fight their own enemy? They themselves give me the answers: "Bin Laden? The Muslim Brotherhood? Certainly the terrorist attacks are not their work, no! This is a lie. A Muslim could never do this. And if they say they do it in the name of Islam, they are not Islamic; or, most likely, this shows, like the television says, that someone uses the name of Islam just to hide the real perpetrators."

Anyhow, Islam is out of the question, And then, we ask again, who is behind the attacks? Well, you know the answer, they smile with a smart expression. Mahmoud, who comes from a periphery of Cairo, where he now cannot go back because he doesn’t have the money for a bus ticket, knows the answer, and so do all his other friends, about 10, all from the same town, now all together as one, standing in the corridor of the Hospital of Sharm, no air-conditioning, their friend Khaled in bed with a wound in his back ("I was lucky. Nadem had both of his legs amputated," Khaled says).

They know the answer, yes: the television said that only the Israelis and the Americans have a real interest in seeing Egypt on its knees; General Fuad Allam said that the perpetrators of the Taba attack of October 2004 were apparently linked to the Israeli security forces, and so, supposedly, it is today. Also Al-Jazeera and even Al-Arabia interviewed "experts" to confirm this point of view. A big, beautiful guy with a red T-shirt just puts it down bluntly: "We know only what the television tells us."

So, yes, the "moderate," mainstream Muslims deplore bombings and killings and terrorism. But that isn’t really enough, is it?

(HT: LGF)

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