What Is a Moderate Muslim?

I keep hearing non-Muslims saying, “Where are the moderate Muslims? Why aren’t they speaking out against terrorism?”

But as Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (head of the proposed Islamic center in Manhattan) said in a recent interview:

For many years people have asked, “Where are the moderate Muslims? Where are they? Where are they?” But we moderates couldn’t get any attention. Now that we’ve gotten attention, I’m accused of being immoderate!

The problem is, when Muslims do speak out, we are no longer considered moderate. Just by making ourselves visible, we are suspected of having an agenda. What is that agenda?

  1. We’re trying to take over the world.
  2. We want to establish Shariah law in place of existing legal systems.
  3. We’re trying to convert non-Muslims.
  4. We intend to use our mosques/Islamic centers to train terrorists.
  5. We want to tear down Christianity and Judaism.

If we ask for a place and time to pray at work, if we use the bathrooms to do wudu, if women wear hijab (let alone the niqab), if we have Arabic names, we’re considered radical. We couldn’t possibly be moderates if we practice our religion!

Non-Muslims  don’t want to hear from Muslims who are obviously Muslim. They like token Muslims. Quiet, unassuming Muslims who don’t rock the boat. We shouldn’t dress differently, say “Inshallah” or “Alhamulillah,” or want to build mosques. They like Muslims who say, “I’m an American first.” They don’t like it when we say, “We’re Muslim-Americans.” They tell us we should assimilate. What they really mean is that we should become indistinguishable from non-Muslim Americans.

What they really want is Muslims who don’t live Islam.

I can’t speak for Muslims who are Muslim in name only. Who are Muslims only because they were born into the faith. But I deliberately chose Islam and that means that I’ve accepted it as a way of life. I’m not a perfect Muslim by any means, but I do try to live Islam, in the way I dress, the way I act, the way I think and the way I treat others. If that disqualifies me from being a moderate Muslim, then so be it. It is enough for me to be considered a Muslim.

I once read this on a plaque: “If I were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me.” That’s how I feel about being a Muslim: I pray that there will be enough evidence to convict me of being one.

Published by

Ellen

Editor and chief writer at I, Muslimah and Femagination. Ellen also contributes regularly to Elevate Difference. She is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with two cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

One thought on “What Is a Moderate Muslim?”

  1. As salam alaykum wa raghmatulahi wa barakatuh…
    I like this article, a few weeks ago my husband and I took our baby to her pediatrician. We wear Islamic clothing, and my husband wears a beard. He is not a very talkative, so I who speak to the doctor. what was my surprise that the doctor, did nothing but talk about how well they had come for Muslims, that the catastrophe in Norway was caused by a non-Muslim.
    I felt embarrassed because I do not understand why he associates us with that topic. People would often look at the bus or when we go down the street. And you can not imagine when we take a plane …. Perhaps our look is extreme, but we are a normal family who just want to live in peace, living their faith. Well, I think we can not demand anything when we live in non-Muslim countries. And I agree that society wants Muslims only in name, taking our kids away from morality, and making them see that life is just pleasure.

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