Once again, Robert Spencer feels obliged to avow that he believes in the “moderate Muslim”—and not only in the existence of that paradoxical species, but also in its majority abundance throughout the world. In a recent altercation with the PC idiot Jeffrey Carr in a Jihad Watch thread about the firing of Stephen Coughlin, Carr challenged Spencer thusly—
...you claim that you also believe that moderate Muslims exist. You just have trouble finding them. Do I have that right?
No, of course you don't. As I have said many, many times, there are hundreds of millions of Muslims who are not waging jihad and never will. They aren't hard to find. Lots of them are in the U.S.
Again, the mere fact that these hundreds of millions are not waging jihad and probably never will (most likely, statistically speaking) is not sufficient to grant them the title of “moderate Muslim”—for, as I argued in my immediately preceding essay on this blog, that title connotes more conscious thought and action than those hundreds of millions demonstrate.
The vast majority of those hundreds of millions are really merely not being extremist—simply by the fact that they are refraining from uttering and writing extremist sentiments, and refraining from doing extremist deeds. Thus, the term “moderate Muslim” is being used by Spencer (and many others) to denote a passive stance: it is a negative definition, denoting only the absence of extremism, not a positive definition that would denote actual substantive concrete conscious expressions and actions.
And what would those actual substantive concrete conscious expressions and actions be that this “moderate Muslim” would say and do? Ay, there's the rub. There is a paradoxical dynamic in the approximation toward this zero point called the “moderate Muslim”, involving two vectors:
1) The vector of “moderation”.
2) The vector of “Muslim”.
If “Muslim” is defined according to essence—the canonical writings of the foundational texts (Koran and Sunna, as well as the Sunna's equivalent in Shia Islam)—it is clear that moderation is excluded.
If, however, “Muslim” is defined according to accidents—the history and current behavior of Muslims (including all extra-canonical writings that are based upon those canonical writings)—and one attempts to separate these accidents from the essence, with the additional claim that the essence is perfectly harmonious with moderation but has been “corrupted” by the accidents, then one has at least an abstract theory of a “moderate Muslim” as the Muslim who recovers the allegedly moderate essence of Islam. The problem here, of course, is the massive resistance such a recovery would encounter throughout the Muslim world, rendering such a recovery of dubious practical value to the current exigency of the threat of Muslims, in various locations around the globe which we cannot predict, who want to mass-murder as many Infidels as possible and destroy as much Infidel infrastructure as possible.
The more pronounced is the vector of “moderation”, the less realistic is its effectiveness for our exigent problem; and of course the more pronounced is the vector of “Muslim” defined as it always has been defined and continues to be massively defined, the less moderate will be its fruits.
The are additional problems as well:
1) We Infidels cannot sufficiently know which Muslims we deem to be “moderate Muslims” will remain “moderate”
2) We Infidels cannot even sufficiently delineate overall who are the “moderate Muslims” and who are the extremists.
Of course, every time a Muslim explodes, or is caught by a photographer holding up a sign “Behead Those Who Insult Islam”, or participates in a lynch mob attacking someone who insulted Mohammed, or writes an essay dancing evasively around whether Koran 4:34 actually condones the beating of wives and female sex slaves—then we do know (and of course, my little list hardly exhausts the 1,001 different ways Muslims can demonstrate their “immoderation”).
The problem is, our fairly constant situation is that our overall data about Muslim populations around the world represents a trans-national mass (wonderfully diverse like a lovely tapestry, of course) out of which pullulates in various locales around the globe extremist behaviors of various flavors, ranging from terrorist attacks all the way down to clever evasions and whitewashings of Islamic history, with many gradations in between, including cultural pathologies like honor killings and female genital mutilation, intolerance against people of other religions, lynchings and mass protests in support of regressive idiocy, etc. ad nauseam.
So once again, I call for a new term: the AHM—the Apparently Harmless Muslim. The new term is more accurate and descriptive of those hundreds of millions of Muslims out there who just happen to be not saying or doing anything extremist. It also covers that tiny minority of Muslims who claim to articulate moderate sentiments, but about whose sincerity we do not have the luxury of wholly trusting, given the exigent danger we are in.