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Islam for ModeratesKristiane Backer, who is leading a campaign to promote a better understanding of Islam, said she was surprised that a recent YouGov poll had 58% of those surveyed as linking Islam with extremism. I am surprised that after 9/11 in America and 7/7 in Britain plus recent attacks in Pakistan and India and indeed throughout the world, the figure wasnít 100%. I can only assume that as 1 in 4 people in London are Muslim that accounts for 25%, the other 17% must be bleeding heart liberals.
She was also surprised that 7 out of 10 people thought that Islam encouraged the repression of women. Muslim women are forced into marriages (including girls as young as 10), are forced to wear the Burka, are excluded from the workplace, are not allowed to drive, are not allowed to associate with men, are murdered in honour killings, are circumcised, flogged, stoned to death; they are second class citizens in the majority of Islamic states. Women are without doubt repressed in the name of Islam. The only reason Kristiane is allowed to speak out is because she lives in a democracy, it has nothing to do with Islam.
I have lived in Muslim countries and it is not only the women who are repressed but also the majority of men who are oppressed by the Islamic fundamentalists who create a culture of fear which prevents men and women from speaking out and from living their lives as they want to. There is no real freedom of speech or action in the Islamic world, any criticism of government or of Islam brings swift retribution. Most Muslims I met were decent and good people, who just wanted to get on with their lives, like we do in the West, without interference by the state or the state religion.
Six out of ten people in the survey thought that Muslims made a positive contribution to society and I would agree with that. Muslims that integrate into society contribute the same as the rest of us. In a secular, democratic society, race, colour and creed donít matter, we are all contributing to make that society better but we donít want the barbarism that is Sharia Law and we donít want an Islamic state which would crush all our hard won freedoms. (The non separation of state and religion has held Muslim countries back for centuries, see Extremism and Education)
People condemned those who voted negatively against Islam in this survey as being ignorant and Islamaphobic and will no doubt say the same about this article but that just stifles debate. For people in the West to see Islam positively, Muslims need to get their own house in order especially in Islamic countries and make Islam the shining example of peace, emancipation, tolerance, wisdom and light that it truly is.
The moderate Muslims have to start speaking out loudly and often against the extremists; they need to speak positively about living in Western countries, in democracies, about integrating into society and they need to condemn the rotten Islamic countries that repress their people. They need to accept that the separation of the state and religion is the best form of society for all, one that enables people of all races, colours and creeds to live together in peace.
If the moderate Muslims can speak up, can show that they want to live in harmony with non Muslim cultures and not destroy them, there can be hope for people throughout the world that the cancer of Islamic extremism will eventually be eradicated. The moderate Muslims need to take Islam forcibly back from the extremists.