In this lecture, Richard talks about the difference of extremist Muslims and moderate Muslims, and there difference between extremist Muslims and moderate Muslims if there truly is a difference.
It is a very awkward and uncomfortable distinction to make and many people shy away from this question. But it is a very worthwhile and necessary thing to think about and consider.
The options in this question are not good options because if we identify extremist and fundamentalist Muslims, or people who may be Islamists but we may not be sure, we would have to confront them, and that is a difficult thing to do because we are faced with the question of violence and choosing conflict.
So let’s think about that is a genuine moderate and a false moderate among Muslims in the west today. For the time being we leave the Muslims living in the rest of the world out, and only consider the ones living in Europe and North America.
False moderates are people who make it seem that they are moderates, but really they only pay lip service to moderation, and wear that as a garb that makes them accepted in western societies. But underneath, they are supportive of extremist Islamic actions and beliefs. For them it is about the same goal of the violent jihadis, but with a different strategy that is less violent.
Global jihad is an Islamic religious movement based on the Islamic principle that Islam is the superior and the only religion on the planet, and that everyone should either become a Muslim or be enslaved. You can call it a global caliphate or a global Sharia. This is a global movement in which the ultimate goal is the conquest of the world.
But the liberal left doesn’t and can’t understand this concept because when they are confronted with this idea, they will say that we are demonizing all Muslims, and that we are the bad guys here. The liberal left will say that saying this about Muslims is hate speech.
But the extremist Muslims themselves say that it is their goal to conquer the world because according to Sharia law, that is the goal. Many moderate Muslims do have as their goal to have Islam take over the world, and we must take them seriously when they say that.
Of course, there are many organizations that have as their stated goal to conquer the world and make it all islamic. There are the extreme and terrorist organizations like ISIS, AlQaeda, Hamas, Hizbollah, Boko Haram, and many similar others. These groups are clearly the extremist and they want to conquer the world for Islam. They are easy to identify and there is no argument about how evil they are because they actually openly state all their goals.
On the other hand, there is another group of Muslims who are more difficult to group and identify. There are Muslims who say that they are not extremist, but in fact do everything in the real of non-violence to support the extremist agenda of conquering the world for Islam. They protect the violent jihadists as much as possible, and conduct campaigns in our public spheres like western universities, with journalists and media to get them to comply with their demands. As long as you comply and submit, and start behaving as a submitted person, there is no reason for them to have to use violence against them because they are already complying with their Islamic demands. And we must identify people who have bad motivation and use our institutions against us.
So a true moderate and a liberal is someone who treats others by the same liberal and moderate principles when he has the upper hand and he decides how to treat the other person instead of when he demands to be himself treated fairly by western moderate, democratic and liberal principles. So if that is our definition of what it means to be a moderate, how many Muslims like that do we find, and more importantly, how many Muslim leaders and preachers do we find who can also be described as moderate and truly preach peace and acceptance?
There is very little true tolerance and acceptance in the Islamic world, and it is their responsibility to become more modern and more moderate as a society. Until then, they should be fairly categorized as a society to be extremist.