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by Fjordman


Part 1. On the Illusion of a Moderate Islam

In this discussion I take as my starting point the fact that the traditional Islamic religious texts — the Koran supplemented by secondary sources such as the hadith literature — through a straightforward reading encourage perpetual violence against non-Muslims around the world until the global supremacy of Islam and its followers has been firmly established. There are plenty of studies available confirming this. Muslim scholars themselves, including prominent ones such as al-Ghazali and Ibn Khaldun, have supported this view for well over one thousand years and continue to do so in the twenty-first century.

One complicating factor is that lying to or deceiving non-Muslims using techniques known as taqiyya[1] and kitman are perfectly permissible in Islam and widely practiced by Shias and Sunnis alike. The claim that this strategy exists within Shia Islam alone is false; for example, the Palestinian Sunni Jihadist leader Yasser Arafat (1929-2004) at the same time as he was talking about "peace" to Westerners — a game of deception which earned him a share in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 — to Arabic-speaking audiences suggested that the Oslo peace negotiations with Israelis were merely temporary measures similar to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya between Muhammad's followers and the non-Muslim Qurayshi tribe of Mecca, which was promptly broken as soon as the Muslims felt strong enough to get away with it.

Many Muslims, for instance Tariq Ramadan, are known to put up a "moderate" face in front of an infidel audience but present a very different message when addressing Muslims in their own language.[2] Generally speaking it is permissible for Muslims to lie, or withhold the truth, if they cannot yet force their will on their opponents by brute force, as long as they keep the "true Islam" alive within their hearts. This does of course not mean that all Muslims do this always, but it is a common strategy employed particularly where Muslims are a minority.

In plain words this means that if Western countries ever become serious about closing their borders to Muslim immigration and expelling sharia-sponsoring persons from their lands, we should expect to see an immediate, massive increase in the number of "kind" and "tolerant" Muslims in the West, but many of them would be lying and biding their time for better days.

The trouble with self-proclaimed "moderate Muslims" is that many of them, most likely the majority, use deception to confuse the infidels while infiltrating their societies. This implies that non-Muslims cannot know for sure whether Muslims are being honest with them or not and can never fully trust them. It does not mean that "moderate Muslims" don't exist in the form of individuals who genuinely desire to live in peace with their neighbors — people aren't born Jihadists just because they have a Muslim name — but it is extremely hard for infidels to distinguish between those who are genuine and those who are merely trying to deceive us.

A soft-spoken Muslim can potentially without warning turn militant and go on a killing spree, a phenomenon dubbed "Sudden Jihad Syndrome." Besides, well-meaning peaceful individuals with Muslim names can easily be sidelined, intimidated and silenced by their more violent and ruthless co-religionists. Finally, from a straightforward reading of Islamic scriptures and history, militant Jihadists frequently have a better scriptural and theological backing for their views than the so-called moderates. In short, the question isn't whether there are moderate Muslims but whether there is a moderate Islam. The likely answer to this is no.

Part 2. Do we want an Islamic Reformation?

Here's an article by Dutch writer Margriet de Moor looking at Islam in Europe.[see below] Perhaps the most grotesque quote from this essay is that she sees the Netherlands as a large-scale laboratory, and says so with obvious approval. A great example of why Multiculturalism is a massive experiment in social engineering, every bit as radical and dangerous as Communism. Ms. De Moor lives in some kind of alternate reality where "Europe's affluence and free speech" will create an Islamic Reformation. But Muslim immigration constitutes a massive drain[3] on the former, and is slowly, but surely destroying[4] the latter.

Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who lives with constant death threat from Muslims, was recently[5] told by the National Coordinator for Anti-terrorism that he would do better to express his political message in a milder manner. Is that a healthy sign of free speech? Wilders has said provocative things such as that the country faces being swamped by a "tidal wave of Islamization," that if Muslims want to stay in the Netherlands, they should tear out half the[6] Koran and that "If Muhammad lived here today, I would propose he be tarred and feathered as an extremist and driven out of the country."

Wilders claims that a climate of "hate and aggression" has been created in which someone might think that "illegal means are justified to stop me and my people." Left-wing columnists dismiss him as "someone outside of the law, as the leader of a fascist party, that is anti-democratic and similar in some respects to the Nazi's," he said. One should remember that another Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, was murdered following similar treatment by the media. Poultry veterinarian J. Plantema[7] was ordered to pay damages of a massive 200,000 euros to animal rights group WakkerDier, after he described them as "a bunch of terrorists" who do not shrink from murder, arson, vandalism and intimidation. Wakker Dier is headed by Sjoerd van de Wouw. At another action group, VMO, he was the right-hand man of Volkert van der Graaf, who assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002. Currently, Van de Wouw is assistant to the Party for Animals (PvdD), which has two seats in the Lower House. PvdD leader Marianne Thieme[8] has forbidden the laying of poison to deal with a mouse infestation in its parliamentary offices, and stated that they "wish to combat it using traps that keep the mice alive."

A school in Amsterdam[9] has halted lessons on rural life because the Islamic children refused to talk about pigs. Various pupils, 9 or 10 years old, began to demolish the classroom when the pig came up for discussion. A survey recently revealed that some 40 percent of the Dutch consider that they cannot always say what they want, especially when it comes to issues related to the Multicultural society. The Netherlands, which for centuries was a haven for those seeking more freedom of thought, is becoming an increasingly totalitarian society, as a direct result of Muslim immigration. This is the reason why Hans Janssen,[10] Professor of Modern Islamic Ideology at Utrecht University, stated that a peaceful society that wishes to remain existent "will have to find a way to defend itself through non-peaceful means from people who are not peaceful." According to Jansen, Muslim fundamentalists frequently make threats, but the Dutch media remain silent about them.

Margriet de Moor states that "a scholar living in our part of the world is less likely to be subjected to the fate undergone by the Sudanese politician, theologian and writer Mahmud Taha. Taha, who for sound, scholarly reasons proposed recognising only the Koran texts from Mohammed's time in Mecca — and these are peaceful texts without the obligatory Jihad — was executed in Khartoum prison in 1985 after being accused of having lost his faith."[11]

But she thus points the finger at the problem: The only way you could, even theoretically, create a peaceful, tolerant Islam would be to permanently ignore all teachings, contained in the Koran, the hadith and the sira, originating from the violent Medina period. I doubt whether this is practically possible, and even if it was, it would mean that Muslims quite literally have to get rid of half of the Koran, which again means that Mr. Wilder is correct. Dr. Daniel Pipes[12] is among those who have praised Mahmoud Muhammad Taha as a key to moderate Islam, but Taha presented unconvincing arguments for his case and was anyway killed[13] because his ideas were considered heretical.

As I've demonstrated in my writings,[14] the question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy largely hinges upon your definition of "democracy." If this simply means voting, with no freedom of speech or safeguards for individual rights or minorities then yes, it can, as a vehicle for imposing sharia on society. But such a "pure" democracy isn't necessarily a good system even without Islam, as critics from Plato to Thomas Jefferson have convincingly argued. Likewise, the question of whether or not Islam can be reformed largely hinges upon your definition of "Reformation." I usually say that Islam cannot be reformed, and by "reformed" I thus implicitly understand this as meaning something along the lines of "peaceful, non-sharia based with respect for individual choice and freedom of speech." In other words: "Reform" is vaguely taken to mean less Islam.

However, Robert Spencer[15] and others have argued that there are similarities between Martin Luther and the Christian or Protestant Reformation in 16th century Europe and the reform movement started by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab in the Arabian peninsula in the 18th century. Wahhab's alliance with regional ruler Muhammad bin Saud and his family later led to the creation of Saudi Arabia. There was also another modern "reform" movement within the Islamic world, the so-called Salafism of 19th century thinkers such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh. Whereas the former was an internal reform movement triggered by calls for removing "corruption" from society, the latter was clearly a response to external, Western pressures.

Although Abduh's ideas were continued in a secular direction by individuals such as Egyptian writer Taha Hussein, clearly the most successful strands were those developed into what was later termed "Islamic fundamentalism" in the 20th century. Muhammad Abduh's pupil Rashid Rida inspired Hassan al-Banna when he formed the Muslim Brotherhood. Rida urged Muslims not to imitate infidels, but return to the Golden Age of early Islam, as did Abduh. Rida also recommended reestablishing the Caliphate, and applauded when the Wahhabists conquered Mecca and Medina and established modern Saudi Arabia. The two reform movements thus partly merged in the 20th century, into organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The fact that two initially separate calls for reform, started under different circumstances and for different reasons, produced somewhat similar results is worth contemplating. Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin also called for returning to the Golden Age of early Christianity. Although the Reformation was a turbulent period while it lasted, it did pave the way for more tolerance and religious freedom in Christian Europe in the long run. This was, in my view, at least partly because Christians could return to the example, as contained in the Gospels, of an early age where the founder of their religion and his disciples led a largely peaceful movement separate from the state. Muslims, on the other hand, can find a similar example only in the Mecca period. As long as the writings from the violent Medina period are still in force, a return to the "early, Golden Age" of Islam will mean a return to intolerance and Jihad violence.

Some Western observers are searching for a "Muslim Martin Luther" who is expected to end the resurgent Islamic Jihad. But one could argue that we already have a Muslim Martin Luther: He's called Osama bin Laden, deeply inspired by the teachings of Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayyid Qutb. If "reform" is taken to mean a return to the historical period of the religious founder, Muhammad, and his followers, it will lead to an inevitable upsurge of Jihadist violence, since that was what Muhammad and his followers were all about. The question of whether Islam is reformable is an important one. But perhaps an even more crucial one is whether an Islamic Reformation would be desirable from a non-Muslim point of view, and the likely answer to that is "no."

End Notes

[1] To understand the implications of taqiyya, read Raymond Ibrahim, "How Taqiyya Alters Islam's Rules Of War" here.

[2]  Paul Austin Murphy's essay, "The Uk's The New Statesman Defends Sharia Law" deals with some of Tariq Ramadan's 'ends-justify-the-means' lies.



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[11] Fjordman's February 21, 2008 essay on Taha and the Mecca versus Medina verses is here. He writes, "If 'reform' is taken to mean a return to the historical period of the religious founder, Muhammad, and his followers, it will lead to an inevitable upsurge of Jihadist violence, since that was what Muhammad and his followers were all about."





"Alarm bells in Muslim hearts"
by Margriet de Moor
April 23, 2007
Below are excerpts relevent to the Fjordman essay that appeared on Jihad Watch. The complete de Moor article is available at:

I currently live in one of the most interesting countries in Europe. I am an inhabitant of a remarkable country, one that first of all is tiny and over-populated, that secondly has four big cities — Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague — half of whose populations already consist of people of foreign origins, most of them Muslims, and that thirdly has witnessed two political murders, one of which was committed directly in the name of Allah. I am thus an inhabitant of a country that has all the makings of considerable social, political and religious trouble and yet has managed to stay calm.

If Islam is ever to experience a Reform at all, it will not happen in the witches' cauldron where religion comes from, but in the affluent West. And then it could very well happen that the Martin Luther of this movement will be the voice of a woman. How I miss Ayaan Hirsi Ali! A female Islamic Luther, and a black one to boot, wouldn't it have been wonderful? Or rather, since she isn't a theologian, perhaps a black Voltaire?

There are two reasons why I think that a reform of Islam will take place in the West. The first is the flourishing of Islamic studies. Research into the sources, into the story of Muhammad as a historic figure and the doctrine of Islam is currently taking place independently of Islamic orthodoxy.

But a scholar living in our part of the world is less likely to be subjected to the fate undergone by the Sudanese politician, theologian and writer Mahmud Taha. Taha, who for sound, scholarly reasons proposed recognising only the Koran texts from Mohammed's time in Mecca — and these are peaceful texts without the obligatory Jihad — was executed in Khartoum prison in 1985 after being accused of having lost his faith.

The second reason for a possible Islamic reform here in the West is the social conditions that Fareed Zakaria has already talked about. Conditions in the Netherlands are the opposite of a dictatorship. This country is probably the freest, most liberal in the world, and one of the most prosperous to boot. I belong to the unrestrained generation, the generation that in 1960s protested passionately against almost all holders of power of that time.

When I'm feeling optimistic I sometimes see the Netherlands, a small laconic country not inclined towards the large-scale or the theatrical, as a kind of laboratory on the edge of Europe. Now and then the mixture of dangerous, easily inflammable substances results in a little explosion, but basically the process of ordinary chemical reactions just continues.

I am thinking of the novel 2084 still to be written. Historical developments often come about very abruptly. The question of whether the teaching of Mohammed can coexist peacefully with that of Jesus, the hero of the Gospels, will probably have been answered by then.

Return to Fjordman article.


Fjordman is a Norway-based writer. He is a noted blogger who writes analytic and original essays on Islam, Scandinavian affairs and global politics. He is a frequent contributer to Brussels Journal, Gates of Vienna, Faith Freedom International, Jihad Watch and Think-Israel, among other websites.

This essay comprises two separate essays by Fjordman. Part 1 is the first part of "On the Illusion of a Moderate Islam" from the August 2010 Winds of Jihad website The full "On the Illusion of a Moderate Islam" is available at fjordman-on-the-illusion-of-a-moderate-islam/ Part 2 is "Do we want an Islamic Reformation?" and is taken from the May 8, 2007 Jihad Watch website

The first paragraph of Part I has been minimally modified to adapt to the new format. The start of the original essay read, "This essay overlaps to some extent with earlier essays of mine regarding the alleged existence of a "moderate Islam," including "Do we want an Islamic Reformation?" and "Why We Cannot Rely on Moderate Muslims."
( why-we-cannot-rely-on-moderate-muslims.html_

A listing of Fjordman's essays may be found at


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