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Friday, March 26, 2004
Carey on Islam

Lord Carey, the last Archbishop of Canterbury (and perhaps the last ever Bible-believing Christian to hold the post) has detailed a fierce criticism of the sort that may soon be illegal on those Muslim clerics unable or unwilling to condemn the terrorists who kill in the name of Allah. Though his comments on the paucity of Islamic democracies are merited, I think he went much too far in his suggestion that the Arab world has contributed nothing for centuries. But the phenomenon of Islamic leaders again and again refusing to condemn Al-Qaeda or acting as apologists for suicide bombers needs highlighting.

How often have we heard Muslim clerics say that they condemn terror with a firm "on all sides" qualifier? How many of them can assert that they want to see an end to "all violence", but never find it within themselves to say that terrorism is plainly, unequivocally wrong? Based mainly on personal experience, I don't for a moment believe that extremist groups like the abominable Muslim Association of Britain are truly representative of most British Muslims, but how distant their rhetoric is from that of most Imams is not so clear cut. If the great majority of Islamic clerics are fiercely and unequivocally opposed to terrorism, anti-Semitism and campaigns to subvert liberal democracy, then it is all the more important that we hear from them, that they speak out against groups like Hamas, Al-Qaeda and the MAB.

The head of the Muslim Council of Britain claims that "mainstream Muslim organisations have consistently condemned terrorist acts but their statements are often ignored by the media". It may well be the case that such statements are already being made, and for self-loathing PC reasons the BBC and its press counterparts are more interested in airing the grievances of those who know no better than Jenny Tonge than reporting the views of the decent majority. If this is true, then it is the liberal media who are responsible for creating the impression that most Muslim leaders propagate moral equivalence or worse, and it is they, not Lord Carey, who should be condemned.

Thanks to Samizdata for the link.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg stresses the crucial role for moderate Muslims:

If every German I meet or see is a Nazi, it's reasonable for me to say all Germans are Nazis. It may not be true, of course, but having no evidence indicating otherwise it's certainly understandable that I would draw that conclusion. If, however, I constantly hear Germans condemn Nazism and anything which remotely resembles Nazism, if I see them repudiating German Nazis, and working to repair the damage done by German Nazis, it would be outrageously unfair and malicious for me to say all Germans are Nazis.

Now, under both hypothetical circumstances, the actual number of Germans who are Nazis can remain the same. The only difference is what the non-Nazi Germans do. As the saying goes, all that evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
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