This has been a strenous Ramadan (I am grateful to Allah for the lesson in humility). As such I have been quite behind in blogging - especially the reading part (during this holy month, I try to focus more on reading the Qur'an than I do the Internet. Usually I succeed :)

Because of this, I did not notice the response in the blogsphere to my lanat post. I have been somewhat dazed by the attention it has drawn. I know this is an incomplete list, but let me publicly thank Glenn, Jim, Patrick, and Thomas for their links, kind comments, and most importantly, their moral support.

But I am hardly alone.

Jim has compiled a thorough collection of links to blogs run by "islamic moderates"[1], male and female. In doing so, Jim also has this typically insightful caveat:

So what do we have here? A growing network of serious young men (I have found only men so far) actively engaged in challenging the extremists of their faith on the basis of their faith. They are already doing important intellectual work for far too small an audience, but we can expect that that audience will grow and that this formative work will not be wasted. Some of our muslim bloggers will go on to write for other media with more readers. Some of them will inspire people we don't know yet to do the same.

Do not expect their reconstruction to be an abnegation. Their repudiation of the murder of innocents, antisemitism and the stoning of women will not often also be their acceptance of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, nor even, in all cases, Israel's founding. It will not be tantamount to support for a US conquest of Iraq (and Iran, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt...) and a "MacArthur-style regency" to "reconstruct their culture like we did with Germany and Japan." Some of the thinkers we are discussing may support some of these things, others will consider them wrongheaded if not evil. "Islam" means "submission," but not submission to the Weekly Standard.

Precisely. The reason that decrying immoral actions of terrorists who happen to be muslim can be separated from the notion that Islam itself somehow nurtures these kinds of actions is precisely because Islam itself condemns terrorism. And while many high profile bloggers understand the concept that correlation is not causation enough to blog about it (repeatedly), few seem to be able to actually apply the principle. I have made a modest attempt at explaining a reason for the correlation between terrorism and Arabs.

It's curious that despite the best efforts of muslim moderates, we will always be seen as forever biased and somehow compromised by our religion when it comes to our patriotism or loyalty. In fact, this has come up very recently for me - something I will blog about later. We moderates understand that Islam is the answer[2] (with due respect to Jim, there's nothing bold about this idea) to attacking the symptoms of the terrorism meme. But attacking symptoms is not the answer. When it comes down to it, we share the goals of the warbloggers and the neocons at the Weekly Standard. We want terrorism to be eradicated. We want the Middle East to be democratic. But we think that terrorism needs to be solved by addressing the causal factors, not the symptoms alone. And we think that democracy has been stunted by Western powers, deliberately, for short term strategic gain. This is why we have trouble with the notion that mass imperial invasion of more middle eastern countries is the cure-all.

Because we are muslim, this makes us an authority, not a biased fifth column. And we will defend our religion from unjust attacks as we will defend our country from unjust attacks. To many, this is intolerable. So be it.

[1] A group that sorely needs a buzzword label (modlims? paleomuslims? postmuslims?) Leave suggestions in the comments :)
[2] Islam offers a solution to Iran, for example.

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