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Monday, December 15, 2008

Moderate Muslims —Syed Mansoor Hussain

I have often wondered what moderate Muslims looks like and stand for. For this reason I started to think about whether there were ‘moderate’ followers of other religions. Having lived in the US for more than three decades, I count many Catholics as good friends. But a moderate Catholic I never found, either they were practicing Catholics or non-practicing Catholics, but Catholics nevertheless.

Many of these Catholic friends had stopped attending mass or confessional; some were divorced and almost all believed in birth control, some even in a woman’s right to choose. All of these would essentially become reasons for excommunication but none of them had been so treated by the Church.

Concerning Protestants, they have such a dizzying array of denominations that any outsider would have to spend a lifetime figuring out the doctrinal differences between them. In spite of a wide array, there is no such entity as a moderate Protestant, at least I never heard of or met one of them. Here it is important to point out that the term ‘fundamentalist’ was initially used to describe some of the more literalist among the Protestant denominations.

About the Hindu physicians that I worked with closely and became friends with, their willingness to eat meat was always a matter of some interest. The saying among us residents (junior doctors) went like this: when a Hindu doctor first comes off the boat, he is often a complete vegetarian. Some in a year or so start visiting KFC, and in a few years even move on to a hamburger if not a medium-rare steak. Yet all of them remain Hindus. The fact that they were willing to consume meat did not in any way make them ‘moderate’ Hindus.

As far as my Jewish friends were concerned, there was an entire range for them. At least Judaism is formally divided into different categories with the reform Jews on one end and the orthodox and the Lubavichers at the other. But I never met somebody I could call a ‘moderate’ Jew.


My message then to those in the west looking for ‘moderate’ Muslims is: take care of the Palestinians, the Kashmiris, the Iraqis, the Afghans and the Chechens and then you will have so many moderate Muslims coming out of the woodwork that you won’t know what to do with them.

Moderate Muslims —Syed Mansoor Hussain


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Pakistan and only have Christian friends. They are nice and moderate. I don't mean moderate in the sense that they don't practice their religion. I don't think that is how we should define moderation. Moderation to me should be practicing one's faith while having respect for the faith of others. I was reading Karen Armstrong's "Jerusalem" and in the interview at the end of the book, she said that Palestine under the Muslim rule was most peaceful and happy. That is a sign of moderation. Islam is not like the terrorists of today but is like the religion of the sufis and the saints and prophets like Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad (May peace be upon them all). We believe in our faith but respect the faith of others.

December 15, 2008 3:31 AM  

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