ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Searching For "Moderate Islam"

I came across this article reading In These Times. I was, in fact, drawn by its title : Islam Needs Radicals, which triggered my curiosity to read it. The following is a summary of this article.

The author, Mark Levine, a professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture and Islamic studies, UC Irvine, and the author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil, discusses the quest of western countries for those "moderate Muslims" who can improve the image of Islam and build better ties with the West.What is striking in Levine's article is the fact that he denies the existence of such "moderate Muslims". Citing the example of Morocco's King Mohamed VI and Jordan's monarch King Abdullah, whom the US consider as "the epitome of moderate, modern moslem leaders", the author consideres their regimes as those of "repression and censorship". The author goes on to ask even for "a need to re-imagine our labeling of Islam, because the leaders we consider moderate are—often rightly—considered by their citizens to be corrupt and repressive handmaidens of U.S. policies that themselves could rarely be defined as moderate. On the other hand, Muslims respect those we consider “radicals” for standing up to us, even if most don’t agree with how they’re doing it." Mr. Levine cites as well Nadia Yassine, the leader of Morocco’s religiously-oriented Justice and Development movement, who claims that what "Islam needs is more radicals, not moderates—” but radicals in a good sense.” she adds. Mr. Levine concludes by asking "how else to achieve the radical transformation that is necessary to bring peace and democracy to the Middle East, not to mention to America?". You can access the whole article here.


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