March 28, 2003

Fact Checking the "Moderate Muslim" Meme

The meme of the moment is the Moderate Muslims who have turned on the US because of the Iraq invasion.

Here is the original source, published in the LA Times, reprinted in Australia:
"Osama must be laughing."

Fawaz Gerges points to a few representative "moderates" who have been shocked into opposition:

Maligned previously as a pro-Western reformer, despite his support for Palestinian suicide bombers, Tantawi's new stance shows the extent of the realignment.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt - a mainstream Islamist organisation with membership numbers in the millions - called on his followers everywhere to join in jihad in defence of Iraq.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, whose organisation had been moving away from militancy in recent years...

Gerges himself was on CNN Friday morning promoting the meme.

And in today's New York Times, Nicolas Kristof picks up the meme, but coyly eliminates the credentials of the "Muslim figures", Perhaps because the readers of the Times are too squeamish to know precisely with whom they are agreeing. "Hearts and Minds."

Muslim figures who sided with the U.S. after 9/11 and denounced Osama bin Laden are now urging "jihad" against Americans.

So who are these moderates?

Tantawi:
-- issued fatwas supporting suicide bombers in Israel.
-- issued fatwas for a jihad to oppose the "judaization" of Jerusalem
-- issued a fatwa against a Cairo University professor, putting his life at risk. The professor's crime: " Hanafi expounds a secular-humanist philosophy in the vein of Nietzsche or John Stuart Mill. He explains that paradise is a state of human bliss and that God is simply a focus of positive natural energy."
-- has supported genital mutilation for women, in his own words: "Cutting a little, but not exaggerating in cutting [the genitals] is better for appearances and more pleasing to the husband." He has modified this position, but it is unclear where he stands on this issue.
-- condemned a new marriage contract that would inform brides-to-be of their rights according to Egyptian law.
-- feels the "hijab" is obligatory for Muslim women.
-- refused to issue a fatwa lifting the condemnation of Salman Rushdie.
-- calls for the closing of alcohol distilleries.

The Muslim Brotherhood:
-- 4 members assassinated Anwar Sadat, former leader of Egypt.
-- banned by the Egyptian government because they are attempting to overthrow the government to establish an Islamic state.

Hezbollah:
-- In December 2002, called for suicide bombings worldwide.
-- has conducted many suicide attacks in Israel and Lebanon.
-- is held responsible for the US Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, 241 Marines died.
-- is held responsible for the bombing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, 19 US servicemen died.
-- at least one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists is a senior Hezbollah member.

Posted by campbell at March 28, 2003 09:29 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Your issues with Hezbollah and Tantawi as moderates are fine, but the Age article's says "[t]he Muslim Brotherhood has not been considered militant since the 1970s, when it disavowed violence and agreed to play by the rules of the political game." If the MB's nonviolent and simply part of the Egyptian political opposition, can they at least earn their credentials as moderates?

Posted by: George at March 29, 2003 12:51 PM