Does not refer directly to Singapore, but the "Moderate Muslim" question is very relevant to our society.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2005
HILLIARD, Ohio Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the disastrous war in Iraq, the argument that "moderate Muslims" - the so-called MM Factor - are the "only legitimate defense against Islamic extremism" has found its way onto center stage and has found acceptance in certain circles. But, who are these "moderate Muslims"? What is the ideological engine driving them? What indicators are there to authenticate them? And, more important, who should interpret the readings of such indicators?
Before an objective debate on these questions could get under way, neocon activists like Daniel Pipes have been spinning the whole MM Factor in order to push a handpicked list of what he describes as "anti-Islamist Muslims." Not surprisingly, the list includes controversial figures like Khalid Duran, a notorious Islam-basher and a friend of Pipes; Irshad Manji, who hosted "Queer Television" on Toronto's City TV; and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a self-declared atheist who collaborated with the murdered film-maker Theo Van Gogh on a film offensive to many Muslims.
Granted, these are individuals who are exercising their freedom of expression and who may want to "shock the system" from the periphery. But this tack will not moderate the current trend of extremism. Bringing Islam back to its original nature of being a middle-ground faith, as taught by the Prophet Muhammad, would require a moderate tone and judicious dialogue. Lending support and a platforms to individuals considered pariahs could simply undermine the whole MM-Factor.
Credibility and sincerity is the name of the game....