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January 29th 2015 print

Peter Smith

The Paradox of ‘Moderate’ Islam

While it's heartening to hear Muslim community leaders proclaim their affection for Australian freedoms and values, the smile tends to fade when you contrast the Koran's injunctions with the fundamental principles of Western life and liberty. You can support one or the other, but not both

rifiThe Australian newspaper made Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi (left) its Australian of the year. He was pictured in an Islamic robe, holding prayer beads, in the Lakemba Mosque. Dr Rifi obviously takes his faith seriously. Bully for him and for the multiculturalists at the newspaper who picked him.

Let me be clear, Dr Rifi seems like a good bloke. But condemning terrorism and holding inclusive sausage sizzles doesn’t do it for me. I don’t like barbeques overmuch. And I don’t like Islam at all.

Dr Rifi was quoted as saying that “our shared values must unite us all”.

Here are some Australian values.

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom to criticise Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, God and Allah
  • Freedom to join, to practise and leave a religion
  • Freedom from religious law imposed by unelected clerics
  • Freedom from discrimination based on religion, race, gender, or sexual preference.
  • Freedom of women to wear what they like, marry who they like, and to have absolute equality with men

Are these the values we are sharing? Ask Dr Rifi and The Australian.

Leaving aside the great unwashed, so-called moderate Muslims appear to fall into two categories: faux moderates setting out to deceive us and decent people anchored in nothing more than bonhomie. The latter are more dangerous than the former because their artlessness is disarming.

I don’t want to single out Dr Rifi. All Muslims like him have a problem in trying to have their cake and eat it too. They come over all liberal and tolerant and yet retain their faith.  So, do they believe or reject Allah’s alleged words in The Koran (Surah 9:29), where he said

“fight against those who have been given the scripture yet do not believe in Allah…until they pay the tribute readily and are brought low.”

Yes or no? The logical contradiction of ‘yes and no’ shouldn’t pass muster among intelligent people.

Lauding the contribution of those presenting a gentle face of Islam is misconceived. It lulls us into a naive and false view that Islam can be benign and fit in. Whereas we need to be on high alert as Islamism increases its influence among Muslims.

Count the hijabs not the soothing words. As Islamic scripture wields more influence on daily life, women’s Allah-ordained inferiority (Surah 4:34 below) increasingly shows itself in what they wear (emphasis added):

“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.”

What do moderate Muslims think of Surah 4:34? Is Allah right or is He wrong? Or is he right and wrong?

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [3]

  1. [email protected] says:

    Thank you again Peter for an article which most commentators would not be game to write.
    I have commented before in Quadrant that it is the totalitarian nature of Islam which must be confronted not necessarily the theological aspects. ISLAM as a religion does NOT make its adherents commit barbaric crimes. But it DOES attract the sort of person who will commit such uncivilised deeds and for those people committing the hideous atrocities, Islam’s holy book provides the necessary rationalisation to do so.
    What makes your efforts more difficult to get published in the MSM, and hence makes your writing less effective than it deserves is that in any conflict between freedom/capitalism and totalitarianism of any sort, be it secular totalitarians [such as communism, Nazism, environmentalism and many other variations] or theological totalitarians as exemplified by Islam, is that the left invariably will side with the totalitarians.
    The west [freedom/capitalism] is in an existential fight which must be fought for intellectually as well as physically. Our fight is made more difficult in that many intellectuals who benefit so much from the western way of life refuse to even admit that we are in battle let alone identify the enemy and combat it.

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks for your comment ‘denandsel’. However, I am not sure that the totalitarian and theological parts of Islam are separable. It appears to be a an indivisible, whole of life, political and religious ideology. Muslims, of course, can think that they can pick and choose but there will always be imams to remind them that they can’t. It is a huge problem; and that, I think, unfortunately, is a gross understatement. Peter

  3. pgang says:

    It’s similar to the secular conservative who wants a Christianity based societal worldview without being a Christian. It’s jus wishful thinking, and it’s no wonder the progressives and the Islamists are winning the battle for hearts and minds.