Sunday, May 28, 2006

Moderates need to play ball

Justice must be seen to be doneAnd you thought you've heard it all. About the extreme 'moral' requirements that extreme Muslims practice and enforce on others. An example from recent months is the no-kissing/ no-hugging / no-touching rule between male and female in public, and therefore no public display of affection. In Iraq, extremists have gone even further. The Associated Press reported, about 3 hours ago, that in Baghdad, gunmen stopped a car carrying the Sunni Arab coach and his two Shiite players, asked them to step out and then shot them.
And their 'crime'? This, according to leaflets distributed by these extremists:
Wearing shorts by youth are prohibited because it violates the principals of Islamic religion when showing forbidden parts of the body. Also women should wear the veil...

As expected, moderate Muslims and clerics have come out to condemn this act and state that there is nothing wrong in wearing shorts like those than an athlete would wear during training and competition. The problem is that the Islamic religious agenda has effectively been hijacked by these extremists for some time now. The moderates are now seen to be forever playing catchup and apologising for the actions of their fellow religious brothers. In the long run, this will not do. Justice must be seen to be done, not just talked about and verbally condemned.

Mere pronouncements without the active pursuit and prosecution of these extremist factions do no good in righting the increasing perception that Islam is a religion of hatred, revenge, and even worst - lawlessness. We need to see action in the pursuit and elimination of these factions worldwide, wherever Islamic extremists ply their brand of hate religion and moralistic judgements. Continued inaction will lead to gradual erosion of adherents and condemn the religion to defections and desertions, for who can live under a cloud where what he/she believes in is equated to violence, hate, and selective lawlessness.

The ball has long been on the moderates' court. The way I see it, either they do something concrete to right this wrong quickly, or they join those whom they refuse to actively discipline - a guilt by association. The third alternative is to abandon a religion that has gone horribly wrong.