Islam’s Political Problem
THE FLIGHT OF THE INTELLECTUALS.
By Paul Berman.
Melville House. 299 pp. $26
THE OTHER MUSLIMS:
Moderate and Secular.
Edited by Zeyno Baran.
Palgrave Macmillan. 211 pp. $30
In the annals of well-meaning ineptitude, Western efforts to locate and support moderate Muslim voices deserve a place of distinction. The story begins in the smoky rubble of Manhattan’s Twin Towers and the dawning awareness that Islamist zealots who styled themselves holy warriors were the masterminds of this startling act of mass murder. Such acts had to be understood either as something frightfully sick about Islam or as a radical distortion of Islam. Most reasonable people chose to see them as the latter. But if Islam was being hijacked, who within the Islamic world would resist?
Voices of moderation were hastily sought. Understandably, mistakes were made. Even among the Muslims mustered to stand in solidarity with President George W. Bush at the 9/11 memorial service in Washington National Cathedral were a couple whose credentials as champions of moderate, mainstream Islam were questionable. But if that was forgivable because of haste, later missteps were less so.
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Jay Tolson is the news director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He was editor of The Wilson Quarterly from 1989 to 1999.more from this author >>
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