In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Islamophobic backlash is just beginning.
I came across an interesting article in this context.The author makes three points- (in case you’re thinking TL,DR):
1. There exists a ‘positive feedback loop’ between anti-western/anti-islam ideologies
2. Moderate Muslims should do their bit by speaking out and condemning radical Islam, as currently, outrage seems to be directed selectively against ‘injustices’ -like offensive cartoons/movies
3. The West should also actively abandon an Islamophobic attitude to further weaken the loop.
While I completely agree with the article in its entirety, I think the realisation of the writer’s second point will be extremely difficult-
First, because the ‘moderates’ and the ‘extremists’ are two distinct groups. Extremists are far more ‘visible’ because they actively participate in acts of dissent. Moderates are ordinary folks going about their daily lives-presumably the kind who have better things to do than to stage defensive protests. They are far more likely to register their disapproval in less visible ways- in articles, in conversations, perhaps even on social media- which makes their collective voice much more harder to discern. That is why you will see protests against cartoons- but none against fatwas.
The narrative of the ‘moderate Muslim condemning the radical Muslim’ is unfortunately inconspicuous in major media because of it’s dissipated, unorganised, individual nature. Discounting it’s very existence however, is wrong.
Second, the dissemination of radical ideology is probably spreading at a rate faster than the moderates can keep it in check. The reason for this is numbingly simple- the ‘radicals’ have Wahhabi backers and limitless sources of funding, while the moderates do not. Moderate imams, mosques and madrassas are actively being ‘recruited’ into the cause of extremists using petrodollars. Take this for example. Or this. Of course you can hope that nobody buys into their brand of Islam, but the truth is that there are enough disenchanted souls who will be seduced by this increasingly pervasive rhetoric.
In the end, it boils down to simple, cynical truths- money matters. So does PR. At present ‘moderate’ Muslims- despite their best intentions- do not possess the former, and aren’t organised enough to meaningfully consider the latter.
And that’s why the third point becomes all the more important. Although the author meant for it to apply to government policy, it is literally the only thing we can do as individuals-ease up on the hard feelings.