Here’s the sad truth: Mainstream Muslims have zero influence over extremists. In fact, if one of those guys had a single bullet in his gun and you and I were up against the wall, he would shoot me first. He hates me more because not only do I not follow his perverse vision of Islam, I also represent an alternative interpretation. He insists Islam requires domination; I suggest Islam inspires cooperation.
Extremists have a strategy. They want their terrorist acts to be front-page news, to stain a 1,400-year-old religion, to smear a community of 1.3 billion people.They want Americans to be suspicious of their Muslim neighbors. If we want to defeat extremists, we have to reject their world view and drown out their message. Indignantly asking, “Where are the moderate Muslims?”, as if there aren’t any, is allowing the extremists to set the terms, effectively aiding and abetting their agenda.
The truth is, mainstream Muslims are right in front of you, speaking all the time, advancing a Muslim vision of mercy and cooperation. It’s time people added their voices to ours, instead of amplifying the message of the extremists.