Moderate Muslim

  (Redirected from Moderate Islam)

Moderate Islam, moderation in Islam and moderate muslim is a label used within counterterrorism discourse as the complement of "Islamic extremism", implying that the support of Islamic terrorism is the characteristic of a "radical" faction within Islam, and that there is a "moderate" faction of Muslims who denounce extremist violence such as Islamic terrorism, militant Jihadism and radical Islamism.[1]

Moderation in Islam or moderate Islam is also a term that occurs as interpretation of the Islamic concepts of wasatiyyah or wasat (the middle way, center, balanced, best) as well as Iqtisad (اقتصاد) (right way, middle way, honest, truthful way[2]) and Qasd (قصد). These terms are used in the Quran, for example to describe the Muslim community:[2][3][4]

And thus we have made you a wasat (moderate) community that you will be witnesses over the people.

— Al-Baqara, 2: 143

Moderate views, in the first sense, are widespread according to opinion polls. A majority in eleven Sunni Muslim countries are very negative towards the Islamic State.[5] Moderate perceptions are especially common among Muslims in the western world, for example Euroislam. Of US Muslims, 82 percent (2017) are concerned about Muslim global extremism,[6] 81 percent believe that suicide bombing can never be justified, and 48 percent believe Muslim leaders have not done enough to prevent extremism (2011).[7]


Several Muslim scholars have noted the harm caused by using the term "moderate." It implies that being fully Muslim is dangerous, and that terrorism and extremism are the norm in the Islamic tradition. The writer Shireen Younus explains, "The qualifier of “moderate” suggests that there is something innately violent about Islam. It leads to the false conclusion that a small group of “moderates” is standing in opposition to a large swath of violent, ISIS-supporting radicals. This is simply not true because the reality is the complete opposite. When the media talks about “moderate Muslims”, they are perpetuating a dangerous narrative of Islam as a violent religion that is at odds with American society." [8]

The Doctor of Law Lorenzo G. Vidino describes the term as "inherently controversial, vague and subjective"[9] and Muslim scholars such as Dr Debbie Almontaser have argued that Muslim populations predictably find the "moderate Muslim" label offensive.[10]

Adrian Cherney and Kristina Murphy argue that the categorisations of moderate/extremist are not neutral, and that their widespread deployment "deprives Muslims of the agency to define the parameters of the debate around counterterrorism and also the terms of reference through which they are labelled as either for or against terrorism."[11] Although some Muslims do employ the use of such language, it is seen by others as further stigmatising Muslim communities and Islam.[12]

The Pakistani born journalist Sarfraz Manzoor also argues that the "moderate Muslim" label is offensive, as he believes that it implies ordinary Islam is not inherently peaceful.[13] Others believe that it implies that "moderate Muslims" are not "fully Muslim",[13] or that the term equivalates "progressive" or "secular" with "moderate".[13][8] Others, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (in response to the Saudi Crown Prince's ‘moderate Islam’ pledge[14]) reject the term as a Western notion stating that there is only one Islam.[15]

The general criticism of this term is that it implies that the "Islam" and "Muslim" refer to something inherently violent, giving the impression that they need an adjective ("moderate") to assure otherwise.

Related branches of IslamEdit

Liberalism and progressivism within Islam is sometimes seen as a subset of moderate orientations of Islam, while other moderate views may be conservative.

Moderate islamismEdit

Moderate islam should not be confused with moderate islamism. Before the 2008 Egypt election, the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood was described as moderate Islamists in comparisons to the more radical Islamists in the country's Salafist party,[16] although the movement has always taken a stand against secularism, it has been banned in the country and later has been classified as a terrorist organization by several countries.

The Ennahdha Party of Tunisia has been described as a moderate Islamist party since the 1980s, when it advocated a "Tunisian" form of Islamism recognizing democracy, political pluralism and a "dialogue" with the West.[17] In 2011, a spokesman for the party described it as moderate Islamic rather than Islamistic, since it does not want a theocracy.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Khan, ed., M. A. Muqtedar (2007). Debating Moderate Islam: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Kamali, Mohammad Hashim (2015). The Middle Path of Moderation in Islam: The Qurʼānic Principle of Wasaṭiyyah. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-022683-1.
  3. ^ Moderation in Islam: In the Contex[t] of Muslim Community in Singapore : a Compilation of Working Papers Presented in the PERGAS Ulama Convention 2003, Held on 13th and 14th September 2003, which Carried the Theme of Moderation in Islam. PERGAS. 2004. ISBN 9789810510329.
  4. ^ Hashem, Ahmad Omar (1999). Moderation in Islam. United Printing Publishing and Distributing. p. 177.
  5. ^ "Views of ISIS Topline". Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project. 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  6. ^ "U.S. Muslims are concerned about extremism in name of Islam". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  7. ^ "Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism". Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  8. ^ a b Younus, Shireen. "I Am Not a Moderate Muslim". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  9. ^ Vidino, Lorenzo (2010). The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West. p. 12.
  10. ^ Why Dr. Debbie Almontaser finds being called a "moderate Muslim" offensive, retrieved 2019-08-22
  11. ^ Cherney, Adrian; Murphy, Kristina (2016-05-03). "What does it mean to be a moderate Muslim in the war on terror? Muslim interpretations and reactions". Critical Studies on Terrorism. 9 (2): 159–181. doi:10.1080/17539153.2015.1120105. ISSN 1753-9153. S2CID 147276791.
  12. ^ Corbett, Rosemary R. (2016). Making Moderate Islam: Sufism, Service, and the "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy. Stanford University Press.
  13. ^ a b c Manzoor, Sarfraz (16 March 2015). "Can we drop the term 'moderate Muslim'? It's meaningless". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  14. ^ Chulov, Martin (2017-10-24). "I will return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam, says crown prince". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  15. ^ Erdoğan criticizes Saudi Crown Prince’s ‘moderate Islam’ pledge, Hurriyet, 10 Nov 2017
  16. ^ Robert S. Leiken, Steven Brooke, The moderate muslim brotherhood, Archived February 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, the thinktank Council on Foreign Relations March/April 2007
  17. ^ Merley, Steven (October 13, 2014). "Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Speaks In Washington; Rachid Ghannouchi Has Long History Of Extremism And Support For Terrorism". Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  18. ^ ""We do not want a theocracy" (Wir wollen keinen Gottesstaat)". Deutschlandradio Kultur (in German). 18 May 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit