The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

I’ve often heard said, and repeated, that Islam is an “immature” religion, that it still is in its young, expansionist phase. Judaism and Christianity both went through their militant, conquering stage, but both outgrew them and “matured” as the faiths they are today. Islam, however, has yet to reach that point when they move beyond the “Dar Al-Islam/Dar Al-Harb” (“World of Islam/World of War”) stage, the perception that the world is either Islamic, or soon will be after it is conquered and brought to Allah by the sword.

Now, there are a lot of Muslims who don’t act this way. But there are enough that are, especially when coupled with the inaction of the rest. Sure, they’ll occasionally speak out against acts of terrorism, but the usual mainstream Islamic reaction to Islamic terrorism is the old Three-Step: 1) “It was a terrible thing, but you cannot blame all of us for the actions of a misguided few.” 2) “It was terrible, but understandable, when you consider how Muslims are being horribly abused by Israel/the West/the heartbreak of psoriasis.” 3) “We fear a terrible backlash against all Muslims for this, and demand protection from the authorities.”

Two things have been missing from the protests. The first was a blanket condemnation of the action, without the above weaseling. The second has been action, actual deeds done to confront the radicals in their midst. For decades, perhaps longer, the psychos have enjoyed the tacit endorsement of the mainstream, because without that pond to swim in freely, the fish would have died off long ago.

But for the first time, I’m seeing signs of maturity in large groups of Muslims, In Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, a group of Muslims have volunteered to guard Christian churches from attack by Muslim extremists this Christmas. That’s right — they’re actually standing up to their own alongside the heretics.

Of course, I hope their efforts end up unneeded, and it is a peaceful Chrsitmas for the Christian minority in Indonesia. But there’s a part of me that can’t help speculating on the strategic benefits of there being actual thwarted attacks, and the world is witness to Muslims taking responsibilty for the vipers in their midst and actively crushing this, as they call it, “perversion of Islam.”

As ugly as it may sound, this is something that has to be done, and it’s best done by Muslims. They need to draw the line between the mainstream of Islam and the radicals, and build a wall atop that line. They’ve repeatedly said that they oppose terrorism — and finally we’re seeing deeds put to words.

On the other hand, this could be a hoax and a setup. But I really hope not.

(Thanks to Pickled Politics, via Harry’s Place, courtesy the biggest guy in Pajamas who isn’t Hugh Hefner)

Can the leopard change it spots?
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  1. -S- December 12, 2005
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