A "Moderate" Threat?

It didn’t receive much press, but we still found it illuminating. As The New York Times reported, a meeting of Muslim minds took place in Kuala Lampur on Thursday, and it offers an interesting view of the mindset of purportedly “moderate” Muslim leaders.

The article begins:

Muslim leaders meeting for the first time since the start of the crisis in Lebanon warned Thursday that the fighting could spawn further acts of terrorism, while Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, suggested that the solution to the crisis was to eliminate Israel.

Well, that’s one way to end the trouble, we suppose. And, though it’s surely the course that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, and Michael Scheuer favor, it’ll mean the murder of millions of Jews. Whilst that’s nothing to trouble these great minds, we’re steadfastly opposed to it.

But insanity dribbling from the mouth of Mr. Ahmadinejad isn’t exactly news. More intriguing is the following:

“This war must stop or it will radicalize the Muslim world, even those of us who are moderate today,” news agencies quoted Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the president of Indonesia, as saying at an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference outside Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

“From there, it will be just one step away to that ultimate nightmare: a clash of civilizations,” he said.

Okay, so this self-avowed Muslim “moderate” is calling for an immediate ceasefire–or else. In fact, although he’s presenting his words as sage advice, he’s really offering a thinly veiled threat.

What struck us as particularly interesting is the way in which Yudhoyono proffers a view that entirely denies Muslims any and all agency. To the President of Indonesia, the West acts, Muslims merely react. Thus Israel must be stopped, even though it was provoked by Iranian-backed Hebollah in the first place. If not, benighted Muslims will have no choice but to become “radicalized,” and perpetrate even more acts of terrorism.

Why doesn’t this work the other way around? Why not demand the destruction of Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda, or Western “moderates” will become “radicalized” and demand a more hands-on approach to the Middle East? Why can Westerners control their actions, and Muslims merely offer irrational, uncontrollable reactions?

You’d think that the prime minister of Indonesia would have a better opinion of his people.

(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently reading an advanced copy of Michael Scheuer’s heartfelt biography of Neville Chamberlain.)

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