A brave Muslim student in London responds to one of the questions I asked yesterday (name withheld):
You ask, “Where are the counter-demonstrations? That is, where can adherents of a “religion of peace” be
found publicly condemning claims that their religion calls for “death, death, death” over something as comparatively
minor as a defiling of the Koran – much less one that didn’t happen?”
To answer your question, there is an anti-Islamist demonstration in London every Thursday at 6:00pm outside
the Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street near Marble Arch. We don’t burn Iranian flags, call for nuking
Damascus, chant “death to bin Laden” or do anything else that might attract CNN coverage and earn us a
coveted mention in The Corner, but we’re there, every week, rain or shine, handing out anti-terrorist and anti-
fundamentalist literature to passers-by.
There are many Muslims who oppose the nihilistic death-spiral promulgated by Islamic fundamentalists. I think the reason that most choose not to go public with their criticisms is because of the intimidation campaign that fundamentalists direct at anyone displaying even the slightest wavering from the orthodoxy. I can attest to the (occasionally violent) nature of this intimidation first-hand and the chilling effect this has on my co-religionists. This is a disquieting, sobering and truly sad fact, but not proof that moderate Muslims are insouciant about terrorism, far less that ‘religion of peace’ needs to be surrounded by scare quotes.
A glimmer of hope but, depressingly, only a glimmer.