An Open Letter to Moderate Muslims
Let's start with what I'm not going to do.
I'm not going to accuse you of staying silent in the face of the horrific atrocities being committed around the world by your co-religionists. Most of you have loudly and unequivocally condemned groups like the Islamic State (ISIS), and gone out of your way to dissociate yourselves from them. You have helped successfully isolate ISIS and significantly damage its credibility.
I'm also not going to accuse you of being sympathetic to fundamentalists' causes like violent jihad or conversion by force. I know you condemn their primitive tactics like the rest of us, maybe even more so, considering the majority of victims of Islamic terrorists are moderate Muslims like yourselves. On this, I am with you.
But I do want to talk to you about your increasingly waning credibility -- a concern many of you have articulated as well.
You're feeling more misunderstood than ever, as Islamic fundamentalists hijack the image of Muslims, ostentatiously presenting themselves as the "voice of Islam." And worse, everyone seems to be buying it.
The frustration is evident. In response to comedian Bill Maher's recent segment ripping liberals for their silence on criticizing Islam, religious scholar Reza Aslan slammed him in a CNN interview. Visibly exasperated, he ultimately resorted to using words like "stupid" and "bigot" to make his points. (He apologized for this later.)
We'll get to Aslan's other arguments in a bit. But first, let's talk about something he said to his hosts that I know many of you relate to: that moderate Muslims are too often painted with the same brush as their fundamentalist counterparts. This is often true, and is largely unfair to moderates like yourselves.
But you can't simply blame this on the "ignorance" or "bigotry" of non-Muslims, or on media bias. Non-Muslims and the media are no more monolithic than the Muslim world you and I come from.
The problem is this: moderate Muslims like you also play a significant role in perpetuating this narrative -- even if you don't intend to.
To understand how, it's important to see how it looks from the other side.
For more details please read Huffington Post