The Battle for the Mosque Broadens and Deepens

March 9, 2007

Author: Stephen Schwartz

Source: TCSDaily

At the launching of the Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) two years ago, TCSDaily was one of the media institutions most supportive to our work, and I have therefore chosen this venue to present a balance sheet of CIP's activities in promoting moderate Islam.

We have enjoyed significant success. But some notable obstacles remain before us. These include the vulnerability of mainstream media and even Western governments to the claims of Islamic radicals to stand as the sole representatives of the faith, and the corruption of academics that legitimize this charade.

But we also must deal with serious challenges inside the Western Muslim community. First, U.S. and UK Sunni Muslims are completely dominated by extremists - Saudi-backed Wahhabis in the first case and Pakistani-controlled jihadists in the second. Canada, which I recently visited for a series of lectures, represents an important exception to this pattern, as discussed here.

Second, Sunnis in general are taught conformity to their leadership, and stirring them to reject the radicals who exploit them is a major task.