Irrelevant Majorities

On many occasions in my blogs I have challenged the silent majority of Muslims from whose midst extremists emerge to act against them in word and deed.

In an email I received from a friend, I was referred to a video of a panel discussion about the murders at the American Embassy in Bengazi in 2013. One audience member, a young Muslim-American law student, got up to ask why the panel thought it was possible to fight an ideological war using physical weapons. One of the panelists, Brigitte Gabriel, pointed out that while the questioner was correct in stating that most of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims were not supporters of the jihadist ideology of violence, that still leaves a sizable minority of Muslims who do support the jihadists logistically and financially. It is my belief that there is no ideological ground for discussion with the jihadists, no way that the “philosophical conflict” can be resolved. The extremists are using intimidation and violence against their own co-religionists as well as others. And it is the radicals who typically set the agenda.  This, she said, is why we focus primarily on the extremist minority: just a very few extremists can cause the deaths of 14 million in Nazi concentration camps, or 20 million during the Stalinist era, or 50 million in the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. A small minority of extremists determined the agenda while the peaceful majority was irrelevant. And it took only two dozen radical Muslims to shut down the entire US on 9/11 and cause a complete culture change with regard to national security.

The question that is left begging for an answer is the obvious one: where is the leader who speaks out strongly for the majority of Muslims who want nothing to do with jihad? There are a few imams and other prominent moderate individuals, but I know of no one of stature who claims that role or who has the charisma that might allow the silent majority to coalesce into a stronger and more vocal force. It would take a lot of daring for anyone to put him or herself into this position — the forces of violence constantly threaten to silence those who choose to speak strongly against the jihadist agenda. The voices of the silent majority need to be heard as individuals, as spiritual leaders, and in the media.

I am writing this blog on the eve of the Fourth of July, the day when Americans celebrate the birth of our country as an independent nation. I hope and pray that we will continue to inspire and support those who want to establish democratic systems in their own countries in the hope of benefiting all people with freedom.

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