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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who hijacked who? Why?

Muslims worldwide are on a proselytizing campaign. They have joined the ranks of the J.W's, and the Mormons in "picking off" poor ignorant "almost Christians", and uninformed naive Christians.

Many different types of Muslims claim to be true Muslims. Some Muslims make the claim that other Muslims are not really Muslims. The fundamentalist Muslims issue religious proclamations, or fatwas, against secular and moderate Muslims. Sunni True Muslims kill Shiite True Muslims, and Shiite True Muslims kill Sunni True Muslims, while the "lost" Muslims, the Bahai, have to be slaughtered by ALL TRUE Muslims.

Meanwhile moderates of various stripes claim that the fundamentalists have "hijacked Islam," which is a rather strange concept when you think about it for a while. Understanding different kinds of Muslims within the theological and ideological framework of Islam is a way for non-Muslims to gain perspective and insights about the Islamic world-view as lived out by Muslims today.

The following list is intended to be a starting point and a frame of reference for non-Muslims to gain awareness and understanding about different types of Muslims. The list does not cover the various sects of Islam (Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiyya, Bahai, Druze) nor the schools of thought (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi, Hanbali).

The loyal, well-informed fundamentalist

This type of Muslim supports his views with detailed explanations from the Quran and gives examples from the life and teachings of Mohammed as recorded in the Hadith. He tries to live a life which is consistent with the character and life example (sunna) of Mohammed, which include details of how to dress, bathe, and groom among other things. These Muslims include the religious leaders. They are considered to be conservative in their theology and world-view.

The savvy fundamentalist

This is the Muslim who pretends to be a well informed moderate. At best they “proof-text” some of their claims by emphasizing certain verses and texts from the Quran. They try to position Islam as compatible with freedom and democracy and seem very intellectual. They are often well spoken. well educated and very pleasant personalities. The savvy fundamentalist understands the non-Muslim mind and culture very well and can present Islam effectively in it's best light to the non-Muslim audience. They will use vague generalities about what is or is not Islam. They attempt to make Islam seem benign. These are often Muslim leaders in the west and are held up as moderate Muslims. They are quick to make the point that Muslims are victims and they have conspiracy theories to explain how Muslims are innocent.

The ignorant fundamentalist

This type of Muslim can’t always point to chapter and verse in the Quran and Hadith, but believes the teachings of the loyal, well-informed fundamentalist. Can be easily manipulated by both the fundamentalists and the moderates depending on the context of an issue.

The well-informed moderate

The well-informed moderate understands fundamentalist Islam and understands that a moderate form of Islam is contradictory to the orthodox teachings of Islam. They don't want to have anything to do with fundamentalist Islam, are often secular in their lifestyle, and trying to position Islam and influence the Muslim masses into a moderate and tolerant world-view. They are often highly educated in the west and may view Islam from a cultural rather than a religious perspective. Some Muslim political leaders are in this category and they struggle to keep the loyal, well-informed fundamentalists from gaining too much power by opposing them at times and appeasing them at other times. The savvy fundamentalist tries to position himself as the well-informed moderate, and thus the two are often difficult to distinguish from one another without a careful examination of their statements and actions.

The self-deceived moderate

This is a non-religious, secular Muslim who doesn’t like Islamic theology. He is self-convinced that his view of Islam is the correct view and believes that his view ought to be developed by Muslims in the non-Muslim world. He has given some serious thought to his world-view and if pressed would be shown to be one who has actually broken his ties with Islam. He may not really believe Mohammed is a prophet of God but would never say so. Will often go along with the well-informed moderate, sometimes an active opponent of the loyal, well-informed fundamentalist, and sometimes ignorantly works in partnership with and lends credibility to the savvy fundamentalist.

The ignorant moderate

This type of Muslim has a belief system, world-view, and life-style which is unsubstantiated by the Quran and Hadith. The vast majority of Muslims in a non-Muslim majority country fit into this category. They are often very friendly, nice, easy-going. They don't want to give too much time and attention to understanding Islamic theology. Neither an active opponent of fundamentalist Islam nor an active supporter of secular forms of Islam. They just want to be left alone and live in peace. Although they are somewhat theologically and ideologically passive, they will sometimes go along with the self-deceived moderate when required to take a stance.

There are a few things in common between these different types of Muslims. The biggest commonality is that they all are sensitive about protecting what they perceive to be the honor of Mohammed, the one Muslims call a prophet. Even the well-informed moderate is reluctant to say anything that could be construed as dishonorable to the prophet of Islam. On a practical level, one of the greatest sins a Muslim could ever commit is to deny the prophethood of Mohammed, especially by becoming a Christian. For this reason, even moderate Muslims never speak out for freedom of religion to the extent that they support Muslims leaving Islam.

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