Moderate and Extremist Islam Collide in Many Parts of the World

May 8, 2005

Source: The Boston Globe

On May 8, 2005 The Boston Globe reported, "For...hundreds of millions of...moderate Muslims, Islam is not about cloistered women, global jihad, or living by a literal interpretation of the Koran. It is about self-improvement and tolerance. About modesty and propriety, though not pressed to the fully veiled extreme. And about finding the peaceful nexus between an ancient faith and modern ways. From Indonesia and Malaysia to Turkey and Morocco, the Islamic world teems with people...who differ sharply, on almost every issue, with the militant fundamentalists who dominate the international image of the faith. They are, by any measure, the overwhelming majority of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims a quiet, nervous majority and hold in their hands the balance of power in the Muslim world and, with it, the fate of the Bush administration's push for democratization in the Middle East. A Globe reporter's journey among these believers through the villages, mosques, schools, and coffee shops where their views and numbers predominate found a widespread commitment to moderation and nonviolence, but also deep distrust of the United States and fear of the consequences of confronting Muslim extremists. These moderates feel that, despite their crucial role, they are largely invisible to the West and badly misunderstood."