Moderate Muslims are Beginning to Speak Out

October 28, 2001

Source: The New York Times

On October 28, 2001, The New York Times reported that "many moderate Muslims are speaking out in favor of a more tolerant form of their faith. They are emboldened by their sense of anger at the Sept. 11 attacks and embarrassed by what they see as a distorted vision of their religion...It is impossible, of course, to say how many among the nation's Muslims, estimated variously at two million to six million, are vocally distancing themselves from conservative Islam, though it is probably a small minority. A majority of Muslims, perhaps, do not even give the issue much thought" in their daily lives. The article notes that "the object of much of the criticism by moderates and liberals is the...brand of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, which, because of its oil wealth and custodianship of Islam's holiest places, Mecca and Medina, has enormous influence in the Muslim world. This branch of Islam is often called Wahhabism." One Islamic scholar suggests that "Progressive Muslims also see an opportunity in the current crisis to say, 'Look, we honestly have to reconsider our tradition, our legacy.'"