Let’s be honest: Islam has a problem today

By Fareed Zakaria

When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that “the Muslim world…has too much in common with ISIS,” and the author, Sam Harris (a guest on his show) concurs, arguing that “Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas,” I understand why people get upset. Maher and Harris made crude simplifications and exaggerations.

And yet, they were also talking about something real. I know all the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It is a vast world of 1.6 billion people. Places such as Indonesia and India have hundreds of millions of Muslims who don’t fit these caricatures. That’s why Maher and Harris are guilty of simplification and exaggeration.

But let’s be honest: Islam has a problem today…There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrate violence and intolerance, and harbor deeply reactionary attitudes towards women and minorities. And while some moderates confront these extremists, not enough do so and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against ISIS in the Arab world today?

But now the caveat, Islam today, is important.


 

Analysis from  IJ Review:

Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s Fareed Zakakia GPS, spoke out about Islamic extremism on Sunday. His comments were spot on:

“When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that “the Muslim world … has too much in common with ISIS,’ and the author, Sam Harris (a guest on his show) concurs, arguing that ‘Islam is the mother lode of bad ideas,’ I understand why people get upset.”

Not only did Zakaria hit that nail square on the head, he continued with another correct observation:

“[L]et’s be honest: Islam has a problem today. … There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrate violence and intolerance, and harbor deeply reactionary attitudes towards women and minorities.
And while some moderates confront these extremists, not enough do so and the protests are not loud enough. How many mass rallies have been held against ISIS in the Arab world today?”

Here are a couple of statistics, as pointed out by Zakaria in the video:

 “In 2013, according to the State Department, of the top ten groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim.”

1

“Of the top ten countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority countries.”

Capture

“Of the 24 most-restricted countries (as it relatest to religion), 19 of them are Muslim-majority.”

2

Zakaria says there is a “cancer of extremism within Islam today,” and that, like “modern Christianity,” Muslims must “celebrate those elements” of Islam which are “tolerant, liberal and modern.”

The real question is, will moderate Muslims the world over ever say “enough is enough” and stand up against the madness – vs. living in fear of retribution from fanaticism?

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