A substantial part of the problem is that many Westerners don't believe that there are such people as liberal, progressive Muslims. This is because we seldom, if ever, hear from them or see them in action.
After the attacks of 9/11, I said, "This is not Islam." I expected, but did not hear, thundering denunciations of the atrocity from the great and the good of the Islamic world. Instead, there were murmurings of diplomatic sympathy between governments, while the unseemly images of celebration in Muslim cities burned into our memory. We expected that at least those governments nominally friendly to us would take direct action to root out Al Quaida and its allies, but nothing happened. Instead, of majority Islamic states, our only active ally is the secular and corrupt government of Pakistan, itself under fire from its indigenous Muslim extremists. The largely un-elected and absolutist governments of the rest of the Muslim world are in fact afraid of their home-grown religious radicals to take meaningful action against them.
In the West, we have a saying that silence equals consent: therefore, in our eyes, the Kings and Princes, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Imams and Professors of the Islamic world ratified the attacks on the United States by their silence and inaction.
By allowing to the radical elements to totally dominate debate, liberal Muslims contribute to the impression that all Islam is at war with the West.
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