Thursday, 15 November 2012

What is a "moderate" Islamist?

I've been hearing that term a lot lately on BBC Radio here in Hong Kong: "moderate Islamist".
Just what is this creature?  Interpolating from the context of BBC's reports, I'm inclined to think that a "moderate" Islamist is one who's in power (Morsi in Egypt), or one who may be about to ascend to power (Mouaz al-Khatib in Syria).  That way, by labelling these fundamentalist Muslims as "moderate", they become, by the magic of terminology, people that -- as the BBC has it -- we can "welcome" to power.
But the definition of Islamist, wherever you look on the internet, would seem to preclude their being "moderate".  Unless by "moderate" you mean that they will try to instil Sharia law only step-by-step, say, rather than all at once; or to expand the Islamic caliphate by stealth rather than by terror.
For any Islamist, whether "moderate", or "extreme", or anything in between is committed to:
  • Implementing Sharia in their country;
  • Promoting introduction of Sharia in the west;
  • Expanding Islam worldwide, by force or by stealth; and...
  • Re-establishing the Islamic caliphate: initially in Muslim countries, and ultimately globally.
And if any of these aims are those that you can consider "moderate", well.. I guess we'll just have to differ on that one...

As a by-the-by, the key element of Islamism, is that it's an ideology that holds Islam is as much a political system as a religious one.  Now that's patently true, if you read the Islamic Trilogy.  Yet, if a non-Muslim is to suggest that Islam is a regio-politico ideology (instead of simply a "religion of peace"), they will be labelled "Islamophobes".
So, is the BBC -- now freely using the terms "Islamism" and "Islamist" --  Islamophobic?  Or is it fine  and acceptable now for us to talk of the reality of Islam: that it is a expansionary political movement more than it is a peaceable religious faith.