Foreign Policy Blogs

Moderate Muslims Speak Out against Terrorism

Photo Credit: DFID - UK Department for International Development

Yazidi refugees receiving support from the International Rescue Committee. Photo Credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development

ISIS has killed more Muslims than Westerners. Even though the Western media has not covered them extensively, there are Muslims speaking out and fighting against ISIS. The West should do more to support them in their struggle.

Many people in the west often ask why Muslims don’t take a stronger stand against terrorism in general and ISIS in particular, especially given the fact that the main victims of ISIS atrocities are non-westerners living in the Middle East, many of whom are Muslim. The U.N. reported that in the first eight months of 2014, at least 9,347 civilians were slaughtered in Iraq, mostly by ISIS. While many of the victims were Yazidis, Christians, and other minority groups, the UN in a recent report documented many instances of Muslims also being slaughtered.

According to a report in The Daily Beast, ISIS slaughtered three Sunni Muslim women for refusing to provide medical care to members of ISIS; a Sunni imam was murdered for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS; a Muslim was abducted and beheaded for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS; a Muslim female doctor was murdered for organizing a protest against the ISIS law that Muslim female doctors must wear face veils; Sunni mosques have been blown up because their Imams refuse to support ISIS; and the list goes on. So many in the West ponder, why don’t more Muslims do more to speak out against these atrocities?

While it is true that there are some Muslims who remain silent either out of fear for their own lives or that of loved ones, the full truth is that Muslims aren’t as silent on this issue as the West portrays them to be. There are Muslims who bravely speak out against terrorism, yet their voices don’t reach the western media. For example, a group of Moroccans have posted a video on the internet recently where they have declared that terrorist organizations like ISIS, Jabhat Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad don’t represent them. The name of the video is titled “Not in my name” and includes Moroccan men and women from all age groups. It was translated into English by MEMRI.

In the video, a young man declared, “Torturing the innocent is barbarism.” Another young man states, “Our religion commands us to help one another,” while still another one stresses, “Islam is freedom and respect.” Even little boys participate, declaring, “Islam is the religion of my forefathers. Islam is good conduct and moral values.” A little girl emphasizes, “Islam means to love one another.” An old woman wearing a hijab proclaims, “Islam is a religion that requires good conduct in practice.” It concludes with a young man stating, “The youth say no to terrorism.”

A group of British Muslims performed a similar “Not in my name” campaign to take a stand against terrorism perpetrated by radical Islamists and posted their statements to YouTube. A British Muslim woman wearing a hijab proclaimed: “ISIS does not represent Islam or any Muslim. We must all unite together and try to stop this group from damaging Islam and damaging Muslims because my religion promotes tolerance for women and you have no respect for women.” Another British Muslim accused ISIS of being un-Islamic, because they kill innocent people. Still another one proclaimed that their Caliphate does not represent the Umma, while another one emphasized that what ISIS is doing is inhumane.

Earlier this week, JerusalemOnline reported that Amazigh activist poet Malika Mazen also condemned ISIS and other Islamist groups: “They use religion to get little girls in order to satisfy their urges. If you really perform jihad for the sake of Allah, you should respect your manliness and your religion rather than use it as an opportunity to get little girls. Be a mujahid for the sake of jihad not sex you dog! These people are wolves! These people are dogs!”

In an interview that JerusalemOnline conducted with Pakistani Muslim human rights activist Kasim Hafeez, he warned what would happen because of the Obama administration’s policy of not intervening in Iraq and Syria: “Firstly, we will see genocide and the systematic eradication of people simply because they are ‘different.’ Secondly, it shows ISIS that they can butcher innocents in full view of the world and the world will not do a thing to intervene.” Kasim noted: “they are emboldened by every excess they are able to push without a response. Their potential is limitless.” He led a campaign for Bnai Brith Canada raising awareness about the letter “N” that was displayed on Christian homes in Iraq in areas that ISIS controls.

A Syrian Kurdish leader proclaimed to JerusalemOnline: “The airstrikes are not stopping ISIS.” Syrian Kurdish leader Sherkoh Abbas concurred on Fox News: “The West is not really doing enough to stop these people by arming the Kurds. The Kurds are the only people in this region that can stop ISIS and I think they should be supported. It’s a joke doing these minor strikes to be honest because ISIS is concentrated on defeating us, so taking out two tanks or three armored vehicles when they have hundreds as well as more sophisticated weapons is not an even fighting. The U.S. needs to intensify the airstrikes and to coordinate with the Kurds.”

As we speak, Kurds are on the front lines risking their lives fighting against ISIS and most of them are Muslim. They continue to fight bravely even though they are not receiving sufficient support from the West, which so far prefers to help groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood instead. It is time for the West to listen to and support moderate Muslims struggling against ISIS and other terror organizations.

  • Time has always brought change hence hope for the future although the views of all populations in regard to the Jews have so far remained unchanged throughout history.

    People have always called them greedy, parasites, masters of lies …. but in the UK and US, the Jews are fully protected and no one dares to talk publicly about the vices of this Culture.

    Media and governments all over the World are always under strong pressure to follow that same example.

    As they believe they are the “chosen people” from God the Jews are also the sworn enemies of Equality. This Belief, incompatible with peace and Human respect, has brought over the centuries constant wars and destabilization.

    Today the World in turmoil is a sign of their “success”.

    After 3,000 troubled years, the Jewish Culture can be defined today with utmost clarity:

    The more they feel protected the more they become arrogant.
    Fear and arrogance allow them to only look up or down.
    They detest any form of transparency and they know better than anyone else how to navigate in turbid waters. Corruption is their vital organ.
    They adore a deep voice and have constant need of attention.
    Their “sense of humor” revolves around bashing on cultures and people from all over while they accuse anti-Semite any remark about them.
    They find very amusing to be the judges of everyone.

    One famous “sense of guilt” follows them everywhere and the word “sorry” is always their companion.

    With a tight hold on Hollywood, TV stations and newspapers their influence has no rivals in the World and reflects more and more in the values of our times.

    The nature of this Culture exemplifies the role of the middle man. Like the eternal second, It is near the strongest but also at a safe distance from the troubles it stirs.

    One peculiarity of this Culture is the need to always look up to someone and idolize who is “better” (like who is richer or more famous. Who is more ……).

    That is why the Jewish culture is perfect for the agents of the New World Order and for their adored pyramid that would enslave all, except One.

  • spidey

    some muslims may be against more extreme muslims, but it does not dismiss the fact that the quran instructs all muslims to subdue, conquer, and destroy all unbelievers. do no forget it is written in the quran that muslims are permitted to lie and deceive in order to subjugate unbelievers, in short, never trust a muslim

    • CptSmashy

      The same commands can be found in the Bible.

      They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

      Deuteronomy 17
      If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

      • LouRich

        But Christians are not acting on them in TWENTY-FIFTEEN!

        • Nicole Bowen

          You’re right. They DID. Crusades remember? They have somewhat chilled since then. All religions have spots like these, it’s no surprise Islam is not different.

          • LouRich

            The Crusades? Golly, what are those? Never heard of them. Yes, you’re right: Islam and Christianity are just the same. Christians have perpetrated over 20,000 acts of terrorism globally since 9/11. Oh, wait, it wasn’t Christians after all. No, it was “Nothing-To-Do -With-Islam” Islam.

          • Perry Bonney

            You obviously don’t know anything about the crusades, as much as you may “remember” them.

            The purpose of the crusades was to stop the Muslims from doing the same type of things to Christians as ISIS is doing to our fellow Christians today, such as beheading parents in front of their children and then playing soccer/football with their heads.

            I’m sure ISIS appreciates you being their for them to defend them.

          • drone88008


            Literally a blip on the radar. Certainly doesn’t make it right but seeing the vitriol of Islamic extremists (a phrase 0bama will never utter) and “death to the West” says otherwise.

          • Bob Beer

            The slaughter of the Monophysities, the Iconoclastic movement, the slaughter of Muslims in the Caucasus by Russians, the slaughter of Muslins in the Balkans, the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, Apartheid, Slavery, the slaughter of Natives in the New World…

        • Bob Beer

          Most Muslims are also not acting on them; indeed most of the victims of Islamic extremism have been other Muslims. However we do still have large numbers of Christians seeking to legally persecute sexual minorities in the name of their beliefs, and to insert their beliefs into science curricula and other places. When confronted with the horrendous commands of the Old Testament to kill non believers, many Christians will say, “oh but that’s the Old Testament, Jesus made a new covenant.” Yet when called on their discrimination and downright hateful behavior towards gays they point straight to Leviticus.

          Accepting, non-judgmental Christians read the very same Bible, and point to Jesus’ commands to be merciful and love all.

          In short, both sides cherrypick according to their actual beliefs. This demonstrates that the Bible is not just one thing. It is a mass of contradictions and as such, provides no real moral compass other than that projected onto it by believers.

          It is no different with Muslims and the Koran; people on every side say that the others are not “true” Muslims.

          • LouRich

            Any one Christian or group of Christians may be against homosexuality, and even against homosexuals themselves, but they are not killing them as a matter of religious conscience. Not selling someone a cake, or refusing to license a marriage, is not the same as killing 49 people in a club (and that is just one instance of the deliberate targeting and killing of homosexuals by Islamic fundamentals. In many parts of the world, this kind of thing is institutionalized in government.) It is ignorant, delusional, and dangerous to compare the two religions in the way you are doing.

          • Bob Beer

            First, regarding the Orlando shooting, it seems to be more the product of a very conflicted, sick mind that latched onto extremist religious views fairly late in the game. Istanbul has lots of huge gay bars, but has never had a mass shooting, and incidents against them have been small in scale. There is not even a traditional cultural concept of “homosexual;” only of certain acts. The recent emergence of gays onto the agenda (or as an agenda for that matter) has made people feel threatened, and they make a convenient target for people with their own agendas, clothed in religion.

            Just like fundamentalist politicians here, they prey upon people who are feeling disenfranchised for reasons that reach far beyond religion per se. And if poor white people feel disenfranchised and stripped of privilege in the American South, it’s nothing compared to what Sunnis feel in Iraq today. It’s a good idea to look at the reasons for that rather than just simplistically say “It’s because Islam.”

            In the US, what do you think about the preachers who say “The Bible says they should be killed. Righteously of course…”? Or, “The only bad thing is that he didn’t kill more of them!” How about the young man who marches into the bedroom of a gay couple and shoots them both in the head, thinking he was doing it for Jesus? Where are they getting these ideas from, and how well do you think gays in the US would fare if those people got into power here?

            Thankfully we are not there, and the reason we are not, is that there is still room for critical thinking. It is no coincidence that critical thinking and scientific thought are what Christian fundamentalists feel most threatened by, and the reasons that they clamor to pass off their ignorance as “science” in the schools, denounce facts as “Satanic” in favor of doctrine, willfully ignore what is actually in the Bible in their arguments about “Biblical marriage,” etc. etc. etc. It was a similar movement that transformed Islam from a liberating force that encouraged scholarship and science, to a “pharisaical” system in which rules dictated everything.

            Significantly, just as most Atheists know more about the Bible than fundamentalists, the same is true in the Islamic world. The common feature is ignorance, which facilitates blind belief, which encourages and even enforces more ignorance. And ISIS people are some of the most ignorant when it comes to any interpretation of Islamic law. That should be a lesson to the U.S. as fundamentalists try to grab even more power.

            And you don’t have to look very far back to see horrendous atrocities committed in the name of Christianity. In all the furor over Armenian genocide, nobody talks about the Russians, who came down through the North Caucasus, rounding up entire Muslim villages, herding them into barns and setting them alight, or the Greeks, who methodically slaughtered all the Muslims of southern Greece “in the name of the cross,” when they broke away from the Ottomans in 1821. (The Ottomans responded by killing almost the entire population of the island of Chios.) How much of the persecution and vilification of Jews, which found its zenith in the Holocaust, was shrouded in Christian doctrine? Rather farther back you have the Inquisition (again about power not religion really, but it made a great foil), the slaughter of Monophysites, the iconoclastic movement…all of which have their counterparts in the Islamic world as well.

            My point is not that “Islam and Christianity are the same,” but rather that human nature is – and the most base, animalistic human characteristic is the ability to divide into “us” and “them”, the “them” being whoever is convenient at the time. To do that, you need a rallying point, and religion, being so unifying in terms of the feeling of belonging it provides, and its openness to interpretation due to the vagueness and conflicting statements in its books, makes the perfect vehicle. What has happened in the Islamic world is tragic, but rather than congratulate on how different we are from them, we would do better to look honestly at our own history and take a lesson from it.

          • LouRich

            All of this could be true, and some of it is true, but none of it obviates the facts of Islamic doctrine and its supremacist goals which haven’t changed since the 7th Century. The doctrine hasn’t changed and the actions based on them are consistent throughout history. These actions used to be confined more or less to the areas of the Middle East Westerners are most familiar with. But in the past 30 years or so, they’ve broken out into the Western word, and are threatening Western civilization and the individuals who comprise it unlike anything else currently operational on this planet. This is no small thing, and comparing it to other religions or past political systems or saying, “Well everyone has done it”, doesn’t relieve the threat that virtually everyone on the planet faces TODAY, as a result of this ideology. Dismissing it as “business as usual”, only perpetuates ignorance by keeping people from learning the truth about Islam IN PARTICULAR at THIS moment in time.

          • Bob Beer

            There have been empires in the Muslim world, as well as in the Christian world. So when Christians make empires it doesn’t count? And out of the Muslim countries existing today, how many are trying to expand today? Christians have been the largest invading force in the past several centuries. Who was it that carved up the Ottoman Empire and colonized it? Who was it that took Mexico, Central and South America and forced Catholicism on the local people – all the while justifying their slaughter by virtue of the fact that they didn’t have souls? Who was it who believed God was clearing away the troublesome natives so that they could take the land? It was Christians, my friend. And as they converted these people and disenfranchised them, they convinced themselves that they were saving their souls.

            The last large Muslim empire was the Ottoman Empire. As empires went, it was much more tolerant of religious difference than many Christian empires. I’m not saying it was all love and rainbows, but until the advent of nation states and colonialism, enormous Christian communities thrived there (yes, they paid a tax, but they also did not serve in the military). The real problems those communities faced in 1915, 1922, 1955 and 1964 were, from the Turkish standpoint, responses to separatism and outright invasion from outside. (Imagine if the Navajo or Sioux nation declared independence, or Mexico decided to invade to liberate the ethnic Mexicans of the Southwest.)

            I have no problem with your assertion that there are definitely expansionist forces in Islam. My objection is that you seem to think we’re so different. Perhaps because most of it is not in living memory we discount it, or because the fate of Native Americans is such a small part of our greater national mythology, we don’t really think about it much. But we’re literally living on the ruins of their lands.

            Because we’re human beings, and it’s what we do. We also have the capacity to consider our actions and face them, but as they say, history is written by the winners, and they tend to discount the losers.

          • LouRich

            Good gracious. You’re making my point for me. Honestly, I don’t even know what you’re trying to argue, except that two wrongs make a right. I said Islamic supremacy threatens the planet, and it’s dangerous and delusional not to recognize that. Everything you’ve described in your narratives only strengthens my case. Let me say it again. Not knowing or believing in Islamic supremacist doctrine because one chooses to think of all religions as equally good or equally bad, is delusional and dangerous. In 2016, Islam is an existential threat to the planet. In 1602, Christianity was, according to you. Do we want what happened to the Aztecs to happen to us? I think not. We need to recognize, name, and defeat this ideology and its invading armies.

  • Pastor Carlos

    Could you provide a link to these videos?

  • Greg Swensen

    4500 troops died in Iraq before Obama claimed a victory over 3 years ago. Against all of his advisors advice. Some say to gain favor with voters at the expense of the 4500 troops. Obama deserves the 15% approval rating with the military. Over three years have passed and you can bet Obama knew his failure long ago. Or perhaps this is exactly what he wanted, his madness alludes common sense.

  • James R Holmes

    Islam is not a religion. Islam is a set of instructions devised by “man,” a man, in fact, for selfish reasons and objectives. With that said, let me refer you to an excellent article that is both short and to the point concerning the disease of Islam.

    The New English Review
    Why Islam is Not a Religion
    by Rebecca Bynum (Nov. 2011)
    Speech delivered October 18th to ACT! for America Chapter
    Memphis, Tennessee


Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency. She is based in Israel and publishes in a variety of media outlets throughout the world. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media." Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University and a BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.