Religious moderates just provide cover for fanatics, says NSS president

Terry Sanderson (2)“There’s an argument in religious circles that goes: in order to undermine the fanatics we have to encourage the liberal elements of religion. If you want to stop suicide bombers, you have to encourage the more moderate voices in Islam to speak up…. It’s a seductive argument and I used to subscribe to it myself. But I’ve changed my mind….

“Just as the terrorists of the Middle East will hide out in schools and hospitals to avoid being targeted by enemy bombs, so the ideological terrorists hide behind the liberals and the good-natured in order to spread their doctrine of intimidation and terror….

“The liberals pave the way, open the doors and give succour to the very people they say bring their faith into disrepute. But it’s no good the liberals trying to dissociate themselves from their wilder compatriots in faith. They promote and praise the same holy books that the fanatics use as justification for their murderous activities.”

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society at Comment is Free, 20 March 2007

Or, as Sanderson’s friend George Broadhead of GALHA has put it: “What does a moderate Muslim do, other than excuse the real nutters by adhering to this barmy doctrine?