Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes a distinction between three types of muslims in her book “Infidel.”
Mecca muslims – the majority of muslims, who focus on religious observance, practice non-violence, and who generally follow islam in the way mohammed preached it during his time in Mecca, when his followers’ numbers were small, so he preached peace and tolerance.
“Medina muslims” are the most problematic – the ones who follow the teachings mohammed taught and tactics he utilised when he found himself in a position of dominance at Medina, and went on to conquer most of the Arabian Peninsula in his lifetime. They engage in or support terrorism around the world, and although they are in the minority, surveys of attitudes held by muslims around the world, for example towards the implementation of sharia law, they are a larger minority than our leaders and the media like to acknowledge.
“Modifying muslims” are by far the smallest minority, but by far the most important, for those of us dedicated truly to peace. They are the dissidents, the reformers, the apostates, the muslims who recognise that violence and bigotry is at the core of islam, and that these violent elements need to be reinterpreted, or completely expunged, if islam is to have any hope of living in peace with the rest of the world.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is well known for belonging to this last, important category. Another Egyptian who falls into this category is TV host Ibrahim Issa. In this video, provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI TV,) he points out that the atrocities committed by the Islamic State have theological backing in the koran:
“All the evidence and references that ISIS provides to justify its crimes, its barbarity, and its horrifying, criminal, and despicable violence… All the evidence and references that ISIS provides, claiming that they can be found in the books of history, jurisprudence, and law, are, indeed, to be found there, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.”
Rather than repeating the party line, whenever a terrorist atrocity occurs, that this has nothing to do with islam, our leaders should be putting their support behind the brave people in the islamic world who are prepared to acknowledge islam’s faults. They are islam’s best hope, and they are our best hope.