Times Online – What is a ‘moderate’ Muslim? by Irshad Manji<br/> As the Pope visits Turkey, Irshad Manji says this is a good moment to re-enter the debate raised by his comments on Islam and violence

The emails I received in response proved that Muslims know how to exercise freedom of expression as vigorously as the Pope does. Consider, for example, this message from Imran, a self-described “moderate Muslim” and American citizen who works for the US government:

“You said that how Muslims are reacting to the Pope is like reducing the Quran to its most bloodthirsty passages. There is no such thing, Missy… You are looking for cheap publicity for your book and bashing Islam is the easiest way to get it nowadays. It used to be sleeping with the publisher, but for that you require looks. One more thing, if you are a Jew, you should not be ashamed of it.”

I hope “works for the US government” means he cuts the grass in The Mall or something. I’ll skip the letter from Sonya.

Imran and Sonya are more representative than I wish. All Muslims are taught that because the Quran comes after the Torah and the Bible, we must regard it as the final and perfect manifesto of the Divine. It is, we’re told, free of ambiguities, contradictions and human editing; in other words, free of the corruption that contaminates Jewish and Christian scriptures.

Thus the central conundrum for us Muslims. If it’s an article of our faith that the Quran is the unfiltered declaration of God, then what makes moderate Muslims “moderate”?

Perhaps it’s that they won’t murder to assert their convictions. But is this enough, given that moderates such as Sonya tolerate the murderers? And, as Imran demonstrates, those of us who dare to imply that the Quran can be questioned are not real Muslims. We are Jews.

Fortunately, more and more Muslims are proclaiming that it’s time for a liberal Islamic reformation. … It’s revealing that neither group calls itself the “Moderate Muslims”. Their members considered doing so. But in the end, they couldn’t agree on what “moderate” means. Maybe that’s because it means too little.