Moderate Muslim Sighted (One)
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The press is ever hopeful that the rare and highly prized creature, the Moderate Muslim, actually exists. Danish resident Omar Marzouk recently outed himself as such, and that was news. The Egyptian-born comedian had regarded last year's London bombings (in which 56 people died) and terrorism generally as fine material for his stand-up routine, but came to see the Cartoon Jihad as unfunny

But when Muslim mobs began torching embassies last month, protesting a Danish newspaper's cartoons about Islam's prophet Muhammad, Marzouk, 32, stopped laughing. He decided, he said, it was "time to stand up."

"Some of my friends say 'why should we? Do people in the West really think that we are all terrorists?' But myself, I can't just sit there and watch anymore." [European Muslims rise up in defense of democratic values, By James Brandon, San Francisco Chronicle, March 8, 2006].

Good for Omar. The problem is that Islamic programming is profoundly effective, and even extensive exposure to western values does not eradicate fundie Muslim thought.

Indeed the self-styled moderates and progressives may have a steep hill to climb. According to a Sunday Telegraph poll taken in Britain last month, 40 percent of Muslims surveyed said they favored the application of Shariah law in heavily Muslim-populated areas of the country. Although 99 percent condemned the July bombings, one-fifth of those surveyed said they sympathized with the feelings and motives of the bombers.

Here in the U.S., we have learned that the Tarheel Jihadist, Mohammed Reza Taheriazar, "spent most of his life in the United States" where he received a college degree. But when he thought that fellow Muslims were being mistreated, he sought to "avenge the deaths of Muslims around the world" by murdering Americans. Fortunately, his SUV rampage on the UNC campus resulted in no deaths, although several were injured.

There is an American arrogance that we do assimilation better than Europe. That idea may be true up to a point, but the real question is whether the hardened ideology of Islam is simply too antithetical to western values to permit genuine acculturation. So the Moderate Muslim is a rara avis even here, and is subject to becoming extinct everywhere due to determined hunting.

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