The crisis in Egypt has re-ignited the debate of whether moderate Islam is a reality or just a show. Political and religious dissatisfaction, especially in the Third World, demonstrate the need for a new leadership philosophy. In an NBC interview shortly after Faisal Shahzad's 2010 arrest, I was asked, "Do you think more moderate Muslims need to stand up against radical Islam?" "Absolutely!" I replied. In response, I was asked: Well, what exactly is a moderate Muslim? In the absence of a unified voice from the Muslim world and with time running out, it seems few have a clear idea. However, for well over a century the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has practically defined, through the Quran and Prophet Muhammad's life, what it means to be a moderate Muslim.
First, a moderate Muslim recognizes that Islam requires complete separation of mosque and state. The Quran does not endorse any particular government philosophy, but instead requires that justice, not religion, be the determinative factor when governing (4:59). Extremists, like the Wahabbis, ignorantly preach that Islam requires the imposition of sharia on non-Muslims. But since the Quran categorically forbids all religious compulsion (2:257), such an imposition find no Islamic justification. Contrary to Faisal Shahzad's ambitions, the Quran requires a Muslim to obey and be loyal to those in his charge. Prophet Muhammad added, "You should listen to and obey your ruler, even if you [despise him]." While national loyalty does not forbid dissent, that dissent must be expressed legally and peacefully -- never violently. Critics like Robert Spencer claim Islam allows Muslims to engage in taqiyya, treachery against non-Muslims. However, the Quran unequivocally forbids lying or hiding the truth and Prophet Muhammad instructed, "It is obligatory for you to tell the truth."
A moderate Muslim recognizes that Islam does not monopolize salvation. Rather than condemn non-Muslims to eternal hell, the Quran declares that God's prevailing mercy offers salvation to all Jews, Christians and people of other paths who believe in God and do good works (2:63).
For more: Qasim Rashid: Will the Real Moderate Muslims Please Stand Up?