I can't give you guys info on how things are in the middle east, but I can from Indonesia and the other nearby communities (Malaysia etc), where there is also a large mass of (nearly entirely moderate) Muslims.
gmalivuk wrote:But as others have brought up already (at least in the South Park thread, I don't know if it's been brought up explicitly in this one), by putting so much weight on making sure you never draw Muhammad, by making the depiction of him a deeply taboo action, don't you greatly increase his importance?
Yes. Someone who understands Islam better than me might be able to explain better, but basically Muslims are banned from making depictions of him by law in the Quran. It's this law that was exploited to make it appear it's valid to threaten people who make the drawings via generalization, although it is not.
Ixtellor wrote:I feel like moderate Muslims let the extremists win the war of ideas and need to do a lot more screaming of their own.
I can give some insight on this. I agree with you, this is a problem. There are a few contributing factors.
First, moderate Muslims are often more, well, moderate. They're from developing countries. Especially here in Indonesia (where a huge bulk of Muslims are), people are submissive. If they don't scream about it, they're usually silent about it. They don't agree on it, but they decide to let them be (and let God decide, which is the 'official' protocol if a Muslim is unsure about something). By nature in their individual traditions, they're less outspoken. Some have indeed speaking out, usually in person, like me. It's kind of an intrinsic problem, being in developing countries and having less self-esteem than all the westerners.
Second, there's added fear of extremism from these people. Non-muslims are at threat for making drawings; if we were to go against them as well, they'd get even more agitated and start screaming about us as defects or something. It's happened before, and sometimes ended in violence faster (as the extremists feel that they're kin, but getting in their way, and nobody's backing us up). It's also a lot scarier when the screaming people are at your doorstep, instead of death threats half a world away.
Third, what you're saying does happen, but inwards. There has been increasingly frequent preaches on TV and in mosques to basically take it easy, and not support extremism. I can't blame them either, I really think it's important for now to focus on getting people straight about it. People without proper knowledge on the subject could potentially become extremists, so they're trying to stop that now (along with other stuff like terrorism and misguided "Jihad").
But I do agree with you, the moderates need to speak out more. Hence I am.