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Moderate Muslims' quandary about IS

Both Turkey and other Muslim societies need more voices that will take extremism seriously and discredit it with serious arguments.
A Turkish flag, with the Ottoman-era New mosque in the background, flies over a passenger ferry in Istanbul August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: RELIGION TRAVEL) - RTR434PO

Since 9/11, one of the most frequently asked questions in the West has been, “Why don't moderate Muslims speak out against extremists?” This question was, in fact, a bit unfair. Many Muslim opinion-leaders did condemn 9/11 and other crimes of al-Qaeda and its ilk, but they did not receive much coverage in the Western media. But it is also true that the Muslim world's “moderate” majority — those who oppose terrorism in the name of Islam — could have done a better job challenging the extremists.

A similar question is relevant for the so-called Islamic State (IS) — a ruthless group whose violence has even proven too much for al-Qaeda. While many Muslim governments, from Saudi Arabia to Qatar, are now joining forces with the United States to fight against this new threat in Iraq and Syria, it is worth asking again whether there is enough outcry from religious opinion-leaders against IS.

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