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Moderate Islam pushes back extremism

Terrorist operations carried out by radical Islamic groups around the world and in the Middle East have had the unintended effect of promoting moderate Islam, particularly in Iran.
A Palestinian police officer loyal to Hamas pushes back Salafists during a protest against satirical French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, outside the French Cultural Centre in Gaza city January 19, 2015. Dozens of Jihadist Salafi men rallied in Gaza on Monday to condemn continued publication by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo of cartoons deemed offensive to Islam's Prophet. Charlie Hebdo published a picture of Mohammad weeping on its cover last week after gunmen s
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The militant activities of the Islamic State (IS) and its counterparts have contributed to the rise of moderate Islam in the Islamic world. The fact is that it is Muslims, of all sects, who have suffered the most at the hands of these groups. A 2012 US National Counterterrorism Center report revealed: “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97% of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.” The violence has created among Muslims a general feeling of solidarity with the non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East and Westerners who fell prey to these groups.

The recent killing of a number of journalists at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices in Paris is no exception. Through their target selection, extremists were betting on the attack winning them wider social support from Muslims, as the target was a sensitive and controversial subject among Muslims. Despite the many Islamic objections to the Charlie Hebdo caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, the result was the opposite: The Muslim world largely responded by denouncing the terrorist act, not the cartoons.

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