“I was born a Muslim. I was born to a Muslim secular family. I was born to a Muslim secular Shia family in Lebanon. My family were modernists. They interpreted the faith in a modern, in a moderate way. None of the women in our family were ever veiled. It was a modern interpretation of Islam. They thought of themselves as good Muslims, and they didn’t want these radical Islamists telling them how to worship and how to practice their own kind of Islam. But people who say that there is no moderate Islam trouble me, because I know that the battle for Islam is not yet lost. And, if I may here be a slight propogandist for this project we are doing at Hoover on Islamism, we’re doing this project called the Herb and Jane Dwight Working Group on Islamism and the International Order. . . .
“We don’t believe that the battle for Islam is lost. We believe it is an open battle. We know that the Islamists, the radical Islamists, are trying to hijack the faith and weaponize Islam, so to speak, to use that term. But I can’t go that far and say there is no moderate Islam. I know for example there are many jurists in the Islamic world who are keen to get Islam back from the radicals. I know there are even Saudi jurists in the heart of Saudi Arabia who now understand that the drift toward radicalism is now a menace to the kingdom.”
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