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Fouad Ajami on Moderate Islam


Published March 2, 2021

Although some say that there is no moderate form of Islam, Fouad Ajami believed that the battle to wrest Islam away from extremism is not yet lost. While radical Islamists have tried to hijack the faith, some, including Saudi jurists, are beginning to understand that the drift toward radicalism is a menace to Muslims around the world.

Additional Resources:

  • Watch the Uncommon Knowledge podcast episode “The United States and the Middle East,” with Fouad Ajami. Available here.
  • Read “The Saudi Riddle,” an excerpt from Fouad Ajami’s book Crosswinds: The Way of Saudi Arabia. Available here.
  • Read about Crosswinds: The Way of Saudi Arabia, by Fouad Ajami. Available here.
  • Read “‘Crosswinds’ Review: Middle East Balancing Act,” by Martin Peretz via the Wall Street Journal. Available here.
  • Watch “Peter Robinson Remembers Fouad Ajami” on Uncommon Knowledge. Available here.
  • Read “In This Arab Time: The Pursuit of Deliverance,” by Fouad Ajami. Available here.
View Transcript

I was born a Muslim. 

I was born to a Muslim secular Shia family in Lebanon. 

My family were Modernists. 

They interpreted the faith in a moderate way. 

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. 

We know that the radical Islamists are trying to Hijack the faith and weaponize Islam 

There are many Jurists, in the Islamic world who are keen to get Islam back from the radicals. 

There are even Saudi jurists in the heart of Saudi Arabia who understand that the drift toward radicalism is now a menace to the kingdom. 

People who say that there is no moderate Islam trouble me 

I can’t go that far and say there is no moderate Islam. 

because I know that the battle for Islam is not yet lost.