Sadly, the violent followers of Islam seem to very easily overwhelm those who are moderate. We can only hope that more and more moderate Muslims are able to make real changes in their religion. The history of such followers is grim, however – many times moderate Muslims have simply been killed by Islamists.
That is why we must aggressively, firmly push back against those who would use force to bully others into submission. Protecting peace and freedom is not a passive activity. If you are passive you will be over-powered, in spite of good intentions or noble values.
Most of us in the West are not against other religions, we might not agree, might even think a religion is silly, but we are willing to let people believe what they choose to believe – however, we do not take kindly to anyone forcing their beliefs on others or mistreating others in any way just because they have different beliefs. Unfortunately, Islam has a long track record of that kind of violence and suppression.
Islam does not have to assimilate, but we will not let it dominate.
Yes, you could point to various examples of “tolerance” in the Muslim world, but that is not the same as treating everyone equally. Even where other religions are “tolerated” by Muslim-majority societies, they are still treated as second-class citizens.
This from a recent witness in Egypt:
“I noticed one placard amidst the demonstrators in Cairo. The young woman’s sign read: “I am Muslim. I am against terrorism. I am against destruction.”
I hope that Egypt’s moderate Muslims can join hands with many Christians there and find an expression of government that allows true freedom of conscience and religion along with necessary fiscal and social reform.”
That is what the world needs from followers of Islam; we need them to stand up for true freedom of conscience and religion. We don’t think it is very likely, and it would take great courage on the part of moderate Muslims, because more moderate Muslims are bound to die from Islamists pushing their “pure” version of Islam, but we can still hope and work for progress, in spite of the challenges.