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The myth of moderate Muslim: 95% v 5%?

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A series of all too familiar events took place over the last few days and weeks in France. A French teacher Samuel Paty beheaded over showing cartoons of Mohammad Bin Abdullah, the prophet of Islam and butchering of three citizens in a Nice Church.

One would have expected a wave of solidarity with France and it’s citizens from across the globe but what one saw instead was a pushback. What riled the Muslims globally was a speech delivered by Macron, incidentally prior to the beheading of teacher, where he called out “Islamist separatism” while proclaiming it wrong to “stigmatise all Muslims”. 

There have been protests and calls to boycott French products across Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh, Gaza, including India (Mumbai, Bhopal, Aligarh etc.) with likes of Raza Academy, AIMPLB joining in. The leaders of Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia (two time President Mahathir Mohammad) have attacked French President and bogey of ‘Islamophobia’ has been raised. 

TV debates on the above events on Indian TV channels over protests in India had Muslim participants whose responses were broadly on lines. One who blatantly defended the beheading and abused Macron, second who went around the bush and did not condemn the beheading it in a straight forward manner and the third who condemned the beheading. While the first one had no compunctions of proclaiming beheading to be the last resort since their Nabi was insulted (Munawwar Rana, Farhan Zuberi), the other two claimed that Islam had nothing to do with this and that most Muslims are moderate Muslims.

It is this last claim which I seek to examine in this article, that of most Muslims being moderate Muslims and having nothing to do with Islamist terrorism whatsoever.

This argument of majority of Muslims being Moderate Muslims who are concerned with day-to-day needs and are being blamed for what the 1% does has been repeated ad nauseam. However, does this argument really hold any water?

The Pyramid Of Radicalisation:

(Source : )

Islamist terrorism which is blamed on just 1% does not act on a vacuum. A look at the above pyramid would show that the top of the pyramid is populated by terrorists which pick up guns and go around killing. 

However they are supported by a huge ecosystem which supplies money, arms, logistics, recruiters etc. 

The 3rd level includes the supporters who support the ideology of Islamism. They justify the killing or beheadings as under the Shariat.

The pyramid expands towards the bottom and the base of the pyramid is of the huge number of sympathisers. These Muslims may not agree with the violent means employed by Terrorists but they strongly support the larger ideology which is common among most Muslims. This can be seen from 2017 Pew research findings of support among Muslims for Shariah across the globe.


This huge 4th category can be seen routinely which refuse to ever question Islam or allow anyone to question it either. Their only excuse being the context or misinterpretation of Quran, Hadith or Sirat. This can be seen across mainstream media on TV, newspapers or the social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. The opinion among Muslims is amazingly uniform with few exceptions across nations, across sects among Islam, and across these platforms. 

The actions of the 4th category can be seen in terms of support for Shariat in Islamic nations which transmogrifies into accusations of Islamophobia where Muslims are not in a majority, the latter serving the purposes of applying blasphemy law in countries which do not have it in legal books.

The responsibility of Islamist terror and radicalisation does not simply lie with eh tip of the pyramid but the entire pyramid which supports and nurtures it either through ideological support or through logistics. 

Hence, it is not the 1% which is defaming Islam but perhaps the 95% which is defaming the 5% for not falling in line with the rest of Islamic Ummat.

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