by Silas


How do you distinguish a moderate Muslim from a terrorist or militant Muslim? A number of articles have been written by Muslims and non-Muslims alike that provide criteria to differentiate between the two. Some of these touch on rights for non-Muslims, institution of Islamic law above national law, and political viewpoints. But one criterion common to all focuses on the Muslim’s attitude toward the use of aggressive violence.

Some Muslims object to the classification of "Moderate or Militant" because historically Muslims have never been identified this way. They argue that this definition is merely a Western construct used to classify Muslims based upon their politics or sympathies. There is some merit in their objection; but they are missing the bigger picture behind this classification.

People want to know whom they can and cannot trust. They want to know "Who may be planting bombs in the near future?", "Will our children be safe?" Many "nice guy" British Muslims have revealed their true sympathies and murdered women and children in Islam’s name. Like wolves in sheep’s clothing these Muslim terrorists appeared to be decent British citizens, but when the situation was ripe, they killed the unsuspecting and defenseless.

Therefore this "moderate" vs. "militant" construct is quite appropriate. It is a matter of life or death. Normally, people want to know if you’re inclined to murder them. Muslims who object to this examination, like Waleed Aly, are supporting Islamic terrorism explicitly or implicitly, because they seek to veil people’s ability to identify Muslims who are disposed to terrorism.

Therefore, for this "Islam Test", I’m going to list some of these "moderate vs. militant" criteria as a foundation or starting point. Then I’m going to present a list of quotations or actions that have involved various Muslims and ask your opinion if the involved Muslim is a "Moderate" or "Militant". It’s simple enough. It’s not going to be tricky or sly. Moderate Muslim references will be represented by Muslims like Tashbih Sayyed, and the Militant Muslim references will be represented by Muslims like Osama bin Laden.

I am deliberately excluding questions related to British or American foreign policy, (the Iraq war for example), because I believe people can be "moderate" and peaceful, and still disagree with or even oppose their government’s foreign policies. Also, I am not including questions related to religious customs such as prohibiting the eating of pork, praying in a certain direction, or wearing certain clothes. I am using questions focused on the use of aggressive violence, human dignity, and the subjection of non-Muslims.




Below are three simple criteria. I synthesized them from the various articles I’ve reviewed. I think they are fair and straightforward.


1) Do you condone or condemn Muslims who murder civilians to advance Islam’s cause?

It is believed that a "moderate" Muslim condemns the murder of civilians.

2) Should all non-Muslims, including Christians, Jews, Pagans, and atheists, enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims?

It is believed that a "moderate" Muslim approves of equal civil rights and justice for all.

3) Do you believe in or promote violent jihad for anything considered offensive to Muslims?

It is believed that a "moderate" Muslim would not call for violence for a mere verbal insult, such as the Muslims who called for the Pope’s death when they mistakenly felt that he insulted Islam.




Below are 25 statements, or descriptions of actions, made by Muslims. Some involve very famous Muslims, others less so. Use your best judgment and decide if the involved Muslim was a "moderate" or "militant".

Please note: in some cases I have edited and modified the quotes to make them less obvious as to whom they belong. However, with the answers (given at the end of the article), references and contexts will be provided and you can judge if I’ve been fair.

I encourage you to go through the entire test before scrolling down to specific answers. Following the questions and answers is a short commentary.





TOPIC 1) Proclamations or actions that kill civilians.

1a) "The killing of innocent people out of revenge, out of hate or out of retribution is against the absolute laws of Islam. Suicide is against the absolute laws of Islam. People can justify their actions all day long, but we as Muslims are here to say clearly their actions are against everything we believe."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1b) "We should fully understand our religion. Fighting is a part of our religion and our Sharia [the Islamic legal code]. Those who love God and his Prophet and this religion cannot deny that. Whoever denies even a minor tenet of our religion commits the gravest sin in Islam."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1c) "Go, find and kill those slave women because they made fun of Muhammad."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1d) "It's all how you look at it, Islam can be peaceful and private, or dominating and subduing. It's a mixed bag. There's always a conflict as to what the Koran says."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1e) The Muslims took an 80 year old woman as prisoner and then ripped her in half using camels.

Was this action committed by Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1f) The Muslims tortured a man with fire to make him tell where the money was. He didn’t talk, so they beheaded him.

Was this action committed by Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1g) "We have to get our voices heard because our voices are being drowned out by the extremists. Extremism, militancy and violence all in the name of Islam are gross betrayals of the Islamic tradition."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


1h) "The task is to make war on people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle. That they face Mecca when they pray, eat the appropriate food, and pray like us. When they do that their lives and property will be safe."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?



TOPIC 2) Promotions of violent physical warfare, i.e. jihad.

2a) "Islam has a much stronger sense of its own superiority than other religions. We do not have enough food to eat, yet we feel we are the chosen people, part of the greatest nation on earth. The local clergy lives on this pride, keeps their people living in fantasy and tells them 'Just do jihad, jihad, jihad.'"

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


2b) "The man who fights for Islam’s domination fights for God’s cause."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


2c) "Oh, you Muslims everywhere, sever the ties of their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, instigate against their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their airplanes. Kill them in land, at sea, and in the air, kill them wherever you find them."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


2d) "I don't understand why so many Muslims are in denial about terrorism, they don't see that if your computer catches a virus, you can throw it away, but you can't throw out a religion. The extremists will corrupt Islam, and it won't recover."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


2e) "I’ll give you my best advice, force Islam on people until they accept it willingly, or by force.

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?



TOPIC 3) How do you view Christians and Jews?

3a) "The Christians teach that Jesus is the son of God. They made that up and they imitate the old infidels. May God Himself curse, attack, and destroy them! How deluded and perverse are the Jews and Christians!"

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3b) "Muslims, also do not refer to followers of other religions, especially Jews and Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists, as unbelievers. The Koran never refers to Jews and Christians as unbelievers, but as People of the Book, worthy of respect and protection. Moderate Muslims adhere strictly to this outlook."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3c) "Some Jews angered Allah and He cursed them and brought his wrath upon them. Allah turned them into monkeys, pigs, rats, and maybe lizards also. And, some disobedient Muslims will also be turned into monkeys and pigs."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3d) "We are going to make war on the Christians until they convert to Islam or in humiliation pay us protection money."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3e) "I was told to kill Jews. If I was told to kill my own brother, I would kill him."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3f) "This is what you Christians are going to do: convert to Islam, pay us protection money, or we’ll kill you, and enslave your women and children.

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3g) When God judges the Muslims he will forgive their sins but substitute a Christian or Jew in their place in hell.

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


3h) "As a journalist, I counteracted the biased 'news' that promoted hatred of Israel and Jews, condemned terrorism, promoted the free exchange of ideas and urged Bangladesh to recognize Israel."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?



TOPIC 4) How do you view atheists and Pagans?

4a) "This pagan woman criticized Muhammad, I want her killed."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


4b) "We are breaking some truces, and going to let others expire. Then after a time we are going to attack all the pagan unbelievers."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


4c) Moderate Muslims aspire for a society – a city of virtue -- that will treat all people with dignity and respect. There will be no room for political or normative intimidation. They believe that the internalization of the message of Islam can bring about the social transformation necessary for the establishment of the virtuous city.

Today, the relationship between Islam and the rest is getting increasingly worse. Muslim militants are sowing seeds of poison and hatred between Muslims and the rest of humanity by committing egregious acts of violence in the name of Islam.

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?


4d) "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word "mujahada", signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self, (nafs), which is why the Prophet said as he was returning from jihad.

The Caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax Jizya.

The Caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim."

Was this said by a Moderate____ or Militant____ ?




Ok, check your answers. If you wish, spend some time reading through the contextual references to be certain that I am not quoting anything out of context, twisting a situation, or lying.




1a) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Zuhdi Jasser,

1b) Answer: Militant.

Reference: Said by Osama bin Laden,

1c) Answer: Muhammad.

Reference: Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 2, page 168. After Muhammad conquered Mecca he ordered the deaths of 10 civilians, including these three slave girls. For more details see the article, "The Meccan 10":

1d) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Hasan Mahmud,

1e) Answer: Muhammad’s Muslims.

Muslims attacked and defeated an Arab tribe. They took the leader, and old Arab woman prisoner, then tied her to camels and ripped her in half. One account is from Guillaume, "The Life of Muhammad," page 665. For more details see the article, "Muhammad, Islam, and Terrorism":

1f) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad and the Muslims attacked a Jewish town and took one of its leaders prisoner. They demanded he tell them were an alleged treasure was hidden. He said he didn’t know so Muhammad ordered that he be tortured until he talked. They staked him to the ground and build a fire on chest. When he was near death, Muhammad ordered that he be beheaded. One account is from Guillaume, "The Life of Muhammad," page 515. For more details see the article,

1g) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Asma Afsaruddin, a professor in the classics department at Notre Dame,,2933,131580,00.html

1h) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad was stating his purpose and mission in life. References are found in the Sunan of Abu Dawud, Book 14, # 2635, and the Hadith of Bukhari, volume 1, #387.

Book 14, Number 2635:

Narrated Anas ibn Malik:

The Prophet said: I am commanded to fight with men till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, face our qiblah (direction of prayer), eat what we slaughter, and pray like us. When they do that, their life and property are unlawful for us except what is due to them. They will have the same rights as the Muslims have, and have the same responsibilities as the Muslims have.

2a) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Hasan Mahmud,

2b) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad was teaching one of his followers about the best purpose of jihad.

Reference Bukhari’s Hadith, volume 4 #355:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ashari:

A bedouin asked the Prophet, "A man may fight for the sake of booty, and another may fight so that he may be mentioned by the people, and a third may fight to show his position (i.e. bravery); which of these regarded as fighting in Allah's Cause?" The Prophet said, "He who fights so that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights for Allah's Cause."

2c) Answer: Militant.

Reference: Said by Sheikh Abdel Rahman, the man who led the first attack on the World Trade Center, spoke this from a US prison,

2d) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Senad Agic,

2e) Answer: Muhammad’s Muslim.

This was spoken by Muhammad’s best friend, Abu Bakr. He was the 1st ruler of the Islamic world after Muhammad’s death. In this reference he is giving his best advice to a young Muslim. This account is from Guillaume, "The Life of Muhammad," pages 668 and 669.


3a) Answer: Muhammad

Muhammad spoke this as the Quran: 9:30.

And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! Shakir 9:30

3b) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Stephen Schwartz, (a moderate Muslim) in an article found here:

3c) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad spoke these words. References are: the Quran, 5:60, Bukhari’s Hadith volume 4, #524, and Muslim’s Hadith, #4800

5:60: Say: Shall I inform you of (him who is) worse than this in retribution from Allah? (Worse is he) whom Allah has cursed and brought His wrath upon, and of whom He made apes and swine, and he who served the Shaitan; these are worse in place and more erring from the straight path. Shakir.

4.524: Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "A group of Israelites were lost. Nobody knows what they did. But I do not see them except that they were cursed and changed into rats, for if you put the milk of a she-camel in front of a rat, it will not drink it, but if the milk of a sheep is put in front of it, it will drink it." I told this to Ka'b who asked me, "Did you hear it from the Prophet ?" I said, "Yes." Ka'b asked me the same question several times.; I said to Ka'b. "Do I read the Torah? (i.e. I tell you this from the Prophet.)"

Number 4800: Abu Sa'id reported that an Arab of the desert came to Allah's Messenger and said: I live in a low land abounding in lizards, and these are the common diet of my family, but he (the Holy Prophet) did not make any reply. We said to him: Repeat it (your problem) and so he repeated it, but he did not make any reply. (It was repeated thrice ) Then Allah's Messenger called him out at the third time saying: O man of the desert, verily Allah cursed or showed wrath to a tribe of Bani Isra'il and distorted them to beasts which move on the earth. I do not know, perhaps this (lizard) may be one of them. So I do not eat it, nor do I prohibit the eating of it.

3d) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad spoke this as the Quran: 9:29.

Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. Shakir 9:29

3e) Answer: Muhammad’s Muslim.

Muhammad had an issue with some Jews and commanded his men to kill any Jew they could. One of his men murdered a Jewish shopkeeper with whom he was friends. His brother challenged him about the cold blooded murder and he said that if Muhammad told him to kill his brother, he would. The account can be found in Guillaume, "The Life of Muhammad," page 369.

3f) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad was with his army near a small Christian town. He sent his adopted son Zeid and other emissaries to the town with a message for its leaders. The message is below:

"To John ibn Rabah and the Chiefs of Aylah. Peace be on you! I praise God for you, beside whom there is no Lord. I will not fight against you until I have written thus unto you. Believe, or else pay tribute. And be obedient unto the Lord and his Prophet, and the messengers of his Prophet. Honor them and clothe them with excellent vestments, not with inferior raiment. Specially clothe Zeid with excellent garments. As long as my messengers are pleased, so likewise am I. Ye know the tribute. If ye desire to have security by sea and by land, obey the Lord and his Apostle, and he will defend you from every claim, whether by Arab or foreigner, saving the claim of the Lord and his Apostle. But if ye oppose and displease them, I will not accept from you a single thing, until I have fought against you and taken captive your little ones and slain the elder.

This quote is taken from:

3g) Answer: Muhammad.

The reference is from Muslim’s Hadith:

Book 037, Number 6668:

Abu Burda reported Allah's Messenger as saying: There would come people amongst the Muslims on the Day of Resurrection with as heavy sins as a mountain, and Allah would forgive them and He would place in their stead the Jews and the Christians. (As far as I think), Abu Raub said: I do not know as to who is in doubt. Abu Burda said: I narrated it to 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'Aziz, whereupon he said: Was it your father who narrated it to you from Allah's Apostle ? I said: Yes.

3h) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury,


4a) Answer: Muhammad.

Muhammad said this about a women, Asma, who opposed him, criticized him, and encouraged her fellow tribesmen to kill him because Muhammad had begun to murder innocent people who rejected his claim of prophethood. The account can be found in Guillaume, "The Life of Muhammad," page 675. For more details see:

4b) Answer: Muhammad.

This is a paraphrase of the Quran, chapter 9, verses 3-5:

3 And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.

4 Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).

5 So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Shakir 9:3-5

The context of the first part of chapter 9 of the Quran is found in Ibn Ishaq’s "Sirat Rasulallah", (The Life of Muhammad, compiled and translated by A. Guillaume). In it, Muhammad declared that Allah gave him a revelation allowing him to break all treaties either immediately or when they expire, and the to make war upon all non-Muslim tribes, either peaceful or hostile. Chapter 9 1 -6 is not merely a "self-defense" passage, rather it is Muhammad justification to break treaties and make aggressive war upon all non-Muslims.

4c) Answer: Moderate.

Reference: Said by Muqtedar Khan,

4d) Answer: Militant.

This was written by the great Islamic scholar, Imam Nawawi, in his compendium of Islamic law entitled in English as the "Reliance of the Traveler". It is a Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law." The quote is from page 599. Unlike Stephen Schwartz’s rhetoric, this Law Manual was not written with a Western audience in mind, rather it teaches true Islamic values. For more details see this article:




Let me ask you a question: Jesus Christ’s teachings and life best represent real Christianity, so likewise shouldn’t Muhammad’s teachings and life represent real Islam? Muhammad spoke the Quran, he is the focus of the Hadith, and in a Muslim’s eyes is the supreme example to be followed. Doesn’t Muhammad represent real Islam?

Now take a minute and re-examine the quotes or actions that involve Muhammad. I’ve provided many examples, in questions 1c, 1e, 1f, 1h, 2b, 2e, 3a, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g, 4a, 4b.

Compare Muhammad’s words and deeds to the statements of contemporary Muslims, both Moderate and Militant. Who’s statements most closely resemble Muhammad’s --- the Moderate’s or the Militant’s?

If you felt that Muhammad’s quotes were from a Militant Muslim then can’t it be argued that Muhammad was a Militant? If you research Muhammad’s life you will realize that it is the Muslim terrorists, not the Muslim moderates, who are practicing real Islam.




The difficult challenge for the West is to realize, and then admit, that Islam is not just another benign religion, but rather it is a poison in humanity’s soul. We’re too politically correct to tell it like it is and that foolishness has harmed us greatly. The West has no problem describing Nazism for what it is, but we are too weak, and intellectually afraid, to state what we all suspect in our hearts: Islam is a wicked, and imperial religion.

You’ve seen the quotes. Whether you like it or not, sooner or later you will have to admit that Islam is a brutal religion. As Muslims spill more and more blood, and as people begin to study the Islamic texts for themselves, the poison of Islam will become evident. The sooner the West publicly confronts the evil of Islam the better its chances of future strength and success. I rejoice that the West is beginning to wake up but we’ve got a ways to go. Muslims will continue to shed more blood before the West comprehends the evil it has again encountered.




Here are a couple of references I used for questions. A simple search will yield others.



For further thought and reflection on this topic, I recommend a very succinct and direct review on "moderate" Muslims at:

An article on "Moderate" Islam and Muslims:

30 Sept., 2006

Articles by Silas
Islam & Terrorism
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