"Moderation and Extremism exist in all religious convictions and beliefs including Islam with all its sects. The extent of Islamic extremism varies from time to time and from one place to another. Until a few decades ago the Arabs were largely moderate Muslims, but this picture has changed dramatically in the last ten or fifteen years as extremism started to rule. This change is the fruit of the political shift of power that took place in the Middle East in the 1970s which brought Saudi Arabia, with its oil wealth and wahhabi commitment, to the leadership of the Arab world instead of Egypt (1).
The pattern of spread of Islamic extremism has been that it affects mainly the younger generation. However, the older generation has not been spared, and it is striking that even secular Arabs sometimes move towards Islamic extremism, after spending decades of their lives as non-practicing Muslims. It is noteworthy that this shift between moderation and extremism is a one-way traffic; moderates can become extremists but extremists do not become moderates. This observation becomes even more significant when we remember that extremists may occasionally leave Islam altogether, but they never move back to moderation. From these observations we may conclude that moderation in Islam is only a temporary phase towards extremism, which is the ultimate stage of true Islam, the Islam preached, practiced and enforced by Mohammed.
Submitting to Islam is like contracting a virus; some people go through the full blown disease while others, called carriers, harbour the virus without showing any signs of the illness.
Some people who submit to Islam become fully practicing Muslims, the west calls them extremists, while others may go for years without practicing any of its rituals although they still believe that Islam is divine. Just like the virus carriers, this group of believers live normal modern lives and look civilized. In the Islamic circles, they are called ‘Muslims by name’ because they are not keen on the Islamic rituals and hardly ever read the Quran or other Islamic books. Indeed their knowledge about Islam is very shallow, which explains why they are moderates. We may surmise that a moderate Muslim is really an ignorant Muslim, who knows little about Islam. In this sense, there is little difference between a moderate Muslim and a non-Muslim, which is why the true Muslims, termed ‘extremists’ in the western society, often target these moderate Muslims for annihilation. ">>>Continue reading here at Australian Islamist Monitor