The crisis in Egypt has re-ignited the debate of whether moderate Islam is a reality or just a show. Political and religious dissatisfaction, especially in the Third World, demonstrate the need for a new leadership philosophy. In an NBC interview shortly after Faisal Shahzad's 2010 arrest, I was asked, "Do you think more moderate Muslims need to stand up against radical Islam?" "Absolutely!" I replied. In response I received--well what exactly is a moderate Muslim? In the absence of a unified voice from the Muslim world and with time running out, it seems few have a clear idea. However, for well over a century the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has practically defined, through the Quran and Prophet Muhammad's life, what it means to be a moderate Muslim.
First, a moderate Muslim recognizes that Islam requires complete separation of mosque and state. The Quran does not endorse any particular government philosophy, but instead requires that justice, not religion, be the determinative factor when governing (4:59). Extremists, like the Wahabbis, ignorantly preach that Islam requires the imposition of Shariah on non-Muslims. But, since the Quran categorically forbids all religious compulsion (2:257), such an imposition find no Islamic justification.