RELIGION BUILDING - article collection - updated 3/11/11


compiled by Sheila Musaji

This is a new term used to describe the neo-cons ongoing attempt to define moderation,  identify Muslim moderatesӔ who fit their definition, and then use them in a religion building effort.  The term appears to have been coined by Jim Lobe in his article “Neocons Seek Islamic Reform”.

As I pointed out in a 2003 article on Daniel Pipes and religion building this religion building is a real concern:

The American Muslim community is in the middle of an internal community dialogue on a number of issues about terms used to define our identity about secularism and modernity,  and about democracy, political order and the separation of church and state.

Our civil rights (as well as the civil rights of all Americans) have been eroded by the Patriot Act.  An ABC News Poll shows that negative views of Muslims have increased dramatically over the past two years.  Some of our community leaders have let us down.   Muslim minority communities and Muslim majority communities are both facing crises. 

We are often judged because of the actions and words of extremists hiding behind the name of Islam and judged by extremists hiding behind the facade of other religions.  Daniel Pipes even found in the logo of The American Muslim a sign of a Militant Islamic Intentions for the U.S., to which we replied.

And, now, the neo-cons have a new strategy in their War on Islam which is to subvert ignorant and naive Muslims. This strategy was first announced by Paul Wolfowitz a year ago.  Then Front Page began what they said would be a series of articles with “A Troubling Influence” by Frank Gaffney,  followed by “Ford Has A Better Idea: One Nation Under Allah”  by Alyssa Lappen which attacked specific individuals who represent a wide spectrum of ideologies.  Daniel Pipes also published an article “Do You Believe in Modernity?” in which he includes a series of questions to use to test whether a Muslim is a moderate or not. 

A UPI article recently announced that Daniel Pipes and Stephen Schwartz are seeking major funding for their two organizations to speak on behalf of “REFORMED MUSLIMS”.  “Pipes Forming Islamic Institute” .  There we have it, the neo-con agenda discovered and described in Jim Lobe’s excellent article,  “Neocons Seek Islamic Reform” .

As reported in a Muslim Wakeup article “Looking for Good Muslims”by Ahmed Nassef In March, the California-based Rand Corporation released a report entitled   ֓Civil Democratic Islam.  The report, by Rand senior political scientist Cheryl Benard, surveys Muslim trends and movements around the world and in the West and attempts to present a strategy for US and European policymakers on how to best deal with Islam in the post-9/11 climate.

This article in Muslim Wakeup prompted a response from Daniel Pipes called “Fixing Islam” to which Muslim Wakeup responded with “Pipes Misses the Point Again” and with the satirical “MWU Starts New Jewish Organization: Moderate Jews Invited”.  Shock and Awe also weighed in with “Identifying Christian ModeratesJaved Akhter also weighed in as did Abid Ullah Jan.

There are a number of articles listed here from Naseeb Vibes and Muslim Wakeup, and those sites no longer exist.  I have left them here until I have time to attempt to find the articles on other sites.

A Battle Plan Against Radical Islam

America’s New Civilizing Mission, M. Shahid Alam

Be Muslim, But Only in Moderation Be Muslim, But Only in Moderation, Yasmin Mogahed

Blaming Islam:  Examining the Religion Building Enterprise, Louay Safi

Bridging the Dangerous Gap Between the West and the Muslim World, Paul Wolfowitz 

- Center on Islamic Pluralism
- Islamic Progress Institute
- Neocons Seek Islamic Reformation, Jim Lobe
- Pipes Forming Islamic Institute

Changing Islam?, Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Civil Democratic Islam (Rand Study), Cheryl Benard

Crisis in Islam, Fred Hutchinson

Culture Wars: Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, Zaynab Ali

Daniel Pipes, the New Voice of Moderate Islam?, Sheila Musaji

Demonizing Moderate Muslims, Hassan Zillur Rahim

Destroying and Rebuilding Islam in the Image of the West, Yusuf Progler

Do You Believe in Modernity, Daniel Pipes 

Eradication, Not Reformation, Ali Sina

Fixing Islam, Daniel Pipes 

France Seeks to Foster Modern, Western Oriented Islam

From Nation Building to Religion Building, Jim Lobe

Hearts, Minds, and Dollars (In an Unseen Front in the War on Terrorism, America is Spending Millions…To Change the Very Face of Islam),  David E. Kaplan

Helping the Enemy of My Enemy

How To Deal With Islam and Muslims 

How Rocket Scientists Got Into the Hearts and Minds Game

Identifying Muslim Moderates, Daniel Pipes

Identifying Christian Moderates

Islam, Reform and the Stakeholders:  Toward a Common-Ground Seeking Approach, Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq

Islamic Progress Institute

Zuhdi Jasser and AIFD - Identified by Rep. King as the Ideal American Muslim Leadership, Sheila Musaji

Leaking Pipes: Daniel Misses the Point Again

Looking for Good Muslims, Ahmed Nassef 

Mission: Reforming Islam, Abid ullah Jan

MWU Starts New Jewish Organization: Moderate Jews Invited

Myopic Builders and Elusive Moderates, Louay Safi

Myth of Moderation, Abid Ulla Jan

Neocons Seek Islamic Reform, Jim Lobe

No Need to Rebuild Islam - Understand It, Siraj Mufti

On Dissent and Reform, Fayyazi Sarwan

Pipes Forming Islamic Institute, Anwar Iqbal 

Progressive Muslims Call for Abandoning Religion in Order to Survive, Robert D. Crane

- Rand Corporations Ungracious Strategy, Javed Akhter
- Rand Corp.
- New Rand study suggests exploiting Sunni, Shiite and Arab, non-Arab divides to promote the US policy objectives in the Muslim world, By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
- Neo-Orientalists of the Rand Corporation, Abdus Sattar Ghazali
- New Rand Report Urges Cold War Tactics for Muslims  3/28/07

Reform According to Islam

The Reform Islam Needs, James Wilson

Reformation From Without

Reforming Islam (blog) 

Reforming Islam, Or Reforming Muslims, M. El Masry

Reforming Islam Is As Necessary as Reforming Iraq, Daniel Pipes

Reforming Islam, A Tortuous Path 

Religion Building, U.S. Policy Towards Islam, Ibrahim abu ishaq

Secular Muslims Conference - Reforming Islam, pro and con  - The Great Pretenders of the Secular Islam Conference  - The Intelligence Summit and theSecular Islam Summit are affiliated  - Conference draws criticism  - The secular Islam summit, Svend White  - Secular Islam Summit, Ali Eteraz  - Secular Islam Summit, Mike Ghouse  - Secular Islam Summit, CAIR‘This%20is%20not%20a%20mainstream%20conference

Should Muslim Americans Be Afraid?, Sheila Musaji

Splitting Islam, James Kurth

U.S. From Nation Building to Religion Building, Jim Lobe 

What Muslims Need is Political, Not Religious Reform, Amir Taheri


RESOURCES (collections of articles and references)

Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism
- Part I Fatwas
- Part II Statements by Organizations
- Part III Statements and Articles by Individuals
- Part IV A Few Quotes
- Part V The Muslim Majority Who Don’t Get Publicity
- Selective Hearing of Muslim Voices Against Extremism
- Sunni Shia Resource - collection of articles

- Polls, statistics, and surveys relating to Islam and Muslims - updated 3/18/07
- Resources for Responses to Islamophobia and Allegations Against Islam and Muslims - updated 3/10/07
- Claim That All Terrorists are Muslims Ignores History - updated 3/25/07
- Alarming Statements 1 - 2000 and before
- Alarming Statements 2 - 2001-2005
- Alarming Statements 3 - 2006-2007 - updated 3/23/07
- Prejudice, Racist, or Violent Incidents at MOSQUES - updated 3/22/07
- Incidents, hate crimes
- MEDIA, Propoganda & Perception - updated 2/15/07
- Cleared, falsely accused, not guilty, innocent - updated 3/23/07

- American Muslim Community - Authority, Leadership, Community building
- America’s Image (How Others See Us)
- Art, Architecture, Muslic, Calligraphy, Poetry
- Civil Rights and the Patriot Act
- Clash/Dialogue of Civilizations - Orientalism
- Democracy and Political Order
- Debates
- Double Standards, Corruption, and Secrecy - updated 3/24/07
- Educating About Islam 
- Environment and Ecology in Islam
- Evangelizing Muslims and Jews, the New Crusade
- Freedom of Thought, IJTIHAD, Interpretation, IJMA, Islamization of Knowledge
- Globalization
- Gender Issues
- Greater Middle East Initiative
- Hirabah - Jihad - Terrorism - Violence - Just War - Crusades
- Humor and Satire
- In Memorium
- Iraq War
- Islam in America
- Interfaith Dialogue Issues
- Justice (Social & Economic) and Human Rights
- LABELS -Moderate-Liberal-Secular-Progressive-Fundamentalist-Militant-Reconstructionist-Wahabi-Salafi
- Minorities, Multiculturalism, Pluralism, Diversity, MUSLIM MINORITY COMMUNITIES
- Neo-Cons, Right Wing
- Oil and Politics - updated 3/24/07
- Palestine and Israel
- Qur’an and Hadith
- Resources for New Muslims - NEW 3/23/07
- Rumors, Conspiracy Theories, Urban Legends, Hoaxes
- Religion Building  updated 3/28/07
- Religious Extremism, Religious Right
- Refugees
- Religious Heroism, the Real Jihad
- Separation of Church and State
- Secularism - Modernity - Nationalism
- Shariah, Fiqh, Islamic Law
- Spirituality - Spiritual Worldview - Philosophy - Sufism
- War on Terror

First posted 1/2003