How often have you heard politicians say that the majority of Muslims in the West are hard-working, law-abiding moderates? How often have you heard them say that moderate Muslims are the answer to the problem of Islamic extremism?
These platitudes are supposed to reassure us. Here are ten reasons why they don't.
1. Moderate Muslims have a worrying capacity to produce terrorist offspring
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the notorious 'underpants bomber', comes from a wealthy Nigerian family. His father, Umaru Mutallab is (according to The Guardian) "one of the country's most respected businessmen".
Omar Hammami left his home in Alabama, USA, to become a leader of the Islamist terror organisation al Shabaab. His father, a retired civil engineer, said, "I tried my best, and so did my wife, to raise him the best we could."
2. Muslim moderates are terrified of Muslim extremists
The implicit, ever-present threat of ostracism or violence keeps quiet Muslims in line, which means that the radicals usually get their way. As John Hawkins notes: "Imagine how ... terrifying it must be to condemn Jihadists when you may semi-regularly run into people who think that way in your neighborhood or mosque."
3. Moderates can turn into extremists
Even Muslims who appear at ease in western society can flip.
In the 1980's Andy Choudary was a party animal who lived for sex and booze. He turned into Anjem Choudary, rabble-rousing hate preacher and co-founder of poppy-burning Islamist group al Muhajiroun.
Anjem Choudary, before and after
As a teenager in Leeds, Mohammad Sidique Khan was to all appearances fully westernised, even to the extent of calling himself 'Sid'. In July 2005, 30-year-old Sid took a rucksack full of explosives to London and detonated it on a Tube train, killing 7 innocent people.
Sid's fellow 7/7 terrorist Shehzad Tanweer was described by neighbours as a "nice lad" who could "get on with anyone". He murdered 7 others.
4. Moderate Muslims slaughter conscious animals
There are some practices in the Islamic world acceptable to Muslim moderates but abhorrent to most westerners. These practices include ritual halal slaughter (regarded as wholesome family entertainment in some Muslim communities).
Think twice before ordering that kebab - you could be funding terrorism
5. Moderates aren't actually all that moderate
Still on the subject of animals, here's respected UK journalist Mehdi Hasan talking about non-believers as "cattle":
"The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as 'a people of no intelligence', Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief, people of 'no intelligence', because they're incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as 'cattle', as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world."
Bovinophobe Mehdi Hasan
Inayet Bunglawala is media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, appointee to a government anti-extremism taskforce and, like Mehdi Hasan, a darling of the liberal media. In 1993 he described Omar Abdel-Rahman, mastermind of that year's World Trade Center bombing as "courageous". He has also called Osama bin Laden a "freedom fighter".
Such attitudes are by no means rare amongst 'moderate' Muslims. In a 2007 Pew Research study of Muslim nations around the world, 38% responded that suicide bombings and other violence against civilians are sometimes justified. And a Daily Telegraph survey found that 6% of British Muslims supported the London 7/7 bombings. (Source: Wikipedia.)
London 7/7 bombings - supported by 100,000 UK Muslims
6. There's no way of knowing if a Muslim really is moderate
Islamic fanatics are well-versed in the arts of taqiyya and kitman, lying and deceiving in the cause of Islam, as practised by the Prophet himself. It is part of any extremist's modus operandi to convince enemy dupes that he's harmless.
7. When is a fanatic not a fanatic? When he's on the government payroll
The Quilliam Foundation is an anti-extremism organisation which proposes such remedies as rehab centres for would-be bombers and recovering Islamists. Quilliam's founders know all about Islamism: Maajid Nawaz is a convicted former recruiting officer for Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamist organisation that wants to end democracy, establish a global caliphate and destroy the state of Israel.
Mr Nawaz is a reformed character now, which of course has nothing to do with his reported £85,000 a year salary as Quilliam's Executive Director. Nice work if you can get it.
Laughing all the way to the Islamic bank: recovering Islamist Maajid Nawaz
Many have argued that the government's Prevent strategy (also intended to combat radicalism) is little more than a publicly funded extortion racket. In 2011 Home Secretary Theresa May admitted that some of the £63million annual anti-extremism budget had been handed over to extremist organisations.
"Give me the money and I'll behave â€“ at least for now", seems to be the unspoken threat of every 'reformed' extremist or terrorist sympathiser seeking a lucrative alternative to the dole.
8. Many moderates support sharia law
Sharia, as you may know, is a primitive system of injustice that operates in many Islamic countries and discriminates against women, homosexuals and non-Muslims. If ever imposed here, sharia law would condemn your (Christian, Jewish, Sikh, etc.) grandchildren to permanent second-class status and make their lives very unpleasant, to say the least.
A poll in 2006 found that 40% of UK Muslims want Sharia in Britain. A 2010 survey of British Muslim students echoed that result (and almost one-third of them thought that killing in the name of Islam was justified).
Many UK Muslims want sharia
9. Islam has a different understanding of 'moderacy' than we do
Many Muslims would regard stoning a woman for adultery or flogging gay men as moderate, even compassionate actions. Which in a way they are, when you consider the punishments favoured in some parts of the Islamic world.
Gay rights under fundamentalist Islam in Iran
10. Even moderate Muslims like to proselytise
More moderate Muslims equals more mosques equals more Islamisation equals more Islamic enclaves equals fewer places in Britain where non-Muslims can feel at home.
The growth of proselytising Islam in Britain also means more conversions of non-Muslims to Islam, people like Samantha Lewthwaite, terrorist plotter Richard Dart and Lee Rigby's murderer Michael Adebolajo.
Extremist-next-door Samantha Lewthwaite, the 'White Widow'