Saturday, July 20, 2013
I’m writing to applaud the well-stated letters of both Edith Liebrand (Student exchange promotes cultural understanding, July 12) and Robert Keatts (Cultural understanding, goodwill and peace, July 15). I believe most Americans do embrace our “melting pot” history and respect both human and civil rights of everyone regardless of culture, religion, ethnicity and other differences.
Yet, although painting all Muslims with the same wide brush, Craig Buchanan (Muslim influence in US runs deep, July 11) did raise issues that must be discussed using real-world logic.
The majority of 1.6 billion Muslims from 50-plus countries that have Muslim majorities (over 50 percent of populations) are peace-loving, friendly and do not support Islamic terrorism, fanatical Jihadism or even Sharia law. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of them around the world do. One only needs to search online for “list Islamic terrorist attacks” to understand there’s a problem with militant Islamism.
I became aware of the growing problem of Islamism during the 1979 Iranian revolution and over many years living, working and traveling within the “Muslim world” from Ankara to Zamboanga.
Yet, over those many years I was treated with friendly hospitality by most Muslims I knew or encountered be they Sunni, Shia, wealthy or poor, including the poorest Sudanese (with widest smiles) on streets in Khartoum or the old souks in Omdurman and Sana’a, the Istanbul and Tehran bazaars, a farmer offering food in central Turkey or a Kurd stopping a small caravan to let my young daughter pet a baby camel.
Radical militant Islamism, however, has developed into a very serious problem for humanity — not just America — and must be defeated using education, cooperation (with nonradical Muslims) and military force when appropriate.
More Muslims should publicly condemn the extremists. Many do but not nearly enough.
More Muslims should speak out not only against Islamic terrorism but also against stoning of adulterers, against cutting throats and decapitating their victims, against praising suicide martyrs, against attacking Christians from Egypt to Indonesia, against honor killing of disobedient daughters and yes, against conducting such atrocities while shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is great!) to justify their barbarism.
If nonviolent Muslims — here and everywhere — stand up and help stop the barbarity of militant Islamists it would go far toward ending anti-Muslim bigotry.