re: Letter to NPR re Duncan Moon's 9/18 piece on Islamic reaction to the 911 attacks

Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 07:46:47 MDT

Every mainstream religion has a wooly enough collection of sacred texts
that you can find "clear and unambiguous" statements of just about
anything you want.

> How do we, as a free people, come to terms with these facts?

How do we, as a free people, come to terms with the corresponding
facts about, say, Christianity?

> How do moderate Muslims rationalize their calls for peace and tolerance
> in light of the clear and unambiguous text of their scripture to the
> contrary?

How do moderate Christians rationalize, etc, etc?

By mentioning only Islam in your statements, you suggest that the
endorsement of violence, the requirement of discrimination, and the
inequality of women are features unique to Islam. But they aren't;
the sacred books of Christianity and Judaism are equally susceptible
to quote-mining, and equally full of clear and unambiguous statements
that no rational person of good intent could endorse. (On the other
hand, it's entirely possible to find statements in all three sets
of holy books denouncing violence and calling for brotherhood and
virtue and forgiveness.)

I'm not sure if you mean to be singling out Islam, but that's the
effect of your letter. The problem is of course much broader than
that; ancient religions in general aren't things that any sensible
parent would want a child playing with. I'm not convinced that
Islam as a religious system is any worse than its siblings. Do you
have evidence that it is? (How the followers of a particular
religious system actually behave is a somewhat different question.)


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