Stunned

I’m stunned.  My sister forwarded this article to me tonight. For those that know me, you’ll understand.  For those that do not, let me explain…

Shortly after I received the message from my sister, I received another from a mutual friend of ours we grew up with.  He is now a tenured professor at a prestigious Eastern university…

I lived in Turkey and in North Africa and have a very different view of Islam.  I think that there are many positive features to Islam and what we’ve seen in the form of extremism is not a reflection of the larger religious tradition.  I lived in Sweden and there is toleration and respect for different religious traditions contrary to the columnist.  I think there is a danger confounding Islam with radical fundamentalism just as this country that it is a mistake to confound true Christianity with the right wing brand of fundamentalism that is sweeping our country.  The two brands of fundamentalism actually share a great deal in common.  The self-identified hypocritical types who encourage violence against abortion doctors and sponsor hate share a zealotry.  I am writing this to you to get your opinion as opposed to register a dissenting view.  What do you think?

I wrote back to him, saying…

I have a different view also, Mike, as you might suspect…

My initial reaction was very similar to your last point, about there being a similarity in all zealots of any faith or belief system (there are most definitely non-religious, even atheistic, zealots…It knows no boundaries…)  The fear, hate, intolerance, etc. I see in many corners of this world, whether it be politics, religion, economic power (and many times these overlap and blur), is the core of what drives the worst in humanity.

The columnist is one seemingly innocent soldier in the WRONG cause – the cause of misinformation, ignorance, and confusion.  It’s nothing new, but it never fails to amaze me how powerful it is…

As I said at the beginning, I couldn’t believe it when I received the message from my sister.  I was so sure she was more open-minded since her niece – my daughter – is Muslim, and Betty has met some of my son-in-law’s family, etc. and should know better than to promote generalizations.  I immediately forwarded it to my daughter Eva for her reaction, writing to her, "While there may be some truth in some of the points this writer makes, the overall article is simplistic and misleading…" 

From The Boileryard