Thu, June 27

Letter: Muslim "extremists' are anything but few and far between


Boy, I couldn't get to the outhouse fast enough to use Nate Hansen's op ed column re: the "Teddy Bear." I am outraged at his take not only on the case of the teacher who only agreed with her Muslim students to name a teddy bear Muhammad but with the ideas that "Westerners" don't understand Islam and that Muslim extremists are few and far between.

What mound of sand has his head been under? Did he miss that all of Sudan was calling not just for this teacher to be given 40 lashes but that she be executed for her "insult?" And not one Muslim leader anywhere denounced the Sudanese.

He actually undermined his own point-- that we don't understand Islam -- by starting his column with his inane story about the "Jesus Bear." Did any Christian group riot in the streets? Did any Christian group threaten Hansen or anyone else at the Verde Independent? Of course not. They didn't because they are not violent extremists.

But he can't say the same about "extremist" Muslims any time they feel offended. An analogous situation would be the printing of a series of cartoons containing images of Mohammad by a newspaper in Denmark. The cartoons were meant to elicit a dialogue re: freedom of speech between Muslims and the Danes. "Regular" Muslims by the millions took to the streets all over the world, deaths ensued, and the cartoonists and other individuals at the paper were threatened with death.

Tell me again, Nate, about Muslim "extremists" being few and far between.

I would also ask Nate why it is that it's Westerners, especially Americans, who are supposed to "understand and make allowances" and not the Muslims. They seem to be the ones who are sensitive to any innuendo and act violently in response.

As for Westerners' demeaning Arab countries by calling them the "Middle East," get a clue. It's only a geographical locator. Does anyone take umbrage when the country they're from is described as North America, South America, Western Europe, the Far East, etc.? I don't think so.

Nate, would you please explain how the "Religious Right" and the "Moral Majority" are dangerous in relation to Islam? If you are referring either to the danger of ideas or the danger of terrorism, Islam wins hands down on both counts. Islam has been interpreted by many in their religion to enable the mullahs to control everything in their society--minds, actions and words. And to control with violence. Nate, walk in a bhurka for a day in Saudi Arabia. See who controls and is dangerous. There is no way the Religious Right or the Moral Majority should be feared on those levels. In fact, the Moral Majority was dissolved in 1989. The Religious Right is not a party any more than Move On (dot) org is a party. And depending on one's political affiliation, one is just as bad or worse than the other.

The third point of the op-ed makes no sense. Ignorance and rampant fear do not equate to racism. Racism has nothing to do with terrorism - unless militant Muslims are trying to wipe out our race -- oh, wait --they are. At least they want to convert all people to Islam. But which Islam? Muslims can't even get along with each other, let alone anyone from western societies. Radical extremist Muslims just hate.

Americans don't want English as our official language because we were here first. It's because English speakers conquered what is now the United States and helped make it the great country it is now. And by the way, conquerors have imposed their language, traditions and cultures on the vanquished for centuries on end. That's what "conquer" means. Most waves of immigrants during our history chose to learn and speak English because they knew they needed to, to aspire to the American "dream." And I don't mean home ownership. "Diversity" is fine in its place, but guess what - -America has her traditions that are good and should be embraced by those coming here. If they left their country to come here to enrich their lives, then the traditions and culture of this great nation should become theirs.

I haven't seen any of his columns that make him an asset to the Verde Independent. Since Nate's first column I've tried to read the rest with an open mind. But my mind is now closed to his columns, and I think I will be a better person for it.

Pam Burden