Tue, July 23

Muslim first, American second


USA Today recently published an article about the FBI's and other security agencies' concerns about home-grown terrorists in our country. They were not talking about "sleeper cells" of the al Qaeda but of Muslim American citizens who have become radicalized extremists.

Within a couple of days the same paper them printed an article by Haya El Nasser quoting a survey that found "the majority of Muslims" here were more "moderate" politically than Muslims in other countries. The survey did find, however, that, on the whole, they were much more negative about the war against terrorism.

The survey found that, of 2.4 million Muslims in the USA, "only" 5 percent have a favorable view of al Qaeda. That comes to about 120,000, mostly 18 to 29 year olds within our own borders that find no problem with a major terror organization currently killing, not just our own troops in Iraq, but all over the world.

Another 27 percent were found to have "no opinion" toward al Qaeda. That's an additional 648,000 who cannot be bothered to find fault with Islamic extremists. These 2 percentages probably aren't that much different than those of the people living in Iraq. The survey concluded that the "overwhelming majority" of American Muslims reject terrorism and religious extremism. I don't find a 68 percent majority all that heart warming at this time in our history.

To soften the numbers, the survey said 47 percent of Muslims consider themselves Muslim first, American second, while 42 percent of Christians put their religion first and 62 percent of white evangelicals do so. What the survey fails to acknowledge is that those Christians have the same core values as the nation as a whole and are not willing to murder the rest of us should we not see religion their way.

Jim Barber

Camp Verde