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Islamophobia

Reader comment on item: Was Barack Obama a Muslim?
in response to reader comment: Think again, Anne

Submitted by Anne (Germany), Jan 29, 2008 at 17:12

Au contraire Don, I never have said I hate the U.S. government, although it would be right to say I am no fan of the current administration, I simply wanted to remind everyone that many cultures have been at one time or other responsible for constructive contributions to civilization in tandem with a great deal of bloodshed and loss of life (whether one perceives it to be justified or not) and that it seems unfair to single out Islam as the cause of violence and ruthless bloodshed.

The West has been free to grow and find its way through the centuries, at its own pace, and yet we seem so impatient with other cultures rather than recognizing that they are finding their own way at their own pace and making their own mistakes. . They must be allowed to have their own reformation, their own fight for democracy, their own civil wars, their own "women's suffrage" and so on. That's how we got to where we are today after all.

What I do dislike is Islamophobia. Realsitically a person's religion is only one part of their identity, only one of the elements influencing their ideology and behaviour. Focusing solely on religion is so one dimensional. Pigeonholing people by religion is a form of discrimination. Allowing a select extremist groups of Muslims to represent all other Muslims and to blame the religious text for the particular interpretation they choose to follow seems misguided to me.

Quoting parts of the Qur'an about martyrdom and stoning and warfare, isolated and out of context, is surely not a constructive approach, it leads to an incomplete picture of the faith and the idea that Islam has no values in common with Western culture. Why not quote the following:

Those who listen to the word, and follow the best (meaning) in it:
Those are the ones whom God has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding.
Qur'an (39:18)

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