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Fatal mistake of Abu Fatima

Reader comment on item: Trump: You Should Ban Islamists, Not Muslims
in response to reader comment: correcting Mr. Trump's hate speech

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Jan 17, 2016 at 10:55

Dear Dr Pipes,

Your reader Abu Fatima from Nigeria made a fatal mistake in his above letter to your site. This mistake is so grave that everyone must challenge it every single day but, unfortunately, it happens so many times in our day-to-day written and spoken word that we have become immune to it. Let me quote a sentence of Abu Fatima verbatim. Abu Fatima says, "If you shotdown (sic; shutdown) the Muslims' entrance to US, what about the Americans going out of the US?" The writer is contrasting Muslim with US. He is contrasting a religion with a nation. This is a fundamental problem.

Our rules of civic discourse encourage us to censure and criticize nations. The same rules prohibit us from criticizing religions. The net effect of all this is that while Abu Fatima has the freedom to criticize "US", we have no freedom to criticize "Muslims" back. We cannot be playing on an unfair playing field.

The argument extends beyond this letter of your reader. Our world takes great pleasures (rightly) in criticizing North Korea but similarly ordained 'Islamic Republic of Iran" gets a lot of undeserved support due to the word "Islamic" in its name. If Iran was a secular oligarchy, its political leadership might not have survived for as long as it has.


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