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Reply to Sultan

Reader comment on item: Europe under Siege
in response to reader comment: my answer to all of you.

Submitted by Daisy (United States), Oct 26, 2005 at 23:57

Dear Sultan,

Your reply has helped me better understand your thinking. It sounds like you think Islam would benefit by moving out of the stagnant place its been held in by the strict Arab interpretation and into a more vital manifestation of the inherent good you feel belongs to the faith. You see possibilities of whole new interpretations and expressions of the Koran that would bring your religion and its followers progressively forward and you see that Turkey, even though somewhat hindered by economic impediments -- has provided a pretty good model for this movement -- holding the core beliefs of Islam -- while allowing a secular and civic life apart from the religion. It appears that you believe that Turkey has carried secular life to the extreme and at the same time you can see some benefits of religion and state holding distinct domains. It appears to me that you hold the idea of Turkey merging with Europe as one of dubious merit. Additionally, I see that you put real effort into understanding viewpoints different (and even appearing hostile) to your own. Your use of English might be better than you think and I appreciate the effort you undertook to address my strong concerns.

You claim that free speech is protected in Turkey. I can only wish that you would feel free to visit the USA. You are quite mistaken about not being allowed to enter the country as a Muslim .. not only could you come as a Muslim, but there would be absolutely no reason to hide that fact. Of course, you would also want to be free of your own prejudice of the USA in order to even have any desire to visit -- but that is between you and your own conscience. Believe it or not -- your choice -- but Americans do not walk around thinking of ourselves as the Boss of the world. You are not weak as a result of our strength. You must take responsibility for your own condition and strengthen yourselves if that's important to you.

As far as looking at what it is about Islam that promotes hatred, like it or not Sultan, it's a legitimate inquiry given the state of our world today. When you talk about Muslims in Chechnya, for only one instance, 'blowing themselves up" - oh if only that were the whole story! However, I'm afraid it's not anywhere near whole. Chechnyian Muslims murdered not only themselves but murdered lots and lots of innocent children as an act of complete vengeance. Condemning the burning of "Taliban bodies" with no word of condemnation for the actions of the hateful Taliban makes little to no sense to me. Awful though it may be, the conditions of war bring out the best and worst in human nature. The Taliban committed atrocities upon their own people ... and did so not as an act of war but as an act of religion. This matters. It matters a lot Sultan. North, South, East and West, Muslims are murdering themselves and anyone else they can get their hands on in numbers that only increase and for reasons that Muslims themselves claim have everything to do with their religion. As far as I'm concerned, the Islamists ought to just give up the title Prophet for their version of Mohammed and replace it with Chairman (as in Mao) since those two seem to have lots more in common than not. The goals of both are noteworthy for their similarity. While we may come to the conclusion that there are sacred and profane versions of Islam (and frankly, I'm undecided) to ignore profane Islam would be suicidal. And in this neck of the world's woods, Sultan, most of us simply don't approve of suicide.

Comparing any American President to a degenerate thug like Saddam Hussein says more about your pain then it does about anything sane or rational or true. You certainly do not have a stranglehold on this sort of irrationality. In fact Sultan, you'd probably feel right at home at some of our best Universities where that kind of statement would be weirdly appealing to many of the self-elected intellectual elites who, indeed, do their best "thinking" from the comfort of their warm, albeit despised, American beds.
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