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Reader comment on item: [Beltway Snipers]: Converts to Violence?

Submitted by Mustafa Akyol (Turkey), Oct 25, 2002 at 18:21

I strongly agree with Mr. Pipes' statement that "there is nothing inherently antagonistic between the faith of Islam and good American citizenship." I am a citizen of Turkey, not US, but as a Muslim who sees Islam as the basis of all his moral values, I can see no reason for any Muslims to target the United States. Let me mention a few reasons:

1) The US is a free country that respects freedom of faith. Peoples from all different religions, including Muslims, have the freedom of worship and they can present their ideals to the society. (This is something that you could not even think about in many parts of the contemporary Islamic world.)

2) The American government did never declare or portray any hostility to Islam. On the contrary, in the last decade, there have been quite numerous statements by US officials—even at the Presidential level—about their respect and even admiration for the Muslim faith.

3) The US foreign policy is not "anti-Islamic" as it is alleged to be. Keep in mind that Bosnian Muslims were saved from Serbian genocide by the United States. It is true that American foreign policy resides with Israel in the Middle East, but this does not stem from any so-called "anti-Islamism" but it comes from the "special relationship" between America and democratic Israel—a relationship that has its origins in many historical, demographic, cultural, political dimensions.

Thus I believe that anti-Americanism under the cloak of Islam is a great misconception. I think that the duty of the American Muslims is to present the high values of Islam — like tolerance, modesty and humaneness — to the American society. Savagery and bigotry in the name of Islam is in fact the greatest assault on this religion, a religion that God has sent down to humanity as the ultimate way to peace.

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