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Reader comment on item: A Million Moderate Muslims on the March
in response to reader comment: Moderate - It's in the eye of the beholder

Submitted by Dr. Richard Benkin (United States), May 11, 2007 at 18:41


Believe me when I tell you that you ask a very pertinent question about why Shoaib stands alone. I know; his safety has been my life and obsession for the past three plus years. I went to Bangladesh to stand with him and did find others who were willing to stand with us.

But it is pertinent to ask why Shoaib is alone. As it is pertinent to ask why the US media (right and left) ignored his plight while he languished in prison, why Dr. Pipes was one of only a few people of influence who did not. I can tell you from personal experience how difficult it is to stand alone.

If we ask why Shoaib is alone, we must ask why so few Europeans stood up against the Nazi Holocaust, the murder of millions, only 62 years ago. Yet, do we then conclude that Europeans are incapable of sharing the same values that we do?

If we ask why Shoaib is alone, we must ask why so few in the Soviet Union stood up against the murder of millions by Stalin only 50-70 years ago. Why even 20 years ago, there were only a handful of refuseniks? Have we concluded that Russians are incapable of living by Western values?

And let us recall that only 142 years ago, we Americans maintained one of the more brutal forms of slavery; and we punished those brave but few abolitionists with jail or worse. Most Americans, however, did not openly oppose that terrible system. Did we write off Americans as candidates for a civilized world?

How many French objected to Capt. Dreyfuss's injustice only a century ago?

You are correct in noting that Jews do not follow the Torah's prescriptions to wipe out whole peoples literally; but that was my point. Those Muslims who do so with regard to the Quran do not thereby make Islam evil. Let us also remember that it took Vatican II for official Catholicism to renounce the belief that the Jews killed Jesus--something that many Christians still consider holy writ. Christianity still honors St. Augustine whose writings are virulently anti-Semitic. Even a few years ago, I saw a Catholic encyclopedia (with some official standing) that contained a biography of the British St. Hugh. Hugh's beatification and one claim to fame was that it was said (of course erroneously) that he was stolen by Jews, killed, and his blood used to make Matzah; that is, the horrendous and discredited blood libel. When I wrote and asked that the entry be excised I was turned down flat. I then said that at the very least the entry must be clarified such that it is clear that Hugh's status was based on a lie. I was turned down again. Is Christianity "evil"? No, it is not; and neither is Islam.

Pat, I sincerely appreciate your concern and admiration for Shoaib. He deserves it. I stood with him and helped him through some very dangerous times. He should be honored by us but more importantly by his own people. If you want to know more about him, visit http://www.InterfaithStrength.com.


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