Friday, May 25, 2012

In debate over Islam, let the facts be damned

Staff | | May 20, 2012 | [Original Article]

"...The actions of radical leaders don't mean all Muslims are terrorists. These radical leaders don't represent all Muslims anymore than the KKK - the goals of which include an intent to "re-establish Protestant Christian values in America by any means possible" - represents all Christians.

Many readers took issue with the pejorative term "knuckle draggers" that I used to describe those who protested against Hassan Shibly, who spoke about Islam at Steinbrenner High School. Never mind the protestors have slandered Shibly by calling him a terrorist - I'm sure he'd swap that term for knuckle dragger. I have spoken with Shibly several times, and I have researched the facts surrounding the government's labeling of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Shibly leads its local office) and the Islamic Society of North America, and do not believe that he or either of those groups support terrorism.

The knuckles of Shibly's critics may not literally drag to the ground, but they are certainly ignorant to the facts.

Several months ago I invited one of the local leaders opposed to Shibly to appear on a radio show. He agreed to be a guest but quickly changed his mind when I told him Shibly would also be on the show - though not at the same time. He told me he didn't know enough about the issue to talk about it in such a public format. I suggested to him that before he goes labeling someone a terrorist, next time he should understand the facts better. He then asked me to lie for him about why he couldn't be on the show, instead of telling the truth about his not having enough information to comfortably discuss the matter in a public format....[Read Full Article]

I also received a healthy number of comments from people who were in agreement with me. Gary, a Christian, Republican and investment banker said, "[Your column], in my opinion, was the best you've ever written. Fear is gripping our nation from so many fronts it is difficult for many to understand what is fact or fiction. Thanks for writing something that brings some common sense and perspective to the forefront."

There is a lot of fear, leading to a lot of hate, and a lot of unfair attacks on anyone who is Muslim. This is hardly the Christian thing to do, and it is in no way patriotic. But it appears I am wrong about one thing: The Islamaphobes aren't ignorant; they just choose to believe only what they want to believe and let the facts be damned." [Read Full Article]

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