Recent atrocities perpetrated against the U.S. by supposed Islamic extremists have served to focus attention on Muslims living or visiting in the U.S. It has been pointed out, correctly, that those responsible for these attacks are not representative of the majority of Muslims. In spite of this fact, there have been scattered sporadic attacks on peace loving Muslims in the U.S. Such bigotry against Muslims is unbecoming of our country and inexcusable.
Of course, statements like those above have been reiterated frequently in the last few days. What I have not heard amidst all the urging to be tolerant, is any possible positive thing that peace loving Islamic peoples can do in response to the recent atrocity that would make such anti-Islamic bigotry so obviously wrong that even the people now practicing it, would see it as abhorrent.
I suggest a vigorous visible communications effort be made by Muslims in the freer Western democracies, to contact their fellows in the predominantly Islamic nations; especially those in leadership positions. It is vital that individuals, organzations and governments be encouraged to practice, in their own countries, the same tolerance they rightly expect in Western democracies. In a number of Islamic states there is blatant and frequent persecution of anyone espousing any other type of faith or practice. The frank and free discussion of religious ideas, which Muslims in the freer democracies often admire and regularly practice, is a criminal offense in many nations. In some nations and families, conversion to the Christian worship of God is a capital offense. This is even held as ideal by some Muslims within Western democracies like Canada and Britain. In many other places, people of other faiths routinely are imprisoned and many face death, simply because they do not embrace Islam.
What would happen if even 50% of the Muslims enjoying the freedoms of more tolerant nations engaged in a fervent letter writing campaign to their countries of origin? What if Islamic clergy were to preach tolerance regularly? What if Muslims by the thousands protested and demonstrated outside the embassies of any Islamic country that dared to try a person of non-Islamic faith for blasphemy or converting from Islam? Such pressure would bring at least a modicum of change, maybe more. Such pressure, applied by fellow Muslims, would surely be accepted more readily than the protests of infidels. Such pressure, applied by Muslims, would do much to silence those who think all Muslims are extremist.
Byron, MN, USA
Phone: 507 775 6429
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