Letter: Islam not the problem

In Thursday’s column “The painful truth,” Elie Dvorin makes the point that almost all terrorists are Muslims. This itself is not in error. His error is in drawing conclusions from this, without considering the situation objectively.

Let’s look at this problem from another point of view: Almost all of the people shooting up the streets of Baghdad (or liberating, or whatever) are U.S. citizens. Wait, they’re also almost all Christians.

Now, does this mean that U.S. citizens or Christians are militaristic invaders with murderous intent, having no mercy or reason? I’m sure it seems that way to the average Iraqi. The first thing we’d point out is that there are extenuating circumstances for these men and women being in Iraq.

There are complexities of international politics, presidential directives, economic factors; a whole slew of things that have nothing to do with their being members of the Christian faith. Likewise for the Muslims who conduct their warfare for a whole host of political, personal, and nationalistic reasons. The bottom line is all people everywhere will react in ways that are unthinkable to those who don’t understand their position.

This is part of a cycle of violence made possible only through the dehumanization of our enemies and theirs.

These terrorists aren’t heartless people. The truth is they have to appear to be animals to us (and we to them) because otherwise, none of this violence could go on.

It’s easy to put down a rabid dog, but a little harder to shoot a pleading man. It should be obvious at this point that Islam is not fundamentally connected with terrorism. Yes, nearly every terrorist act against the United States and its allies is committed by Muslims, or rather, those who use the rhetoric of Islam to define their cause.

However, calling these people Muslims is like saying that the U.S. Special Forces in the Bay of Pigs, Grenada, etc., were Christians. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, a whole parade of Presidents have used the idea of a Christian God and a Christian land, to engender popular support for military actions sometimes no less brutal than Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

According to the rhetoric of the time, these men were doing God’s work in securing a Christian nation and all that jazz. But it is undeniably a matter of rhetoric, not religion. Elie Dvorin writes, “Avoiding this important issue by dismissing it as discrimination or bigotry will lead to a more dangerous world for all of us.”

He’s right, and it is the case that America is threatened almost entirely by Islamic terrorists. But dismissing the issue as East against West,YHWH against Allah, will just as surely “lead to a more dangerous world.”

It is necessary to explore the problem before coming to a conclusion. Ask why we are pouring troops into the Middle East and around the world. Ask why the Serbs and Croats fight. Ask what the hell happened in Ireland. Most importantly, ask why these ordinary people would send their children to die in a foreign country, blackening the name of that which they hold most dear.

Gee, I don’t know. Maybe they just hate freedom.

Louis Strack

junior on LAS