Letters to the Editor

Many flavors

February 2, 2008


To the editor:

Kendall Simmons believes I "miss the point" that Islam (or any other religion) comes in many flavors, not all as distasteful as some are. I certainly do not miss that point, and neither does Ayaan Hirsi Ali or, I suppose, Cal Thomas. But Simmons does completely miss my point, acting as a specimen of the very thing I wrote to deplore.

Rather than troubling to find a full explanation by Hirsi Ali of her critique of Islam, to discover the context of the apparently inflammatory and simplistic quotes I cited and engage her arguments "in detail," as I clearly advised, he seizes those snippets and tries to rebut what he assumes they mean. In the process, he leaps to conclusions about what I think of Islam, which was not my topic at all. This is exactly the shallow, illiberal, sound-bite approach to discourse I was objecting to. I thank Simmons for the proof-by-demonstration of my complaint.

Those interested in engaging Hirsi Ali's arguments might do well to read her memoir "Infidel" and continue from there. I also would recommend Ibn Warraq's "Why I am Not a Muslim." Cal Thomas, I leave to whoever can stand to read him, as long as faux-liberals allow us the opportunity. Meanwhile, I shall continue to advocate real liberalism as I understand it. Liberals. it seems, like religionists, come in many flavors.

Bruce S. Springsteen,



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