To the editor:
David Burress attacks Cal Thomas' anti-Islamic columns, calling them "bigoted" - reflective of an intolerant set of received views - but the samples that Burress quotes don't clearly make that case. Any of the quotes might be reasonable in the context of Thomas' arguments, which Burress does not engage.
That aside, I invite him to consider Ayaan Hirsi Ali, not an American right-winger like Thomas, but a modern, liberal refugee from the Islam of her African/Saudi upbringing, a victim of genital mutilation and escapee from a forced betrothal, who has said "I see no difference between Islam and Islamism. Islam is defined as submission to the will of Allah, as it is described in the Koran. Islamism is just Islam in its most pure form."
She has also said "Islam is the new fascism." She insists that at the core of Islam is hostility to pluralism, civil liberty and the tolerance Burress presumably supports. Strong words. Is Ms. Hirsi Ali also to be dismissed as "bigoted," or should liberal, tolerant people consider her arguments in some detail?
Hirsi Ali expresses - and Thomas claims to agree - not a hatred for Muslims as persons, but for the illiberal ideology of Islam. Burress muddies that distinction in his eagerness to take offense for others. Thomas might be a Christian propagandist attacking a competing revelation, but Hirsi Ali relates her direct experience with this medieval, totalist worldview, expressing a courageous, outraged humanism that any true liberal should admire and emulate.
Bruce S. Springsteen,