Letters to the Editor

Decry violence

January 15, 2011


To the editor:

The Philippines, Indonesia, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria and Egypt all have one thing in common. In the last 25 years, Christians have been killed by Muslims in those nations solely because they were Christians. Most Muslims respond to this fact by saying they personally were not involved or it is a different sect or that only the more violent Muslims do that or even that the persons perpetrating these acts are not really Muslims.

Well, the killings are done in the name of Allah, no matter who is doing them and they are lauded in mosques as appropriate. If Muslims really do not want to be labeled as violent murderers, they should not be complacent or just give lip service as has been the usual reaction. They need to show us and the rest of the world they really care by deposing every imam that teaches jihad against non-Muslims or if someone criticizes Muhammad. They should make sure that every mosque that supports these actions be closed. And they should expose every supposed or real Muslim who in any way is involved in these violent teachings and/or acts. Only then will I and many other Christians and probably non-Christians believe that Islam is not a violence-based religion.


Liberty_One 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, every muslim needs to quit his job and leave his family for this worldwide quest to track down the muslims that make trouble just so Mr. Wentz won't say bad things about Islam anymore.

50YearResident 7 years, 3 months ago

Hugh is stepping on toes here. We all know a Muslim can not call another Muslin wrong about killing for Allah without being in fear for his own life and the lives of all his family. Libertyone does not understand this because he is not a Muslim

Abdu Omar 7 years, 3 months ago

That simply is not true. If aomeone was doing something wrong it is a Muslim's duty to tell them. Killing of ANY human being who is not oppressing you is clearly forbidden in Islam. PERIOD. IF there are Muslims killing Christians it is WRONG and they are Wrong, period.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Wentz, On September 11, 2010, in Lawrence, Kansas, representatives of the local Muslim community stood up in public, condemned violence and embraced fellow citizens of other faiths. They were flanked by representatives of the local Christian and Jewish communities. The event was covered in the LJW. It was hardly an isolated occurrence. Consider, too, another example: Many years ago, an imam promoted a variety of Islam explicitly congruent with American pluralism and democracy. He condemned terrorism in all its manifestations, especially 9/11. He promoted the US to fellow Muslims in the Middle East as a designated representative of President Bush. He engaged actively in interfaith dialogue. His mosque planned a community center, open to all, to promote interfaith understanding. In short, Mr. Wentz, he did exactly what you have called for. However, the right-wing propaganda machine got wind of the project some years after it was started. With malice aforethought, they misrepresented the imam and his community's project. They called it a "victory mosque," claiming that the Muslims meant to affront Americans. They excoriated the imam himself, claiming (falsely) that he was a friend of terrorists, that he wanted to impose Sharia law on the US, that he rejected interfaith dialogue, etc. With those lies, the pundits riled up people across the nation, creating a huge anti-Muslim uproar. Mosques were vandalized and individual American Muslims were intimidated. This occurred only a few months ago, Mr. Wentz. Since that is the way a sizable segment of the American public treats Muslims who speak up against terrorism and in favor of American pluralism, Mr. Wentz, you shouldn't be surprised that many Muslims prefer to remain quiet.

Daniel Dicks 7 years, 3 months ago

Christians are just as guilty. Yes it is all bad and should be condemned. But taking sides in this never ending crusade is only adding to the futility. Christian-Muslim, Israeli-Palestinian, whatever, - a constanly reinforced self-fullfilled prophecy that seems to never end. Hopefully, an enlightened generation will someday come along to stop the madness.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

Not quite true, HollisBrown, although you're right about the situation in the Philippines. The Christian community in Iraq (conspicuously absent from Mr. Wentz's list), which dates back 1900 years, is now threatened with extinction. Christians have been intimidated, and a lot have left the country, fearing for their safety. But that's a recent development, since the US overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. Saddam was murderous, no question (just ask the Kurds), but he had no problem with the Christian communities of Iraq, and they prospered under his rule. In Egypt, Christians have been an important minority since the time of the Arab conquest. They traditionally have held certain lower-level positions in the government. There have been incidents of anti-Christian violence there over the centuries, including recently, but no efforts to eliminate the community as a whole. Turkey has been a multi-religious country since the time of the Ottoman Empire, and Christians have a protected status. Attacks against them--as against anyone--are illegal. Most Turks are outraged by such hate crimes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

With ongoing crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan, Christians have killed many more Muslims than vice-versa over the last decade.

But on the bright side, it's allowed Exxon, BP, et al to seize their oil fields.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

That would seem to be the advice of Christ, no?

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

If you get an answer, I'd be interested in it.

The passage reads:

"You have heard that it is said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you that you should not resist evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also"

It's clearly intended as a counter to "eye for an eye" thinking, and to replace it.

Later (I'm quoting from Matthew):

"Love your enemies, bless anyone who curses you, do good to anyone who hates you, and pray for those who carry you away by force and persecute you"

These passages from the sermon on the mount are quite provocative, and very difficult, if possible, to really follow. But they're there, and they're clear.

He was definitely preaching love and forgiveness, not hate and revenge.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 3 months ago

The gospel according to Tom, the anointed deuce, may never be questioned...but only dodged...as one dodges a coprolite.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

Every person of Muslim faith I have ever met has been friendly and kind-natured.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

I did live in the south during the 60s.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

How peaceful was it trying to get across the Berlin wall in 1970? If I recall correctly, the bullets all came flying from the side with no religion.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

"Somehow, can't make that particular disconnect."

I thought it was obvious. Religion was repressed, as Lennon dreamed of, in the Eastern Bloc and humans were shot in the back trying to escape the repression by marxist cum atheist agents. I don't think the western side (the one that allowed religion) ever shot people in the back trying to escape to the east.

I'm open to corrections if you have any.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

"us few agnostic and atheists"

Atheists don't like being associated with agnostics. Agnostics sit on their little fences forever because they are too cowardly to trust their own selves. The most deluded god-follower is a better man than an agnostic because he at least has the courage to stand up for his belief.

"We have no representation in government"

We (atheists) have the same representation as everyone else.

"heavily armed zealots"

Like those god fearing fellows stalin, mao, pot, castro, or kim?

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps agnostics think that atheists are as bad as religious folks, claiming certainty in an area that doesn't really support it.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

They are still trying to make up their minds if we are as bad as god-people. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for them to decide.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 3 months ago

"Atheists don't like being associated with agnostics. Agnostics sit on their little fences forever because they are too cowardly to trust their own selves. The most deluded god-follower is a better man than an agnostic because he at least has the courage to stand up for his belief."

Stand up to who? You? That's absolutely silly. If you think being an atheist makes you "a better man" than "The most deluded god-follower", who, in turn better than an "agnostic" then you are the deluded one.

The anger that YOU show is more dangerous than belief or failure to believe without question.

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

"If you think being an atheist makes you "a better man" than "The most deluded god-follower""

I don't recall saying that. I mostly think just the opposite. People under the delusion of gods and afterlives are in general kinder and more courteous people than typically cynical atheists that have no fellow-in-the-sky to keep happy.

Atheism is a curse. It certainly doesn't make a man better.

"The anger that YOU show is more dangerous"

I'm not angry. I just loathe agnostics.

TheYetiSpeaks 7 years, 3 months ago

As a Christian, I have to say that this LTE is a hate-mongering piece of ridiculous tripe.

"Judge not, that you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Matthew 7:1-2

Flap Doodle 7 years, 3 months ago

The linkbot has woken. Fear his mad copy/paste skillz!

verity 7 years, 3 months ago

"Atheists don't like being associated with agnostics."

That's quite a generalization. Myself, I don't care what anyone else believes or doesn't believe, as long as they don't use it to rationalize spilling blood or to commit other acts of inhumanity.

And I don't believe agnostics are cowards for admitting that they don't know or feel that the existence of a god is unknowable. I don't see that as sitting on the fence, and even if it were, fence-sitting isn't necessarily bad. Keeping an open mind can be a good thing.

"Atheism is a curse. It certainly doesn't make a man better." Wow, just wow! Another really big generalization with absolutely no supporting evidence.

As far as the letter is concerned, I can't even make any sense out of it. I'm tired of pointing out that we (Christians and atheists and all in between) don't seem to feel that we have to decry everything that our government, church or any other organization we might be involved with does that we don't agree with. As I recall, Serbian Christians killed a whole lot of Muslims not too long ago. Then there was that thing in Ireland with Christians of different sects killing each other for how many centuries now? Did the Protestants and Catholics in the United States take responsibility for that?

We're still killing people in Iraq. Are we not, as citizens of the United States, responsible for the deaths of innocent people there?

And we haven't shut down WBC, which is pretty much our next door neighbor and I don't hear any of us taking responsibility for what they do. (Clue: apparently we can't legally shut them down.)

Liberty275 7 years, 3 months ago

"That's quite a generalization."

True. I just see such a tremendous difference in thought between atheism and agnosticism that I can't imagine how the two could be associated. I don't speak for anyone but myself. Ever. I screwed that one up.

"Another really big generalization with absolutely no supporting evidence."


verity 7 years, 3 months ago

Wow, again. Rare to see an apology on these boards. Thank you. I can see where you don't associate atheism and agnosticism, I guess I just don't see as big a divide as you do.

However, again I have to differ with you on the second issue. I read the link--- although most people probably take the connection for granted, lack of religious affiliation doesn't mean one is an atheist and being an atheist doesn't necessarily mean one lacks a religious affiliation. I'll bet there are a lot of people associated with some religion or other for whatever they can take from it (and/or were baptized before they had a choice) who in reality don't believe in the existence of gods/God or who are agnostic.

I can only speak for myself, but feeling the responsibility for my own actions and having to decide for myself the right way to live I think makes me a better person than when I was a Christian.

verity 7 years, 3 months ago

Relating this to the LTE---to assume that all who claim to be Muslims and believe in Allah/God actually do is taking quite a jump.

And how many different sects/cults/denominations with too many to be counted interpretations of the Bible are there? As far as I can tell, both the Bible and the Koran are written in such a way as to be subject to many different interpretations. Some interpret the Bible as a call to violence and some as a call to peace.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Wentz, Why do you assume that all Muslims are responsible for the sins committed by any Muslim? Or that Islam has some sort of central authority that can suppress Muslims who act in contradiction to the basic tenets of their faith? Your underlying assumptions reveal basic misunderstanding of the institutional side of Islam, which is even more decentralized than Christianity.
Would you apply the same logic to Christians? Should the Church of England, for example, be held accountable for not silencing Fred Phelps? Should Ethiopian Christians have intervened to stop Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland from commiting acts of terrorism in the name of God? When Christians did not make decrying the violence in Northern Ireland their primary rhetorical voice and shun Catholics and Protestants until they ceased their violence, did that make them "complacent" and "just giving lip service" to the cause of peace? You should not demand of Muslims different from that you expect of others, Mr. Wentz, and judge them in ways you do not judge people of your own background. But even more, you should consider that peaceful people usually don't make news. Most Muslims, like most Christians (and most Jews, and Buddhists, and Hindus, and non-religious people) live in peace and advocate peace.

madameX 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, well, that guy has absolutely no say over anything that actually happens here. Nor do his readers. Because they're not Americans. So while I don't agree with him, I'm not too concerned with what the UK press and public think of our free speech laws.

gogoplata 7 years, 3 months ago

Christianity is a non violent faith but you wouldn't know it by the way a lot of US Christians act. Our churches are practically recruiting centers for the evil US Military. Terrorism is the predictable result of our foreign policy.

voevoda 7 years, 3 months ago

gogoplata, I don't think that your characterization of Christian churches is fair. Or your characterization of the US military. Most American churches value peace, and few Americans engage in acts of violence. Our military service members are nearly all responsible human beings who prefer non-violent solutions to difficult situations.

gogoplata 7 years, 3 months ago

I am a member of a midwestern Baptist Church. I know that people following the Prince of Peace should value peace but I see a lot of people who practically worship the US Military. The US Military kills innocent people all the time. That is what I call evil. This endorsement of the military is the great failure of the Church in America at this time in our history. Pro life means pro all life, not just unborn american babies.

Abdu Omar 7 years, 3 months ago

But, gogoplata, the last part of your statement is absolutely true. I am an American Veteran and I have been in harms way and know that our foreign policy is exactly what puts us in harms way. If Americans didn't support policies that are creating the anger and distrust of the USA, then terrorism would be aimed at another country, if aimed at all. We ply Israel with Billions of dollars to sustain their security, but they use that money to occupy another people and expand their hold on that people's land. Our dollars going to Israel kills millions of people, not just in Israel or Palestine but all around the world.

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