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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Inflammatory Attacks on Islam and What They Represent - By Bill Fletcher Jr.

I was in the airport the other day awaiting my flight and decided to go into a bookstore. In a prominent position sat a book called Religion of Peace? by a Robert Spencer. Intrigued by the title I examined the copy only to discover that it is one of the crudest and blatantly ahistorical attacks on Islam that I have seen in a quite a while. Essentially the author attempts to argue that Christianity is the religion of peace and Islam is not.

My purpose in writing this commentary is not to engage in an attack on any religion. Within both Christianity and Islam, not to mention other religions, there have been strong tendencies to support justice, as well as tendencies towards intolerance and aggression. Each person has a right to believe and worship as he or she sees fit. Yet for writers, such as Spencer, to act as if the historical record is clear and decisive against one religion-Islam-is as outrageous as it is ignorant. Anyone remember the role of Christianity in the Crusades; the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain; the African slave trade; the invasion of the Western Hemisphere; or the silence of the Pope on the Holocaust against the Jews?

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