This is in response to Mark D. Erasmus’s letter published in the Daily Lobo on April 18.

First, it is incredibly disrespectful to use such hateful commentary during Islam Awareness Week. This is when Muslims are taking time to educate and inspire the uninformed in a peaceful, nonintrusive way.

For someone who has no understanding of the religion and has not read its holy books – save for the hateful anti-Islam Web sites that take mistranslated and out-of-context segments from the Quran to make broad statements against the religion – it is not only mannerless but sabotages Erasmus’s point.

He further provides no support for these statements. In fact, for one who preaches reason, there is an appalling lack of evidence in the arguments.

For example, the argument that Western culture is obviously superior to Islamic culture. To begin with, Islam is a religion that makes itself very distinct from culture. In fact, Muslims consider themselves Muslim first and their culture secondary.

To me, it is interesting people believe this country is secular. If that is the case, why is there prayer in school? Pardon me, moments of silence?

Why are we one nation under God? Why is God mentioned on currency in this secular nation?

In fact, the only guarantee of the separation of church and state is a loose interpretation of the First Amendment, which prohibits an established national religion or the preference of one religion over another or – pay attention to this part, Erasmus – nonreligion over religion.

It is incredibly shortsighted to claim that this country was not founded or influenced by religion.

Ah freedom, yet another fallacy. Freedom to marry the one we love? Freedom is just one word that is used as evidence to proclaim our way is indeed the best, for we are taught freedom is a uniquely American concept. And yet, we are not free to do as we please.

Even when the government restricts obvious unacceptable freedoms such as the freedom to hurt someone, we maintain arbitrary, harmless restrictions on the residents of this nation.

Reason is an admirable quality but one that must be sought with sincerity and applied universally. If the Quran was indeed replete with violence, you would think there would be over a billion very angry sheep at your doorstep trying to kill or convert you.

And yet, there are Muslims in your community – in your neighborhood even – who are peaceful, caring and generous.

But I suppose that is just the superior voice of the West showing them the light while the rest of the Muslim world is exploding in chaos and destruction.

Submission is talked about like it is inherently abhorrent. But, I think, instead of perpetuating hatred infused with ignorance, there are certain readers of the Daily Lobo who could learn a few things about humility and having an open and unprejudiced mind.

One translation of Islam can be submission, but a more accurate translation is “not speaking in opposition or conflict.”

I challenge Daily Lobo readers to talk to a Muslim, ask him or her about what they’ve heard on the news about Islam. Ask them what it truly means to be Muslim. Get it directly from the source.

Ashley Neyrinck

UNM student


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