I read the syndicated column by Zef Chafets “In real world, Islam not so
peaceful” (Aug. 10), and it clearly sends a message of hate. He cites the
actions of few Muslims who are being investigated as representative of the
attitude and beliefs of American Muslims. I would like to use the Muslim
community in Cincinnati to illustrate the opposite viewpoint that Muslims
are hard-working, peace-loving and caring members of society.

There are more than 100 physicians in Cincinnati who are dedicated and care
for their patients. Muslim engineers, teachers and business people are
actively involved in the affairs of their community. They are good
neighbors and sincere friends. The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati
opened in 1996 and has been a great asset to our community. More than
30,000 visitors have been welcomed and toured our facility, as well as
countless number of school and college students, and members of churches
and synagogues. Our center is open to the public and we have nothing to
hide. We have welcomed priests and rabbis, and our members have visited
many churches and schools and answered questions about our faith and beliefs”¦

Stereotyping Muslims and propagating a message of hate serves no useful
purpose. On the contrary, we should respect the rights and intentions of
others and not allow differences of faith prejudice our attitude or
behavior. It is the diversity of our nation and its tolerance and freedom
that is the real strength of America and what makes our country great.
Bias, prejudice and hate have no place in our community or our beloved
America. We should judge people by what they do, not by their skin color or
religious affiliation.

Those who distort the message of Islam for their own purpose should be
exposed and fought. We should no longer sit idle watching our freedom
attacked. It is not only the duty of Muslims, but of decent non-Muslims, to
stand up and speak against prejudice and hate.

Dr. Baher Salem Foad of Madeira is a practicing arthritis specialist and
director of education at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West
Chester Township


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