Kathleen Parker's column "A strong dose of reality in Europe" (Feb. 21) contains misrepresentations of Islam and "sharia" (Islamic law). Ms. Parker states "honor killings" are accepted under sharia. Nowhere in Islamic law are honor killings allowed or condoned; Islam has given equal rights to women.
This despicable practice occurs in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Non-Muslims in Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have committed the same crimes. Only a few decades ago in Brazil and Colombia, these crimes were carried out without fear of prosecution. This crime was committed for centuries before Islam. Misguided people, including some Muslims, use religion as a shelter to justify heinous acts.
The publishing of cartoons by Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten was extremely hurtful to Muslims. Ms. Parker implies that no one should protest, even when free speech is used for derogatory purposes. The Western world cherishes the right to free speech, but we should use it responsibly. European-Muslims have the right to protest, and I fully agree the protest should have been peaceful and civilized. The reaction of some Muslims who resorted to destruction of property and intimidation was against the teachings of Islam.
There is no radical Islam; there are some Muslims with radical ideas.
In this increasingly globalized world, it is vital to have an accurate understanding and acceptance of other cultures and religions to strengthen relationships between all communities. The worst threat to Western freedom is our own ignorance and bigotry.
St. Louis County Chairperson Public Relations Committee, Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis