WA: PEACEFUL MUSLIMS? TWO SIDES SPEAK UP LOUDLY
We live and work here, we contribute, vote, pay taxes and are peaceful people.
So said Seattle-area Muslims who wrote and called in droves following Friday's column pondering a discussion on Dori Monson's KIRO radio show: Shouldn't employers have the right to refuse to hire or promote Muslims based solely on their religion since (in the view of Monson and many of his listeners) Muslims are responsible for nearly all of the terrorism in the world?
It's the last part that a scary number of readers disputed. The part about Muslims as mostly peaceful.
First, here's what some of your neighbors think about the Muslims who work and live among us.
Then some contributing, voting, peaceable people will speak their piece in print.
Being told that Islam is a religion of peace is "meaningless fluff meant to diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history." So wrote a "concerned friend" of D.K. Miles of Shoreline. And D.K. figures the friend has a "valid point."
"Nice words (about peaceful Muslims)," Paul Byrne wrote. "But, until they start standing up and speaking out against these so-called hijackers of their religion, what's a poor Christian supposed to think? Look at Somalia. It is run by Muslims. I don't see it on your vacation list."
"Fact is, from Southeast Asia to the U.S., terrorism crawls the landscape like so many maggots on a carcass. Almost all of the terrorists are Islamic," Terry Benish wrote. "How many of these Islamic people, your silent majority, disavow the terrorists' activities? How many ... have openly spoken against the terrorists?"
Lines in the column about brotherhood versus fear from a speech by Bobby Kennedy just before his death hit Hugh Remash as silly. Hugh has one brother, and he lives in New Hampshire. He does "not consider the fellow walking down the street my brother."
And the very notion of my concern about fear-spreading stereotypes about the "dangers" posed by the Muslims among us was so much "political correctness run amok" to Jerry Pittman. "Your column and similar ones ... are reasons I am starting to agree more and more with Bill O'Reilly," he wrote.
But Muslims do speak out. Jeff Siddiqui and other Seattle Muslims did. "People assume that, if I ... am not walking around with a sandwich board condemning terrorism then, by default, I must be supporting it," he said. "There are plenty of Muslims and groups who condemn violence committed in the name of Islam (check out www.muhajabah.com//otherscondemn.php).
Siddiqui is also sick of hearing that Muslims don't condemn violence out of fear that the "violent Muslims amongst them will then come looking for blood." "No Muslim has ever threatened me in any way," he said. "I have, however, felt so threatened by a devout Christian that I seriously considered buying a gun. We have our share of good people and our share of bad just like every race, religion and nationality."
Still, at a political meeting earlier this month, Siddiqui says he was told, "There is something about the DNA of Arabs that predisposes them to violence."