To the Editor:
Our representative, Mae Beavers, was quoted on tape attacking Muslims in the South. This reckless talk is harmful to our society in numerous ways.
1) It disparages the peaceful Muslims who are law abiding citizens and even give their lives fighting for the USA against radical Islam.
2) This fear mongering promotes intolerance and bigotry against Muslims and stirs up unjustified attacks on our peace-loving citizens as well as makes it more likely the radicals can recruit more of our enemies. We certainly abhor the loss of life on 9/11 but we must also decry the killings of black Christian church members in South Carolina by a young white American and the killing of Muslims in their Mosque in Canada and the threats on Jewish Synagogues. All these were committed by extremists of every religious background.
3) Her comments give legitimacy to all hate groups to commit more crimes: including extremist white supremacy groups like the neo Nazis, the KKK, Skinheads and all who feed on fear and hate.
4) This talk demeans the very Bible Ms. Beavers claims to defend. The Old Testament, like the Qur'an, has some pretty disturbing passages such as those that promote genocide (sometimes offering to spare the virgins). However most of us Christians believe Jesus elevated our level of consciousness to "love thy neighbor" and "do good to those who persecute you". Modern scripture experts claim the calls for violence in the Old Testament (and the Qur'an) are best interpreted as a call for an inner battle with our inner demons so that we can turn away from temptation, destroy the evil thoughts and remain faithful to God in our hearts, not murdering other people. It surprised me recently to find out that Islam considers Jesus to be their penultimate prophet, and the most common acceptable behavior is akin to that of the New Testament in that they are told to "love people and to optimize compassionate and sincere relationship with them EVEN IF they do not believe in Islam or God."
In summary, it is fanatical extremists of all religions who are dangerous. We are rightly repulsed by the idea of Sharia Law here in the USA but we would also resent any other sect or belief system to be forced on us. Our country was founded by pilgrims fleeing religious persecution and thus our constitution makes it clear that church and state remain separate. Would any of us accept Orthodox Jews' way of life being forced on us? Or Mormonism, or Catholicism, or 7th Day Adventist, or any particular doctrine? Of course not.
It seems too common nowadays for all of our politicians to forget that we have 10 commandments, including the one about bearing false witness! Spreading lies does not make us safer but divides us into angry mobs.
Dr. Bernard Coomes