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April 7, 2013

Readers' Forum: April 7, 2013

TERRE HAUTE — Hateful letter

attacked Islam

I am a big fan of the Trib-Star, having been a subscriber ever since I arrived in Terre Haute 12 years ago, but I am deeply troubled by the decision to allow the publication of the hate letter written by Ramachandra B. Abbyankar. He quotes extensively an anti-Islam website that, under the guise of opposing Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism, ends up denigrating Islam itself (Thursday, April 4, 2013), even calling for the eradication of Islam.

It also contains numerous defaming comments about the religion that I will not repeat since I do not want to give the insensitive and dangerous content of this letter any more play in the community than it already has had. The fact that the quoted website is supposedly from former Muslims makes it no less incendiary or more worthy of being published.

I am not a Muslim but I am proud to say that I have been blessed with good friends who are devout Muslims, who are proud to be American, who are law-abiding, who want to raise their children in peace and who want peace and security for all their fellow Americans. I am happy to live in a city and work at a university where people of all faiths can feel welcome.

Above and beyond making serious devout Muslims feel unwelcome, this letter contributes to an atmosphere of intolerance, bias and hate, which can all-too-easily lead to hate crimes by narrow-minded individuals who want an excuse to intimidate and even hurt people who aren’t like them (I hope we can all remember the horrific hate crimes against loyal American Muslims after the 9/11 attacks and which, sadly, have not stopped).

I am all for free speech, but not when it seriously undermines the welcoming, tolerant and respectful community we pride ourselves in being and potentially threatens the safety and security of our Muslim visitors, friends and neighbors.  

— Dr. Arthur Feinsod

Professor of Theater

University Honors Program

Faculty Advisor to the

ISU Interfaith Fellowship

Indiana State University

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