Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
It is indeed the greatest irony of all that Saul Rosenthal’s March 31 letter, “Tragic ironies pervade history,” does not mention that historic records prove that a large number of terrorist acts in the 20th and 21st century were committed by non-Muslims.
The so-called global phenomenon of “Islamic terrorism/militant Islam” is a creation of the western media as well as some of the conservative politicians. In his letter of Feb. 19 , Rosenthal’s phrase like “knowing your enemy” and his sentence … “the history, and the theology of Islam out of which jihad and the worst of Sharia have emerged,” show that Rosenthal and Abhyankar know as much about Islam as the Koran-burning pastor in Florida did. The pastor was universally condemned for his act.
Again, in his Feb. 19 letter of vulgar support for Ramachandra Abhyankar, Rosenthal wrote: “I dare say that Dr. Abhyankar has studied Islam far more than most Muslims, as well as the rest of us.” How dare Rosenthal say that? Abhyankar searches only anti-Islam writers (some of whom are fictitious) and then quotes them. Rosenthal never provided any evidence that Abhyankar knows more about Islam than most Muslims.
Out of 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, how many Muslims does Rosenthal know? Moreover, Abhyankar has quoted verses from Koran out of context (T-S letter of Feb. 10). Established scholars of Islam like Dr. Akbar S. Ahmad, John Esposito or Karen Armstrong and a host of others have never been quoted by Abhyankar.
Rosenthal did not find any blanket condemnation of Islam in Abhyankar’s letters because he did not carefully read his letters in the T-S for the last 10 years or chose to ignore them. Abhyankar’s March 4 letter gives us two lengthy paragraphs in quotes from a website of so-called former Muslims. It says nothing about the reasons they left Islam except that Islam is a dangerous and false religion.
There is a conservative think tank in our nation’s capital that is spending millions of dollars on this kind of nonsense. A former ultra-conservative senator has joined this group. I am surprised that the T-S would permit a letter that gives two lengthy paragraphs in quotes with no contribution from the letter writer. “Free speech” of course.
Nothing is more removed from truth as to suggest that Muslims have monopolized terrorism. The Irish Republican Army, the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, the Aum Shinrikyo of Japan, the Basque Terrorist organization, ETA, the Army of God, the anarchists, the Haganah and Irgun and Stern Gang (Zionists), Beider-Meinhoff of Germany and Italy’s Red Brigade (T-S letter Sept. 2) are only a few glaring examples of non-Muslim terrorism. And do I need to remind Rosenthal that Hitler was not a Muslim, nor were Timothy McVeigh, Wade M. Page (the Sikh temple terrorist) or Eric Rudolph?
Terrorism is a monopoly of conservative politicians, pseudo-liberals and the media. People, regardless of their religion, wish to live harmonious lives, but politicians and the media feed the feeling of hatred among them. Rosenthal has taken their bait as well as that of Abhyankar.
Based on the Koranic verses mentioned in my letter of March 24, the only thing “extreme” about a devout Muslim would be that he or she is extremely just, extremely honest, kind, forgiving, merciful and egalitarian, and who is someone who never initiates aggression but responds only in self-defense.
— Khwaja A. Hasan
Formerly of Terre Haute