Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Column Drew Marked Response

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Column Drew Marked Response

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods

Mark my words . . .

The mail has been pouring in.

A lot of you had things to say about a recent column about Muslims and terrorism. To start with, thanks. Most of it, even if in disagreement, has been interesting.

The column was not meant to be the end-all, be-all discussion of religion and terrorism. Whole books have been devoted to that subject. I have about 600 words. I used them that day to quote a local man who is the chairman of a national Muslim organization and, I hoped, dispel a common statement -- that Muslim leaders never condemn terrorism.

You can, as some readers did, debate what those condemnations mean. You can say that you want to see deeds, not words. But you cannot say Muslims never condemn terrorism. That's flat-out inaccurate.

And while it certainly would be a mistake to underestimate the links between religious fanaticism and terrorism -- a mistake I doubt many are making in 2005 -- it also would be a mistake to overestimate that link, to believe that, as one caller said he does, 99 percent of Muslims were celebrating on Sept. 11.

Several e-mails from Muslims began, "As an American Muslim," and continued by emphasizing the emotions they shared with neighbors and co-workers. They called the terrorists "sick" and "barbaric." They described their horror about what happened in London. And they expressed their frustration with the media for putting too much focus on the bad (for instance, images of a few kids dancing in the streets after Sept. 11) and not enough on the good (prayer vigils held worldwide).

See? Common ground. Frustration with the media.

Off the Mark: In a column recalling a trip to Northern Ireland in the 1980s, I described metal railings in front of hospital bent by IRA suicide bombers. Rob Glenn pointed out that the IRA didn't use suicide bombers. …

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