Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor


Article excerpt

Religion is not inherently violent - or peaceful

In response to Alexander Kronemer's Dec. 9 Opinion piece "Understanding Muhammad": Since Sept. 11, Muslims across the world have been pained by caricatures of Islam and its prophet in the Western media.

Most commentators pontificating on Islam have the excuse of ignorance - historical and religious - but those who do not, scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, have distorted Islamic history for polemical gains. They have reasoned illogically from effect to cause, using current events and selective history to stigmatize a whole religion as intrinsically violent.

In this milieu, where Muslims have lost any hope of a just portrayal of Islam, I thank you for publishing Mr. Kronemer's message: "No religion is inherently violent, or for that matter, inherently peaceful. [Violent] organizations, not the religions they claim to represent, are the enemy."

Most pundits passing excathedra judgments forget a fundamental fact: There is no monolithic Islam. There are only Muslims; no more or less human, no more or less fallible, no more or less liable for their deeds than any other humans on earth. Acts of a few individuals, no matter how reprehensible, must not be used to vilify a religion. Khurram Dastgir-KhanGujranwala, Pakistan

Alexander Kronemer makes some interesting points about the role of religion in politics, but I take a more simplistic approach: If all the world's religions got their governments to disarm, which would use their prophet's teachings to attempt domination?

The answer is probably found by looking at the countries whose governments retain power at the pleasure of religious leaders. Fred Stoner Hershey, Penn.

War has become an oily business

Kudos for your Dec. 5 article "Fueling war," linking the root causes of so many conflicts in developing and developed nations to resource tensions. Dependence on fossil fuels creates a globally destabilizing force. …

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