Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

Debate over Muslims' association with terrorism continues

It is comforting to read in Kenneth Ballen's Feb. 23 Opinion piece, "The myth of Muslim support for terror," that Muslim support for terrorism and the killing of civilians is so low. However, in light of other polls indicating high levels of Muslim support for Osama bin Laden, Hamas, and so on, one wonders how the questions in this poll were framed.

Many Arabs and Muslims believe that suicide bombings in Israel are acceptable because all adult Israeli Jews are subject to conscription and are therefore all potential armed opponents. Similar logic is used to justify attacks against American and European civilians, as these civilians pay taxes to governments that are said to be involved in anti-Muslim wars. Muslims who support these actions do not regard them as terrorist actions but as legitimate jihad. We need to do more than ask Muslims whether they support "terrorism." We should ask, for example, whether it is OK to blow up Jewish civilians in Tel Aviv.Allen RosenToronto

Editor's note: Here is the wording of the survey question asked by Terror Free Tomorrow: "Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified or never justified?"

I want to thank Kenneth Ballen for writing the Opinion piece on the myth of Muslim support for terrorism. I'm a Muslim who has spent half of his life in the US, and I still get stares from strangers when I show my ID simply because my name is Mohamad. I come from a very moderate Muslim family from Egypt. I agree that people like myself can be used as a bridge between the West and the Muslim world. Sadly, I will not get that opportunity because many people would rather jump to conclusions than put in the time and effort to find out the truth. …

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