There are many untruths current about Islam and the West
Stabroek News
November 3, 2001

Dear Editor,

I wish to add to Mr. Justin De Freitas' letter captioned "The Taliban are portraying Islam as a religion of backwardness, oppression and cruelty" (l.ll.200l).

"The western world does not care about Muslims." Untrue. The U.S., Britain and the other western powers poured their all into the Balkans to rescue and protect the overwhelmingly Muslim population of Kosovo from the Serbs, an Orthodox Christian people. The initiative was taken not by Muslim or Arab states but by those countries now being labelled by some as enemies of Islam.

"The Christian West colonized the Arab world and its neighbours, and this has left a legacy of decay and poverty." Untrue. The Middle East had been killing itself, commiting mass suicide by brutal warfare, for centuries before any European came to the area. It was in fact the Turks, fellow Muslims, who did most of the colonizing of Araby, and they were harsh masters.

"The Crusades showed that Christians hated Islam." Untrue. Those campaigns took place seven centuries ago and have been roundly condemned by Christian leaders for a very long time. They were indeed awful and were really the fault of French, Norman and German warlords, provoked by a corrupt Pope, who slaughtered not only Muslims but Eastern Christians and Jews.

"Israel is a product of western imperialism." Not according to the former greatest enemies of the West, the former Soviet Union. They and their allies voted for the creation of the Jewish state, and armed it in its early wars against the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews produced Israel, not any sinister, imperialist design. Israel's existence allows numerous Arab leaders to hide behind rhetoric and ignore the suffering of their people. The Palestinians have a right to be angry but at Arabs as well as Israelis.

"Islam has never been an agressive force." Hardly. Persia, North Africa, Spain, the Balkans and many more regions were conquered by Muslim armies, with people often forcibly converted and terrible atrocities taking place. Islamic forces reached the gates of Vienna, to be turned away by a Christian world.

"That was the past. Today Islam is tolerant." If so, then why in Sudan are the black Christians murdered and enslaved by Muslims from the North? In Pakistan, a blasphemy law leads to the persecution and death of many Christians. Witness the killing of over a dozen Christians while in their place of worship only a week or so ago. In many parts of the Muslim world, Christians and other minorities are treated appallingly.

"Terror is carried out in the name of all faiths, not just Islam. Look at Northern Ireland." This is simply wrong. Republican and Loyalist terror gangs in Ireland do what they do in spite of, not because of Christianity. No IRA or UVF man brandishes a Bible as he bombs or quotes from the Scriptures as he shoots.

Truth in all things, please. And no more misplaced guilt or doubletalk. It just won't do. Not now.

Yours faithfully,

Peter Young.