Flurry of Letters about Islam

At the beginning of the year, I adopted a policy of monitoring each opinion piece regarding religion and secularism appearing in the Florida Times-Union. Recently I have fallen behind in face of a flurry of articles and letters on the topic of Islam in response to the Secular Islam Summit. Instead of responding to each piece individually and in full, I will catalogue them, summarize them, and respond only to selected quotes. I will add more letters to this list until this episode is complete.

22 MarchPro & Con: Reforming Islam

The pro section was the exact text of the St. Petersburg Declaration from the Secular Islam Summit. The con section by Dr. Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic relations, criticized the signers for being outsiders, failing to be specific, ignoring existent reform, and for promoting “Islamaphobia.”

22 MarchMuslims: Universal Principles

This piece praises the Secular Islam Summit and praises the United States' policy toward Muslims.

25 MarchSecular Muslims: Does Islam need reformation?

This letter says that Muslims will not assimilate into western culture and implies that the west may eventually become Muslim. There is one section I would like to quote:

These self-proclaimed secularists represent only a small minority of Muslims. The majority of Muslims, not only in the United States but worldwide, have different opinions. Yet, the media, governments and neoconservative pundits pay more attention to the secular minority.
There must be a perception bias somewhere. I find far more new stories about radical Muslims protesting in the streets than about secular Muslims publishing documents. The protests, however, generally occur in the Middle East and Europe, not in the United States.

27 MarchMuslims: Face reality

This letter is a response to the previous one. It says that although the west is accused of imposing its culture on the Muslim world, the original letter writer clearly states his desire for the Muslim world to impose its culture on the west. The author claims we are in a cultural war.

1 AprilIslam: Clash of cultures is in progress

This letter is another response to the same letter as above. It lists some of the details of Sharia, which the original author would like to see adopted in the west, and explains how these principles are in conflict with the western values.

3 AprilMuslims: No criticism of radicals

This letter is yet another response to the same letter as above. It discusses the clash between Islamic and western values.

4 AprilReligion: Aspects of our society aren't good

This letter is a response to the previous group of letters. The author agrees with their negative assessment of Islamic culture but reminds them that Christian culture used to be just as barbaric and has only become more enlightened relatively recently.

6 AprilIslam: Radicals are the problem

This letter says that moderate Muslims do not pose a threat. It provides a link to a website, which I cannot seem to load, of a moderate group and lists some of their positions.

7 AprilIslam: Religion is misunderstood

This letter claims that women are equal to men under Sharia. This is demonstrably false.

9 AprilIslam: Muslims can live in harmony

This letter claims that Sharia is consistent with the U.S. Constitution. This is demonstrably false. It also discusses Muslim assimilation, persecution by Christians, and a recent poll of American Muslims.

10 AprilMuslims: Women guaranteed rights

This letter discusses the supposed rights of Muslim women under Sharia.

11 AprilAmerica: Democracy is not secularistic

This letter claims that democracy is not linked to secularism. This is only partially true. While there is no inherent connection between secularism and democratic values, there is a strong correlation in actual practice. Almost every threat to freedom today comes from a religious source, such as censorship and denial of civil rights to homosexuals.

18 April - America: Peaceful Muslims are welcome

This letter discusses Muslim terrorism in India and Spain, the incompatibility of the US Constitution and Sharia, and the willingness of the the United States to accept peaceful Muslims as immigrants.


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