Sunday, October 07, 2007

Muslim Study in Anchorage Welcomed, but Questioned

An article in the Sunday (7 October 2007) Anchorage Daily News covered a project designed to educate Alaskans about Muslims. After reading it, I couldn't help myself. I wrote a letter to the editor. Following is an expanded version with hyperlinks.

I welcome the Alaska Pacific University project designed to help Alaskans understand Muslims. It is easy to think of these wonderful people as bloodthirsty jihadis, and that would be wrong.

Nevertheless, in the “puncturing of myths” it is important that new ones not be perpetuated. The article suggested the project was important “So that [people] don't go around thinking Muslims worship another god.”

The reality is that Muslims DO “worship another god”. Even a casual comparison of the Qur’an with the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity shows great differences between Allah and YHWH (Jehovah) / Jesus. Just because Allah means “god” in Arabic does not mean that Muslims worship the God of Jews and Christians.

The project did not inspire me with it’s accuracy in another area as well: “Westerners have a long history of prejudice, suspicion and fear of Islam going back thousands of years.” Islam is only 14 centuries old, not thousands. There are reasonable grounds for suspicion and fear of Islam given the bloody conquest of Christian North Africa and nearly constant and very bloody jihad against Christian Europe for hundreds of years following that.

Be that as it may, it is good that we learn to understand Muslims and see them as they really are today. I only hope that the material presented is more accurate than that portrayed in the article.

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