8/14/2010—Although I don’t usually agree with Charles Krauthammer, I consider him a reasonable and intelligent person. Thus it is with real dismay that I read today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Krauthammer’s column denouncing the plan to place a mosque near ground zero in NYC (“A mosque does not belong near Ground Zero”). If even he could write something so prejudiced, what hope is there for clear thinking?
Let’s start with the obvious. I just saw a list of 50 Muslims who were killed in the 9/11 attacks and I have read that there were many more. Most of these Muslims were Americans, like the majority of the nearly 3000 murdered that day. The crime of 9/11 was not Muslims killing non-Muslims. All of the victims were killed by terrorists, not by Islam. I hope no one would ever say that the victims of the IRA were killed by Catholicism.
America is not at war with Islam. How could we be at war with the religion of a billion and a half people? A social phenomenon that large cannot be defeated. All religions have been invoked at one time or another to justify violence. Islam is not unique in this regard. Is Krauthammer not aware of the blood on the hands of Christians and Jews? Buddhists and Hindus?
I don’t pretend to be an expert on Islam. But I don’t have to be. Islam has a long and glorious history. It is obviously not a fundamentally flawed institution. Opposition to the establishment of the State of Israel in an area previously inhabited by Muslims was bound to trigger tensions. It would have taken great statesmanship to avoid the bloody history that followed—a level of leadership that the two sides sadly lacked.
There will one day be peace in the Middle East between Muslim and Jew. When that blessed day finally comes, we will look back in horror at our ignorant and harsh words about one of the world’s great religions.