DeBlog: Sound Off On U.S. Attitudes Towards Islam

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

I knew last night’s Good Question would generate some reaction, as we looked at whether American attitudes towards Muslims were fair. 40 percent of Americans think that Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, that’s up from 25 percent after the 9/11 attacks.

Here’s some of the e-mail I’ve received:

“In order to balance the picture of a weeping Ellison, you should have mentioned the peaceful muslims of Lockerbie, the peaceful muslims who are executing Coptic Christians in Egypt, the peaceful muslims who are killing Anglican Christians in Africa, the peaceful muslim of Fort Hood, the peaceful muslims of Somalia who are pirates on the high seas, the peaceful muslims of Minnesota who send the sons to Africa to join terrorist groups, and finally the peaceful muslims of 9-ll. Yes, Jason, I too am weeping.” — John Winslow

“It seemed to me tonight that you went out of your way to minimize Muslim world wide terrorism as any real threat to the US and counter balanced it with so called Christian terrorists (a handful of abortionists) and some unspecified Jewish terrorism…and then the attempt to compare present congressional hearings as similar to McCarthyism was pathetic…Your expert was hardly an expert…where do you find some of them…I was there when McCarthyism was in full swing and I can say that this is not even remotely close to those days.” — Stanton Berg

Many have challenged me to come up with a list of Christian or Jewish terrorism that compares to the history of terrorism committed by Muslims. To me, that’s not really the point. The issue is whether today, or over the last decade, the entire Muslim faith deserves to be painted with such a broad brush. The other question — which is somewhat provocative — is whether we are overstating the risk of extremists who are Muslim.

Why is it that we call these people Muslim extremists, but we don’t call Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church “Christian Extremists”? We just call them extremists and crazies. Why don’t we use the same standard with these terrorists?

“Hey there…I thought you did a darn good job with a brief piece on a complex topic.” — Kevin Shannon

“Thanks a lot for your ‘good question’ regarding Islam. Sincerely. I’m not Muslim myself, but I have a lot of Muslim friends and they have told me that they feel very, very prejudiced almost every day.. In America, this simply should not be the case. If we’re a country of freedom, then prejudice is not at all what we should be spreading. Islam is not only a religion of peace, it is also tied closely with Christianity. For example: In the Old Testament of the Bible, the word used for God is ‘Eloh’. This word gave etymological birth to the Arabic word ‘Allah’. To see otherwise upstanding Christian Americans giving such an awful name to their spiritual brothers is… well, it’s heartbreaking.” — David Backe

More from Jason DeRusha
  • jon

    Every Muslim I know is very kind and considerate. I work in a place where I am in contact with them all the time. The media definitely gives them a bad name because of the extremists and it really irritates me when people (Middle aged people or slightly older seem to be the worst offenders) rant about them like every single one of them wants to bomb us.

    • Pat

      Jon, your comment is exactly the comments given by people who worked with the 9-11 terrorists. He seemed like such a nice guy, he always brought everyone coffee, he was so nice, etc…

      • JTD

        I don’t think too many people were saying Mohammed Atta was a nice guy who brought everyone coffee.

  • mike

    We see the majority of Americans speak out against those kooks at Westboro Baptist church. I think if it were up to the general public these idiots would have a battle on their hands.The government says they are in the right though. As far as extremists muslims go why don’t we see more good muslims speaking out against the extremists or are they and we are not seeing this because the media isn’t reporting it?

    • max

      Regarding your point about good Muslims speaking out– I think it’s important to remember that the vast majority of Muslims are regular people going about their daily lives. There are cultural differences among people of every religion, so while some Muslims are easily distinguished by the way they dress, many look like any other Minnesotan. What I’m trying to say is, Islam itself is not an evil force out to destroy us. The fact that Muslims are around us every day doing the same things as us is a testament to that fact. It’s time to stop viewing them as the “other” and acknowledge them as part of Minnesota’s cultural fabric.

      • Patriot

        Another liberal socialist out to destroy our way of life! Why do you hate America so much that you aid and comfort our deadliest enemies?

      • max

        I wonder if you even read what I said, Patriot. Have you ever known a Muslim on a personal level? Every Muslim I have ever known loves America, even in the face of indefensible discrimination. The fact that you would immediately make ridiculous assumptions about me says a lot about the anti-Muslim mindset.

      • fitswell

        max why don’t you go live there please …

      • max

        Live where? In MN with all the peaceful American Muslims? I already do!

  • Johan

    Don’t compare Christian terrorists to Muslims. We call out and punish any “Christian” who commits terroristic acts. Every Muslim shown on the news after 9/11 were celibrating in the streets shooting guns in the air.

    • Jason DeRusha

      Johan, might the celebration be more coming from the Arab perspective… the anti-US, anti-colonial, anti-Saudi Arabia perspective…. rather than the Muslim perspective?

      And maybe you missed Iran having a vigil for the 9/11 dead:

      • WhatUpJason

        I am honstly asking from an ignorance stand point…what is the differnece between the Arab perspective and the Muslim perspective? I’ve always viewed them as the same thing. I do realize all Arabs are not Muslim…but the majority are (i think). Plus i thought the majority of Arab states are governed by Muslim Law? If you can help expand my knowledge, it would be much appreciated.

      • Jason DeRusha

        OK, England is largely a country made up of the Anglican Church, right? If people from England decided it hated the US and started attacking, we wouldn’t call those Anglican Terrorists. They do it because they’re from England.

        This way any Anglicans who live in the US aren’t tarnished by being Anglican terrorists.

        That’s the concept.

  • captainobvious

    just another useless group of freeloaders, wh ocares if some are decent people, my taxes still help them live here, i just thk god none live near me

  • WhatUpJason

    Dear Jason,

    First of all, I think you are right about one thing. Jewish, Muslim, Christian….religion has been the basis for some of the worst atrocities known to man.

    To answer your question: Do all Muslims deserve to be painted with such a wide brush…no. But does that mean we have to overlook the tens of thousands of Muslims who hate America & the West because we don’t want to offend the good ones!?! No…and that were we disagree.

    Trying to insinuate that the fundamental Muslims teachings don’t contradict the basic American values and way of life is just ignorant. We cannot be obtuse to the fact that the Muslim religion is NOT a friend of the west.

    Remember when you wrote your article about why Somalia’s come here? Did you read those comments? These Muslims (based on the first hand experience of your viewers) don’t want to assimilate. Unlike the Mexicans, Hmong, Russian’s, etc….these Muslims are fundamentally opposed to the way we live here in American. And I challenge you to view this as different than plane old xenophobia on your viewers part. I don’t believe that is the case…I believe the USA and Muslims are diametrically opposed in their fundamental beliefs. And as history shows…when two groups are as far apart as us and the Muslims….peace is hard to find.

    I for one will not stand idly by, holding my tongue and not speaking the truth because it might offend some of the decent Muslims. If you are a decent Muslims, please know my comments are not directed at you. But your Muslims brothers, for lack of a better words, are ruining it for the rest of you…take notice and stand up!!

    Ps…your note of Iran having a vigil for the 9/11 dead is a Joke. Did you hear that everyone…Iran had a vigil…guess its all clear to come out…comeon Jason!!!

    • max

      You agree that Muslims don’t deserve to be painted with such a wide brush, and yet you have done just that.

      I would be interested to know which fundamental Muslim teachings contradict American values–and which American values, at that.

      Further, you cite the despicable racist comments on a story about Somalians as evidence that they are anti-American. Most of the comments were along the lines of, “They smell bad, the government gives them like, tons of free money, and also I hate ’em!” — Hardly damning evidence, in my opinion.

      • WhatUpJason

        Max you make good points.

        To answer your fist question: Ever heard of Sharia!! Living my Islamic law is a FUNDAMENTAL teaching of Muslims. So are you suggesting that Sharia and American values are compatable!?!

        Second: Maybe you have a good point about the somolian comments..maybe not. In my expericne they are fundamentally different fromt he other waves of immigration we have experience in this state…and i know i’m not alone.

      • max

        I agree with you that Sharia law, followed literally, is not compatible with American values. However, no Muslim I have known has followed it literally. Just as in any religion, followers interpret sacred texts and laws differently.

        I also agree, to an extent, that Somalian immigrants can be different from Native Minnesotans. They’re not exactly stoic Scandanavians, and that certainly presents challenges. But that’s life–we all will interact with people who are very different than us.

      • Respect4Max

        Max…I totally respect you and agree with a lot of your comments. I too know several Muslims, whom nobody would have any idea of their religious convictions based on looks alone. They too love America…they are just like me and you in every regard. Yes…Islam is not evil. But it is just like Christianity…at its purest form, it’s a very good, peaceful, loving religion. But you get all sorts of kooks who manipulate the message to serve their own desires. At the end of the day we are all screwed. The human race is hell bent on destroying itself. No longer is moderation and consideration of others opinions a desirable trait. Nope (and the media is a lot at fault), people tend to group together with like-minded individuals, which only serves to further polarize their viewpoints. It is the Glen Becks, Bill O’Rielly, who glamorize this idiocracy. I for one, am extremely grateful my life takes place in this time. Humans are too primitive to handle the level of sophistication of our technology. We will use it to destroy ourselves. And it won’t be Muslims or Christians to blame…it will be the human race.

    • GH

      Well said

      • GH

        That is directed to What Up Jason. I have worked first hand with these people as well and they way they treated me was horrible.

      • max

        Was it because they were Somalian? Have you never been mistreated by a white person?

  • Jason DeRusha

    That was in response to the comment that ALL Muslims were celebrating 9-11. That statement is demonstrably false.

  • pat

    Sharia Law? Where are the women’s rights groups? I hope to establish a group with funds to help all Muslim women get away from that horrific way of life.

  • seneurfifurge

    научих много

    • the point

      Speak english, otherwise, no one cares.

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