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

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