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Re: Why is it like this?
by Leila Kheiry


October 01, 2004

The following was written by a close relative of mine who lives in the Middle East and chooses not to have his name used:

In response to Lily Katz's admonition to the one billion Muslims of the world that something is inherently wrong with their religion, I suggest Ms. Katz pay attention to the world around her with a less prejudiced eye.

Without a doubt, the United States of America is the greatest, most free country in the world, and is the gold standard against which other nations should be measured. With that in mind, Ms. Katz has dismissed all Muslim nations as backward and barbaric. Admittedly, compared to the U.S., Muslim nations have a way to go, especially if you're going to focus on their most egregious failings (as Ms. Katz enjoys doing). Let's cast a jaundiced eye toward non-Muslim newsmakers and see how they stack up: The Catholic church -- not a Muslim organization last I checked -- appears to be presided over by serial pedophiles, if you are to believe the news reports (and they would never portray anything in a distorted light, right, Ms. Katz?). And, in other non-Muslim news, China forces its own subjects to have abortions if they aren't authorized by the state to reproduce, and massacres hundreds of its citizens at a time for peacefully protesting against totalitarianism. Russia, another non-Muslim nation (whew!), is ruled by a former KGB spy who is quickly tearing down the nascent democracy that it had become. The supreme court of Israel (slogan: "the only democracy in the Middle East") ruled that torture of Palestinian detainees is legal, and that Palestinians can be grabbed and imprisoned for up to six months for no reason at all, a trick called "administrative detention." Similarly, let's say you're a Palestinian and your son is suspected (not proven, but suspected) by Israeli authorities of being a security threat - the Israeli Army will bulldoze your entire family's house. In India, a largely Hindu nation, an entire class of people labeled "the untouchables" are so reviled by their own citizens that nobody would stop to help one if they were dying in the street.

I'll readily admit that Muslim nations have work to do before I'll consider them progressive. But Ms. Katz's contention is that there is something wrong with Muslims. Unfortunately, her views -- and those of many like her -- are based on the fact that the U.S. media pick out the worst, most sensational problems in Muslim nations and broadcast them worldwide. Ms. Katz's argument is idiotic. If the media reported on the rest of the world like it does on Muslim nations, her biases would be as obvious to everyone else as they are to me and others who take the time to pay attention to the big picture.


Leila Kheiry
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

Why is it like this? by Lily Katz - Seattle, WA


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