There must not be an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian or anti-Moslem backlash in our country. The Moslem Faith is a rich and profoundly civilizing one; it offers as valid a journey toward God as the other world religions. It has a very different viewpoint toward certain things than other religions, most especially in the way it defines the social roles of men and women, and this is hard for non-Moslems to understand or accept.

But it does not advocate the kind of brutality and evil that are being enacted in its name.

Arab communities and individuals in the United States are experiencing terror and hurt right now, simply as a result of their racial and/or religious background. This is evil, and we must not tolerate it. It should be remembered, for example, that the Palestinians in Israel have a very legitimate complaint: they have been methodically confined into a small part of a country that was entirely theirs until just a generation ago.

This is not to say that we do not have equally legitimate reason to support Israel, but only that the Palestinian argument is also compelling and deserving of respect. Their suffering is very real, and they have as much a right to a just solution as the Israelis.

Beyond that, though, we must resist the temptation to lash out blindly at Arabs in general, and most especially Arab citizens and residents of our country.

The fundamentalist Islam that we hear so much about on the radio and television is not the Islam embraced by true Moslems.The outright cruelty to women, the violence, the willingness to commit suicide in order to hurt others–these are not Moslem, but rather a form of madness that has nothing to do with the Koran.

To learn more about Islam, click here.

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