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Author Does Not Understand Islam

A reader states that Lorne Gunter's article, "I Was Only a Matter of Time," takes "a verbal stance quite equivalent to the physical stance taken by the alleged terrorists."

I read the article named above with interest and would like to respond.

I found this article troubling. At first, I said to myself, Okay, the writer isjust airing some personal views. I shouldn't take it seriously, etc. etc. But when I reached the end of the article and observed the author's qualifications: "columnist/ editorial writer for the National Post and a columnist for the Edmonton Journal," my eyes twitched.

First of all, from where does the author presume to know so assuredly the reasons behind the alleged terrorist plot? On the basis of what research does he conclude that these men and youths are motivated simply by religious zeal—a zeal that apparently, if we are to believe the article, is part and parcel of the faith to which they adhere? Of what practical use is it to disseminate opinions that are uninformed and inflammatory? Finally in this regard, had the author knowledge about (never mind alleged Canadian "tolerance for") Islam, he would not have represented Muslim daily ritual devotion in such a disparaging tone nor made the very blatant and fundamental error of suggesting that Muslims "bow to Muhammad."

Secondly, is trying to promote a particular agenda through this article? While I am not in the least suggesting that the strategies he is rejecting—more money for superficial expressions of multiculturalism—are of any serious value, I have even less confidence that inculcating a perception of Muslims and Islam as inherently and radically anti-democratic and unreflective, and tolerance a "Western notion" is any more insightful or beneficial. How does taking a verbal stance quite equivalent to the physical stance taken by the alleged terrorists demonstrate the values the author alleges to be so deeply embedded in the Canadian worldview?

Lastly, I would suggest that it is only when "the other" is perceived as human as the self that both self and other can together find viable solutions owned by both "sides." It appears to me that the lack of this perception is the fundamental flaw of the article. can do more, in my opinion, to reflect a deeper engagement with the values of our faith than what is expressed in this article.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.




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