The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


August 15, 2012

Your Letters: Zero tolerance for violence or hatred

The burning of The Islamic Society of Joplin mosque appears to be an act of hatred which cannot be accepted at any level. Our tolerance must be great for freedom of individuals to practice religion, as long as it hurts no one else, but our tolerance must be zero for violence or hatred.

We must not rest comfortably blaming the violence on a crackpot or the lunatic fringe but we must be very careful about our own words and actions.

A quick Google of the world “Islam” shows how many prominent clergy and religious leaders proclaim Islam, not as one of the three great monotheistic religions it is, but as pagan, satanic or the anti-Christ.

To distort the great weight of historic evidence that Islam developed out of Judaism and Christianity to emphasize belief in the One God shared by all three religions, only demonstrates ignorance and prejudice.

This ignorance becomes deadly when preached in our pulpits. While these preachers may not be themselves burning down a mosque, it is easy to see how a devout follower of such a preacher is ready to commit acts of violence and destruction against what he has been taught is evil or satanic.

I would like to see a condemnation of the burning and an outpouring of love toward our brothers and sisters, the Muslims of Joplin, not only by the liberal religious institutions in Joplin but also by the more conservative, who may have inadvertently been promoting prejudice or hatred.

As Americans, we must join together to promote those freedoms which make us great. The terrorists of Sept. 11 intended to destroy our country by inciting fear, hatred, and divisiveness. The answer is but one: We must stand together united with love, peace, and tolerance to promote the freedoms which make our country great.

Stephen M. Fisher


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