Blame fanatics, not religion, for atrocities

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2001

It embarrasses me that in more than 60 years we have apparentlynot learned a thing.

In the midst of World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americanswere ousted from their way of life because Japan had bombed PearlHarbor. By the time they were released, many families had beenseparated and nearly all of the captives had lost their homes,businesses and way of life.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, a group of Muslim extremistfundamentalists rammed two commercial jetliners into the WorldTrade Center, bringing down the twin towers, and plowed a thirdplane into the Pentagon. Thousands were killed.

In retaliation, people across the nation have begun pointingtheir fingers and placing blame on Muslims and people of MiddleEastern-descent. Mosques have been firebombed, businessesvandalized and Muslims beaten.

My God, someone please tell me we learned something in the past60 years. Surely in America, one nation under God, we have themoral strength to resist succumbing to what is best termed as actsof terrorism against fellow Americans.

It may be that America has learned it can’t gather up allAmericans of a certain descent and confine them to cages, but ifpeople continue to do so individually have we reallyprogressed?

Islam, like Christianity, is essentially a peaceful religion. Itis only those who can be termed fanatics that prove to bedangerous. And that could be said of any religion.

A quick glance through the annals of history will show that noreligion is without fanatics who have perpetrated atrocities in itsname. It is the misguided souls of the fanatics that must be blamedfor these atrocities, not the religion.

I believe Americans as a whole find these acts against Muslimsand others of Middle Eastern-descent as deplorable as I do, but itonly takes a few bad apples to spoil the crop. Let’s remove the badapples and leave the tree intact.

Scott Tynes covers Lawrence County for The Daily Leader.Write to him at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss. 39602.