Letters to the Editor

I’m a second-year medical student at UC Irvine, and I picked up an issue of the campus newspaper this morning to find an article titled ‘Islam Is Not a Peaceful Religion.’ In the article, the author actually argues that the fundamentals of Islam are based on violence, and goes on to say that any Muslim who practices the full extent of the teachings of Islam is a terrorist (see last paragraph). Wow! I am shocked and appalled that such an article is allowed in the paper, opinion or not. This is simply hate speech masked under an ‘opinion’ given with the disclaimer that ‘I personally love Muslim people, but their religion is a violent one.’

All of these conclusions are based on mis-citations of historical events. The author argues that all instances of aggression under other religions (in this case Hitler and Christianity) are a perversion of the religion, while the use of Islam by aggressors is representative of the religion. Without getting into how insanely wrong this individual is in his claim, I will get to the point of my letter.

I am writing because this is simply hate speech, and it was published by the campus paper. How can you possibly allow an article like this into the paper? I personally have no religious views, but I am appalled that any of this language got into the campus paper. The claims made in the article are unfounded and the last paragraph implies that the practice of Islam should be banned in the United States (yet the KKK can still legally hold rallies?) How can you let such misguided and hateful ideas be propagated through a campus newspaper? An opinion is one thing, but hate speech is another. Not only will I never pick up another issue of your newspaper (if it is so poorly run as to allow such trash to be published), but demand that you issue a formal apology and a retraction of this article. If you are training to be a journalist, you should make sure there is a valid basis for an article and that it is based on facts rather than misguided opinion and false accusations.

Pooya Javidan
UCI School of Medicine

I am writing regarding an article published in the UC Irvine student paper, titled ‘Islam Is Not a Peaceful Religion.’ I have to say, the article opened my eyes to a whole new aspect of my religion. I thought that I was a practicing Muslim, but apparently I am not since I have never been involved in any of the killing sprees that have occurred in this country or anywhere else for that matter. I guess, being a non-Westerner, I lacked the proper mental ability to figure that out for myself, and I am not the only one, since there are millions of Muslims in the U.S. not committing murders as they are supposed to.

Now that we agree on how evil Islam and Muslims are, we should concentrate on what to do to them. Jesse Nickles suggests making Islam illegal, like communism. I completely agree with this, but I hope he is suggesting this only as a first step. Given the history of this country and other Western countries, much more can be done. The Germans concentrated people they didn’t like in camps, Christian Americans placed Natives in reservations and deprived Africans of their freedom, white Australians almost completely wiped out the Aborigenes and Jewish Israelis cleared most Palestinians out of their land. And that’s not even mentioning what Western countries did to people they colonized all throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Like I said, Judeo-Christian history is full of examples of dealing with nonpeaceful people, and I think stopping at just making Islam illegal would be doing the future of America and its past injustice.

I am glad that Nickles pointed out that Thomas Jefferson actually fought Islamic injustice; I was under the impression his accomplishments were limited to taking land from the natives, enslaving Africans and sleeping with at least one of his slaves. Apparently, there is much more to Jefferson. I am glad that we can still follow his example when dealing with people who are different in the 21st century.

Finally, I would like to thank all the New University newspaper staff and editors for taking this first step to combating Muslims and Islam in America. Although publishing articles like this is only a small step, it’s a very important step in the right direction. History would show us that combating minorities in the West, whoever they were, Jews, Africans or Native Americans, starts off with vilification through the media. When tougher actions are taken against Muslims you can all be proud of yourselves.

Abulrahman Al-Kahtaly
fourth-year biology major
University of Southern California