Voice: Why aren't Muslim leaders teaching tolerance?

November 28, 2001

During the first day of Ramadan according to an article on AOL, mullahs were calling for the destruction of the United States, Israel and all enemies of Islam.

We are constantly being told of the peaceful nature of this great religion. Why such hatred? I am not particularly happy with suicide bombers; no one I know including myself, hates the terrorists' brothers, sisters or their relatives.

With a few exceptions Muslim leaders have been slow to condemn those who maim and kill in the name of Allah. Instead of being condemned and ostracized, these murderers are celebrated by their political and religious leaders and always without exception buried with honors and turned into martyrs.

On German television in June, Yasser Arafat made reference to the slaying of Israeli teen-agers at a disco as "heroic martyrdom operation" and to the suicide bombers as "models of manhood and sacrifice for Allah and the homeland."


Hundreds of editorials in Arab newspapers are calling for jihad. Like most people I have been glued to the television. On several occasions I have seen boys in fundamentalist schools being taught the Koran in Arabic, a foreign language to people from Afghanistan and Pakistan. How are these children going to get along in a modern world without reading, writing and math?

When interviewed these children, who have never seen an American, much less a television set, spewed out heartfelt hate toward the United States. What hope is there if this is how these countries are educating their young? We must somehow hold these political and religious leaders accountable.

On Nov. 19, President Bush held a state dinner for Muslim leaders to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. Since Sept. 11 there have been hundreds of hours of media explaining Islam. Our government and the media have done more than their share to educate us on Islam.

Why in the world aren't Muslim leaders making an effort to teach tolerance and acceptance of other people's views and cultures? If they were trying half as hard as we are to be accepting, there would be a much more favorable climate for peace.



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