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Yniguez's inflammatory rhetoric must stop

June 03, 2002

Rudy Yniguez's column titled: "Democrats + Environmentalists = death in New York" serves to foster hatred, divide our community and propagate ignorance about one of the world's great religions and its adherents.

His reference to violence as being integral to Islam is shameful. Statements like "George Bush should have declared martial law, rounded up all Middle Easterners …" are prejudicial and inflammatory. They are indicative of a misguided paranoia that has gripped our country. Perhaps we should round up all young Caucasian men after we found out the "smiley face" bomber fit that description! Maybe all biologists should have been imprisoned after the anthrax attacks surfaced.

His generalizations about Islam and Muslims remind of children quarrelling with each other. Claims like "the next Muslim attack" and "a solution to the Muslim problem" serve only to defame Islam and Muslims and to foster hatred toward millions of innocent Muslim Americans.

These claims are an example of superfluous knowledge and deep-seated paranoia. There is no "Muslim problem" as Mr. Yniguez deduces. Rather he and his like suffer from a problem of ignorance, hatred and xenophobia. This inflammatory rhetoric must stop. It is far more important for various segments of our community to have an open, honest dialogue in which members of different faiths understand and respect each other.

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OMARAN ABDEEN, M.D.

Council on American Islamic Relations

San Diego

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