I appreciate Professor David Carlson’s thoughtful remarks found on the opinion page of the Daily Journal Sept. 27. He offers valuable insights into the current religious and political events, but I am uncomfortable with how he has framed the issue.
The facts available almost immediately after Sept. 11 contradict the assertion that a film mocking Islam initiated the riots or attacks on our embassies. The film protest was a pretext on a politically significant day. The movie was released six months ago. It was used as a smokescreen for violent actions against the United States, organized by Muslim terrorist thugs. No public protest was reported by Al Jazeera or any other news organization until the anniversary of Sept. 11.
Especially among the uneducated and easily swayed populations of frustrated and underemployed people, declaring the existence of the film on Sept. 11 was sufficient to create the outrage. Could Egypt or Libya extend tolerance from their perspective of religious freedom if we invaded their embassies here and raised a Christian flag, if we scraped up some old Muslim’s written defamatory comments about Christians and Jews to justify our actions?
Freedom of expression and religious freedom mean different things to different people. While our president was off-task explaining our fundamental rights before the United Nations, I believe he did a commendable job in doing so. But most Muslims already know this. Some of them despise us for it, as they protect their religion from open debate, criticism and competing beliefs.