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Professor Separates Fact From Dogma in Islam

January 06, 2002

Re "Battling Islamic 'Puritans,' " Jan. 2: I am part of a vast majority of U.S. Muslims appalled beyond words by 9/11 and the hijacking of our faith by technologically adept, theological barbarians and one-eyed, illiterate mullahs. UCLA law professor Khaled Abou El Fadl's scholarship challenges the drivel perpetuated in the name of religion. He also represents some of the best attributes of Islam: a patient rescuing of fact from dogma through serious, honest scholarship; an acceptance and celebration of the great diversity of creation, both human and animal; and above all an attitude that posits kindness and generosity of spirit toward others, not blind hatred and animosity.

To paraphrase the late Gilbert Murray of Columbia, professor Abou El Fadl walks gently in a world where the lights are dim and the very stars wonder.

Saeeda Wali Mohammed

Los Angeles

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Thanks to Teresa Watanabe for the fine article on Abou El Fadl. His efforts in battling the forces of shame, guilt and repression in Islam deserve our hearty congratulations and support.

We don't have to be reminded that puritanism also plagues Christianity. It is a major source of violence and crime in our own society. Many church people fail to heed the teachings of thinkers from Plato and Jesus to Walt Whitman that the erotic impulse is the foundation of our sociability and democratic freedoms (not guns!). If there is anything that science has taught us it is that aggression and intolerance can always be traced back to the denial of physical affection.

Abou El Fadl's work and Watanabe's article go a long way in helping all of us accept the central importance of love.

Bill DuBay

Costa Mesa

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If it weren't so sad, I'd laugh. Here's a smart, hard-working, very well-educated guy, Abou El Fadl, and he's spending his life convincing some superstitious people that black dogs aren't evil, women aren't impure and it's not good to be a murderous fanatic. And here's the funny part. He isn't doing it by observation, experiment, reason or logic. He's doing it by finding little passages written 1,400 years ago by some guy who knew less about the world than the average sixth-grader.

Can anything be more bizarre than religion?

Brent Meeker

Camarillo

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