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The Islamic sword and the peaceful prophet

October 02, 2006

Re "Islamism, not Islam, is the foe," Opinion, Sept. 27

Max Boots writes that the prophet Muhammad spread Islam by sword. This is baseless. In several hadith [a narrative], the prophet stated that there is no compulsion in religion. If memory serves me correctly, Christianity didn't always convert people peacefully. Remember the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition? Weren't Jews and Muslims compelled to convert or die?

NABIL ABU SOFAR

Rancho Park

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Boot and many others are correct in stating that whatever our faults, Islamic reaction to our faults is over the top, both the barbaric acts of the extremists and their tolerance by the moderates. However, we still have to deal with the Islamic problem rather than play with words.

As the National Intelligence Estimate points out, the invasion of Iraq has fomented extremism. We need to find a policy that divides the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, separating the extremists from the rest rather than uniting them with a common cause. I doubt that this White House is able to change its policies, so I believe that it is urgent to upset the GOP majority in Congress, and I say this as a Republican.

MICHAEL STRONG

Corona del Mar

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Boot accurately states that "it would be a mistake to conclude that the woes of Islamic society today ... are endemic to the religion itself." Boot contradicts his reasoning when he insinuates Muhammad with the sword. It's convenient to blame the pathologies of any society on its religions, however, the proverbial sword of the Byzantine era manifests in deadlier forms today, whether they be bombs, cluster bombs or napalm.

NEL IVANCICH

Mountain Center, Calif.

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