YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

LETTERS : Islam and extremism

November 16, 2009

Re "Zero tolerance," Opinion, Nov. 12

Judith Miller and David Samuels contend that it is not Islam but Islamic heretic extremists who are our enemies. Are they really saying that they know Islam better than the millions of Muslims who follow the Koran's injunctions regarding the infidel? Can they cite any influential non-jihadi imams who have publicly condemned the "extremists"? Have they read the Koran?

Brad Scabbard

Woodland Hills


As typical American journalists, Miller and Samuels ignore the gorilla in the room. When the George W. Bush administration decided to unilaterally invade Iraq based on a falsehood, we also acted as an extremist group, killing thousands of innocents. Similarly, in Afghanistan, as we continue to blunder through a misguided war, innocents die.

Thus we too are extremists, only in our case it is "quality of life" that is our cult. It is a lifestyle dependent on artificially cheap fossil fuels and submissive foreign governments sustained by a weary workforce gypped by trickle-down promises.

Let's be clear: Jingoism is not an excuse for wanton death and bloodshed; nor is our own "ideological virus," the notion that Americans have the right to maintain a lifestyle subsidized by poverty. Certainly if a terrorist cult is defined as an extremist group moved to murderous violence because of an insane fanatical belief, Walt Kelly was right: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

Frederic E. Bloomquist

San Pedro


Miller and Samuels propose a new, right-wing type of "political correctness." According to these authors, this type of behavior is characterized by being quick to assign blame, ignorance, rank prejudice and "insidious racism."

Political correctness on the left is already well known and is acknowledged by the authors. It is characterized by being quick to excuse, identifying victims, seeking moral equivalence and "self-flagellation."

Is the idea that these two types cancel each other out?

Gene Lundy



Miller and Samuels do not go far enough. Only a small minority of Muslims favors violence to advance Islam; but a much larger minority (especially worldwide) favors Islamic states where Sharia would be law.

Governments should pursue the common good so that public order prevails despite differing opinion, even on theological issues. In the U.S., one such issue is availability of abortion, shaped by the religious views of a minority who dismiss factors that should guide public policy. It seems to be of little concern to them that the number of abortion-related injuries would increase by making abortion less available.

Recently, a Vatican official said the pro-choice Sen. Edward M. Kennedy should have been denied a Roman Catholic funeral. More recently, we heard from similar quarters that healthcare reform should increase the barriers to abortion, even if it results in more women going without health insurance.

On the contrary, we ought to base law on good public policy and shame those who would use religious coercion to try to get legislators to do otherwise.

John C. Nangle

West Hollywood

Los Angeles Times Articles