Letters to the editor November 19

Letters to the editor November 19

RAC blasts Robertson on remark
(Editor’s note: The following is an open letter from Mark Pelavin, associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, to Rev. Pat Robertson expressing serious concerns about his recent anti-Islamic statement made on Robertson’s television show, “The 700 Club.”)

On behalf of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the largest stream of American Jewry in North America, I write to express our outrage at the remarks pertaining to Islam that you made on “The 700 Club” on Nov. 9.?
When speaking about this month’s tragic shooting at Ft. Hood, you referred to the alleged shooter’s religion, saying, “Islam … [is not] a religion, it’s a political system, a violent political system, bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination, that is the ultimate aim…and I think we should treat it as such and treat its adherents as such as we would members of the Communist party or members of some Fascist group.”
We understand and share your concern with Muslim extremists. Too often, they have blasphemed their own faith, just as extremist Jews and extremist Christians have done. The danger posed by those who resort to violence in the name of religion is real, and it does seem to have been a significant part of the story at Fort Hood. But, of course, that is not what you said.
Rather you made the outrageous and bigoted claim that Islam itself is the problem — and, in doing so, you denigrated the faith of some 1.5 billion people.
How disappointing to see a religious leader stoop to this level, attempting to delegitimatize one of the world’s great faiths based on the actions of someone who perverts its teachings. Do you not have any Muslim friends? Have you no Muslim colleagues? Have you never met a peaceful Muslim, someone with whom you might find common ground? If not, how sad.
One advantage of having your own television program is the opportunity to revisit your statements. I sincerely hope you will do so in this case.

Mark J. Pelavin
Washington, D.C.