Chicago Tribune: Freedom of religion

“A crucible for secularism,” by Tom Hundley was an incendiary piece of journalism that offends the ideals of a pluralistic society, and characterizing religious people – both Muslim and Christian – in a negative light (Page 1, June 19). The tone of the article uses the classic “us versus them” schoolyard tactic to pit Islam and Christianity as competing for the supremacy of Europe and then dismisses both as thorns in the side of secularism.

Hundley effectively maligns Islam as a “scruffy,” “masculine” immigrant menace that is “eager for converts” and soon to overrun all of Europe, supporting these assertions with extremist quotes from “experts” such as Bernard Lewis and George Weigel. Such sources’ true convictions are easily ascertained. Lewis’ discriminatory view of the outside world is apparent from the fact he first coined the divisive phrase, “clash of civilizations,” while Weigel has been financially tied to the CIA and the Iran-Contra scandal, casting to his agenda into question.

Hundley’s propensity for sensational misrepresentation is crowned by the only Muslim voice represented…an illegal immigrant. Rachid, an unfortunate product of globalization hailing from Morroco (a former French colony), could not even disclose his last name for fear of deportation. Surely Hundley could have found a more established source to represent Muslims in this piece, perhaps even one who could divulge his full name.

Hundley gives the impression he supports some type of secular Crusade against Islam, but it must not be forgotten that the goal of a free society is to secure the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Sultan Muhammad
Communications Coordinator
Council on American-Islamic Relations – Chicago

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