A couple of good letters to the editor, both published in the Arizona Republic:
Muslim reactions misinterpreted (17 February 2006)
It sickens me that people are comparing the reaction of outrage by the Islamic community at the satirical depiction of the Prophet Mohammed to the lack thereof at the beheadings of Caucasians by Islamic extremists.
Apparently it has never occurred to these people that the vast majority of Muslims strongly decry the actions of the terrorists who profess to act in the name of Allah. People weren't rioting in the streets at the execution of kidnapped tourists because they don't consider - and correctly so - the terrorists to even be of the same religion as themselves.
On the other hand, the prohibitions on depictions of Mohammed in any medium is part of the core of Islamic doctrine, so it is equally absurd to make any comparisons, for example, to the lack of a violent reaction by the Christian community to blasphemous depictions of Christ.
Also, in addition to the depictions that incited the rioting, I wouldn't be surprised if the Islamic community were strongly offended by the seeming inability of us Westerners to distinguish between the true, pacifist believers in Islam and the raving lunatics who have been made into a racist generalization by the majority of us over recent years.
- Jesse Hannah, Tucson (The writer is 16.)
Seeing reality of Islamic protest (20 February 2006)
The letter by 16-year-old Jesse Hannah is a balanced perspective of Muslim response to the degrading caricatures of their prophet by Danish cartoonists ("Muslim reactions misinterpreted," Letters, Friday)
As such, it stands in contrast to the steady stream of syndicated columns that evidence their composers' basic inability - or unwillingness - to see the issue from the Muslim side (See Kathleen Parker column, "Re: Free speech - see A. Gore," Opinions, Friday).
I am not a Muslim nor particularly pro-Islam but, like Hannah, I have allotted enough effort to the subject to avoid the misconceptions, inherently biased or not, perpetrated by so many pundits.
- A. Wayne Senzee, Phoenix