I am pleased to see that President Obama held a dinner in acknowledgement of the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan, which began on August 11. He is probably the first U.S. president to do so. And though I can understand the almost overwhelming opposition to his support of the building of a mosque near Ground Zero, I don’t oppose it. It was not Islam that committed the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001–it was extremists. And these extremists directly disregarded Muslim teachings– in attacking unarmed men, and especially women and children. Islam is the newest of the major religions of the world–and it is also the least understood, in the primarily-Christian West. In fact, Muhammad drew heavily on Christian and Jewish teachings, in his writing of the Qur’an.
I am not a member of any organized religion–I have a faith of my own. So I don’t favor Islam, over all other religions. But I have become somewhat familiar with it, through Muslim friends, and from personal study. And my only request of fellow Americans–who are largely misinformed about Islam–is that they learn more about it, from reasonably non-biased sources. A good place to start is with the books of Huston Smith, an expert on world religions, in general.