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Letter: Non-Muslims are not infidels

By Terry Morrison, Worthington

The Sunni-versus-Shiite war in Syria and Iraq reminds me of the Catholic versus Protestant war in Northern Ireland. Yet there is a glaring difference. Mr. Mohamed Sharif spoke of bigoted and racist views in this paper recently. I appreciate that, but wonder if his assertion of 1.4 billion Muslims in the world is a good thing.

I recall that battles and bombings in Northern Ireland had steady and strident calls for peace from Christian leaders during their conflict. In addition, I don’t recall mass executions, kidnapping of innocents, beheadings, acid in the faces of girls going to school and the routine declaration that women must cover-up, avoid education and (in my view) accept second-class-citizen status.

Where are the voices of Muslim leaders within that 1.4 billion? Why aren’t thousands of Muslims marching in protest against the kidnapping of their women with the threat of sale as sexual slaves? To me silence is affirmation, and it’s wrong. Granted, we see Western news as presented by the view from here. Yet, I believe if there were mass protests against this extremist element of the Muslim religion, we’d be hearing about it.

We tend to remember statements like “martyrs go instantly to heaven” and “non-Muslims are indeed infidels.” That bothers me greatly. I have limited patience with labels and feel there’s a bigoted component to my assignment as an infidel. I think of the great Dr. Martin Luther King. He lead a Christian-fueled movement to help change the course of history for African Americans in this country. He went to jail numbers of times and died for his beliefs. Where is the Mullah in the 1.4 billion Muslims who is speaking loudly against the terrible actions of their extremists, and why is that voice silent?