In response to Brian Eller’s article (“Protest radical Islam not America,” April 11), I would like to say that I agree with his principle point; that radical Islam is a significant cause of the unrest in the Middle East.
However, there’s plenty of blame to go around on this front. Try the British and French, for example, who at the end of the colonial period drew up a map of the region and created countries without regard for ethnic and religious differences among the people they tried to cram together.
Try the United States, which not only supported brutal dictators such as the Shah, the kings of Saudi Arabia, and Saddam Hussein, but even gave Saddam his stockpile of chemical weapons. (How else could we be so sure he had them?)
The Middle East is screwed up, and radical Islam is primarily a response to that. It’s a response to colonial powers who ruled without knowledge, a response to dictators who slaughtered their own people, and a response to the diminishing power of clerics in an increasingly secular society (similar to, but more violent than, the religious backlash in our own country).
Personally, I liken radical Islam to a forest fire: It must be dealt with and fought off, but it only happened because you were stupid enough to leave your fire going all night.
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