Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 7, 2013 at 7:32 AM

Forget race; fear extremism

State purpose, not religion

I object to the overuse of the terms “Islamic extremist” and “Islamic terrorist.” These terms are misleading and inflammatory [“Extremism has no race,” Opinion, June 2].

The terms imply that the people who commit these acts of violence are actually following the ideals and teachings of Islam. This is not so. Islam teaches peace, tolerance of nonbelievers, charity, and forgiveness — teachings similar to the teachings of Christianity and all other major religions.

The terms also foster fear of a particular group of people and misunderstanding about an entire religion. A more accurate description of these violent people would be “political fanatics” or “moral terrorists.”

If you insist on using Islam in your description, then be fair and evenhanded when describing other religions. For example, if using religion as a descriptor for any action, a nonbiased reporter would use terms such as “Christian extremist” and “Christian terrorist” to describe the bombing of abortion clinics and death threats against abortionists.

But “Christian terrorist” may be too inflammatory and misleading. The use of the term anti-abortionist makes a statement about purpose rather than labeling an entire religion. Can it not be so for the so-called “Islamic” extremists? Wouldn’t a statement about their purpose be more accurate? How about “anti-American fanatic” or “anti-occupation terrorist” or “angry extremist” instead? Or how about, more simply and more accurately, “political fanatic?”

Rebecca Alder, Renton

Comments | Topics: discrimination, extremism, Islam

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►