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Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 20, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Middle East: State-sponsored intolerance is occurring

What is wrong with Islamic societies today is epitomized by this statement: “When a person comes out and promotes his heresy, promotes his debauchery and justifies his apostasy on the basis that Islam is not good … the judiciary will get him.” [“Is Muslim violence product of theology or Arab states?” Nation & World, Jan. 8]. It was not a terrorist saying this, but a former Egyptian government minister.

It was not extremists who put out a decree to kill Salman Rushdie for writing “The Satanic Verses.” It is not extremists who used the United Nations as a forum to call on a worldwide ban on blasphemy. It is not extremists who last week administered 50 lashes to a man — and has sentenced him to 950 more, plus 10 years in jail — for “insulting Islam.” The number of Islamic countries that criminalize apostasy: 23 (including several that make it a capital offense). The number of non-Islamic countries that do: zero.

Until these countries can advance out of this 17th century thinking, they will continue to be fertile ground for those whose fanatical devotion to their religion is not bound by any moral constraints whatsoever. Intolerance breeds intolerance.

Robert Rosen, Auburn

Comments | More in Middle East | Topics: Arabs, Egypt, Islam

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