Letter: Wrong idea about Islam

This letter is in response to, “Be cautious about rights” (Lima News 2/10/17). I would like to make a couple of points.

First, the overall tone of the letter does not encourage discussion of differences – sometimes serious differences - in an effort to achieve greater mutual understanding and, hopefully, sufficient common ground to serve as a basis for joint action for the common good of all. In any society, failure to do that can only lead to chaos.

Secondly, the article makes a couple of statements that simply are not true. Muslims are not obliged to force everyone to observe sharia. Strictly speaking, sharia is not a legal system. It is a statement of principles and guidelines for Muslims, developed over the centuries and still evolving, on how to live out their faith in the various cultures and societies in which they find themselves. The purpose Is for Muslims both to be true to their faith, while contributing to the flourishing of the society in which they find themselves. One only need look to the Muslim community in Lima – and elsewhere, I am sure – to see that this is happening.

It is not true that electing a Muslim to office would abandon religious freedom. A fundamental tenet of Islam is that there is to be no force in matters of religion (see, for example, Quran , Surah 2, 256). A recent statement by CAIR is appropriate here: “We condemn terrorism whenever it happens, wherever it happens, whoever commits it… Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

We need to stop looking at Islam through the distorting lens of Middle East Violence.

Al O’Dell, Kalida