LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t let shooting foment anti-Muslim sentiment

By Rabbi Henry Hay Karp, Originally posted in the Quad-City Times

Now that it has been reported that U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspected shooter in the Fort Hood attack, was a devout Muslim who supposedly shouted “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire, we can brace ourselves for another spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric and activity across our nation and perhaps even in our own community.

Before we permit ourselves to slip into that dark chasm of prejudice, I wish to call upon all of us to stop, take a breath, and remind ourselves that it is the essence of bigotry to brand an entire group by the actions of one of its members. While it may turn out that Nidal Hasan performed his dire deed out of his vision of what it means to be a Muslim, such a vision is not shared by the overwhelming majority of Muslims in America.

We must never forget that most American Muslims speak of Islam as a religion of peace and they sincerely mean it.

Of all nations, ours more than any other should value the quality of ethnic, religious and racial diversity, for it was upon such diversity that we were founded and built. We need to remember that in the coming days, as the tale of the tragedy of Fort Hood continues to unfold.

Rabbi Henry Jay Karp, Davenport