Islam and 'fundamentalism'
Madam, - I refer to an article published in your newspaper last Monday, April 26th, by the former Labour Party Minister, Justin Keating. Mr Keating is also described as president of the Irish Association of Humanists.
My principal objection to Mr Keating's article is when he talks about "the fundamentalism of George W. Bush or Bin Laden or the Likud Party in Israel". I was under the illusion that the US Republican Party and Israel's Likud party were democratically accountable parties which have enjoyed terms of elected office, and terms as main opposition parties. On the other hand Bin Laden heads a clandestine organisation whose stated aim is mass murder of as many innocent Western civilians as possible - Muslims included.
In fairness to Mr Keating, he is by no means the only person who struggles to spot this difference. Perhaps he might want to compare a year lived in America or Israel with one spent in the company of some trainee Al-Qaeda foot soldiers. Alas, he can no longer try life in Taliban Afghanistan.
He also states that "the huge mess of the Near and Middle East" is of Western making. Now there's a sweeping statement - and a half. It's all the West's fault, and no doubt any atrocity carried out is merely a reaction to the West's meddling. This is the same cancerous bilge that now infects Ireland, and other countries. No crime, no atrocity, no outrage is ever the perpetrators' fault. Blame society, blame the West, blame history - it's not my fault. Some of us happen to believe that adults are responsible for their actions; that's what should mark us out as adults.
To the claim that Islamic societies are "in extremely rapid evolution" I would state that many are going backwards, fast or are close to collapse. Muslim peoples are voting with their feet, and heading to the free and wealthy West. The UN says that Muslims make up 70 per cent of the world's migrants, but they make up only about 20 per cent of the world's population.
Finally, Mr Keating recommends we try loving Muslims. Does he want us to love all Muslims? I have several good friends who happen to be Muslims. However, I have no intention of ever loving the islamo-fascist, hate-filled bigots who, I believe represent the greatest threat to Western liberty since the end of the Cold War. It was force that defeated fascism. It was the threat of force that kept Communism out of Western Europe, and eventually that too collapsed. In the week of the expansion of the world's first democratic empire, I believe that our freedoms will be taken from us if we are not prepared to fight for them - literally, if necessary. - Yours, etc.,
GERARD KELLY, Orwell Gardens, Rathgar, Dublin 6.