“We are not at war with Islam”

Frank Pastore is a talk show host in Los Angeles. A recent column raises a number of thoughtful observations on those who believe that “we are at war with Islam.” Among his comments:

  1. Muslims and those of other religious traditions have managed to live peaceably with one another in many times and places.
  2. One must let the adherents of a tradition define what it means. Criticism should be directed at the behavior of people, not at their tradition. (see Interfaith Dialogue Commandment #5)
  3. Who speaks for a religious tradition, especially one with no hierarchy?
  4. What would “victory” in a war against Islam look like? Annihilation of all Muslims? Forced conversion? Pastore pointedly asks, “Now who”s the radical?”
  5. “We” are not at war with Islam, because Muslims are part of our “we.”
  6. And finally, “of the many things it means to be an American, it certainly means that you will fight for the political right of your neighbor to be theologically wrong; “that’s the Constitution.”
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