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Letters to the Editor

A response to Wesselhoft

Chris Reiger November 9th, 2011

Rep. Paul Wesselhöft’s letter (“Rep. Paul Wesselhöft questions Islamophobia,” Oct. 5, Gazette) struck me as very ironic. His attempt to defend himself against charges of being Islamophobic and ill-informed demonstrated that he is both.

He takes offense at the fact that a mosque might be built close to Ground Zero. To me, this says that he believes Islam, and Muslims in general, are to blame for terrorism, rather than blaming the relatively small group of extremists who actually committed the crime. This is like taking offense at Christianity because of the actions and “Christian” rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan. This is Islamophobic.

He wonders why some Arabs cheered when they saw America being attacked. I think he is unaware of some legitimate reasons for anger at America in the Middle East. The biggest single reason is our unwavering support for Israel.

I was personally sympathetic toward Israel until I found out the simple fact that the Jewish population of Palestine was as low as 5 percent, but began to increase significantly at the end of the 19th century, when the British established a “Jewish homeland” in their newly acquired colony of Palestine. Since the early Middle Ages, the people and culture of Palestine had been Arabic, almost exactly as long as England has been English.

Unlike most Americans, every Arab knew this and could not understand why part of their ancient homeland should be given to Jews from all over the world with the only justification being that the Jews had had a kingdom there 2,000 years before.

Think of the American reaction if Oklahoma was taken by force to be given to the descendants of a people that had lived here 2,000 years ago! Rep. Wesselhöft is apparently ill-informed about the Arab point of view on this subject, or he would not be surprised at their anger.

—Chris Reiger
Oklahoma City

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11.09.2011 at 07:08 Reply

You might have a point about Israel.  Though I maintain that those who took pleasure in the 9/11 attacks did so because of the economic inequity of the world.  While many of us have financial struggles of our own, it's easy to look at the US and many other countries as oulent compared to many middle eastern countries.  If my family and I were living in a hovel and toiling in fields all day never knowing what it's like to take time off, or do anything recreationally, I think I'd get pretty mad.

If I'm right, who is to say.  But I do know that more stupid wars have been waged over religious pissing contests than any other reason  So your theory does hold water in my book.