Peace activist should apologize 

In "Wesselhöft should take a deep breath" (Letters, Sept. 8, Gazette) regarding a previous letter from state Rep. Paul Wesselhöft, Nathaniel Batchelder, director of The Peace House, claims that the "proposed Islamic community center in New York is at least two blocks away from Ground Zero (it's not 'at' Ground Zero, as Beck and Wesselhöft claim). Neither location can be seen from the other. The connection is contrived by Muslim-bashers ... "

Contrived? The original building on the proposed site was totaled by the landing gear from the jet Muhammad Atta flew into the World Trade Center. By Batchelder's logic, the connection between a shooting and a dead bystander is "contrived" and the bystander's body is not "at" the shooting. Batchelder has criticized the war in Iraq because of its connection to "bystanders shot or bombed by mistake," yet when a building is destroyed in an attack on Ground Zero, Batchelder claims the building's connection to Ground Zero is "contrived." Batchelder also claims that, "The 9/11 terrorist attack on America was political, not religious."

Consider these "political, not religious" words in a fatwa from Osama bin Laden in 1998: "We " with Allah's help " call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with Allah's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it." Bin Laden calls Muslims to "kill the Americans and their allies " civilians and military" by quoting the Quran ("fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them") and Muhammad ("I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped"). In the past 12 years of working full-time for justice and peace, did Batchelder ever read this fatwa? Or does he think its connections to 9/11 and Islam are also "contrived?"

Batchelder claims "Glenn Beck and other Fox personalities" use "slanderous assertions about President Obama: that he is a Muslim (he's not), that he got it from his father (an atheist who deserted the family when Barack was a very young child), that he was born in Kenya... ."

I invite Batchelder to document Beck asserting any of this. A few minutes on the Internet reveal that Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly have all ridiculed the claim that Obama was born in Kenya. Beck and Sean Hannity have repeatedly stated on the radio that they accept Obama's claim to be a Christian.

Perhaps Batchelder should take a deep breath and research a topic before writing on it. He might try reading and listening to people he disagrees with " part of what I think peace activists call "dialogue" " to misinforming the public with hearsay. If Batchelder cannot document his claims about Beck and others at Fox, he should issue an apology to them and Gazette readers. Working for peace and justice entails telling the truth and making amends for when you propagate falsehoods.

"K.A. Straughn

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K.A. Straughn

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