No excuse for anti-Muslim prejudice

“I was absolutely horrified by the poll results cited in a recent article. USA TODAY reported that ‘39% of respondents to the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll said they felt at least some prejudice against Muslims’. It said that 39% also ‘favored requiring Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID’ as a means of preventing terrorist attacks in the United States. Further, the poll found that about one-third of respondents ‘said U.S. Muslims were sympathetic to al-Qaeda, and that 22% said they wouldn’t want Muslims as neighbors’ (‘USA’s Muslims under a cloud’, Cover story, Life, Aug. 10).

“How can these respondents live with themselves?

“Do these 39% fear and hate the Muslim ‘boogeyman’ so strongly they would demonize Muslims by invoking the use of special IDs similar to practices during the Holocaust? If 39% of our country don’t mind throwing out the constitutional rights of our fellow citizens, what’s next? Internment? Indeed, why stop at Muslims? In this climate of fear, every outsider is seen as a potential threat…. Like the remaining 61%, I will not sit quietly and let this infectious disease of fear and mistrust contaminate my soul or destroy my country.”

Letter in USA TODAY, 16 August 2006