Cartoon “Deeply Troubling”

Published June 30, 2016, issue of June 30, 2016.

It is deeply troubling that you have chosen to respond to the terror attack in Orlando by promoting fear and prejudice (Re: Thoughts & Opinion/The Back Page, June 16, 2016). Islamist extremism is a genuine global threat.

However, by conflating the entire Muslim community with Islamic extremists and their ideology, the June 16 back cover actually makes the fight against extremism more difficult by cynically perpetuating pernicious stereotypes of all Muslims and therefore needlessly offending important potential allies in that community.

Emerging evidence suggests that Omar Mateen may have had a complex array of motivations, but there is no question that Islamic extremism was part of that mix. This says something about him and the poison that is being spewed by some Islamists. There is no justification, however, for laying such hatred at the feet of all Muslims.

Anti-Muslim bigotry not only distracts from the genuine challenge posed by Islamist extremism, but also encourages claims by terrorist organizations that Americans are inherently hostile to Islam and Muslims.

We are better than that. The fight against Islamic extremism is not strengthened by smearing all Muslims.

It is in these times that we must find the strands which bind us together so that we can collectively ensure that we are doing all we can to fight all forms of hate and extremism.

Robert O. Trestan, New England Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League

Robert Leikind, Director, AJC Boston

Jeremy Burton, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

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