To the editor: The Times-News’ Feb. 7 op-ed column on “Mideast conflicts,” while factual, underplays fundamentalist Islam.
Funding religious schools globally gives the Wahhabi widespread influence. Besides intolerance of the Shia, Wahhabi fundamentalism inspired Boko Haram’s radical Sunni war against the Sunni Sufi and Christians of Black Africa.
Pew polling reveals that Muslim countries are less liberal than suggested. In the Middle East-North Africa region, 56 percent favor executing those who convert from Islam to another faith. Pakistan and Afghanistan are worse. Even in more moderate countries, it ranges from 13 percent to 27 percent.
Women’s right to divorce and an equal inheritance share only gains support from 33 percent and 25 percent respectively of the Middle East-North Africa region. The results are better elsewhere but not overwhelmingly so.
The Brookings Institution’s Shadi Hamid wrote: “The way we use the term ‘moderate’ means little more than ‘people we like or agree with.’ Almost always, it signals moderation relative to American or European standards of liberalism, freedom of speech, gender equality and so on. Yet in their own countries, people who want to depoliticize Islam and privatize religion aren’t viewed as moderate; they’re viewed as out of touch.”
Expect Islamophiles to mischaracterize this information as Islamophobic.