Deval Patrick and the mosque

Letters to the Boston editor, July 2, 2010

Regarding your June 11 editorial, about Deval Patrick’s recent visit to the Boston mosque, the governor should not be criticized for making the trip. He has come to our temple (Temple Israel in Boston) and I don’t recall any criticism from the visit. In the past, we have had many controversial members.

I believe Patrick was directing his comments to the members of the Islamic community, and the mosque was an appropriate place for them to gather to hear him.

Cynthia Bauman

I was extremely disappointed to read your close-minded, ignorant, and bigoted position on Governor Deval Patrick’s meeting with Muslims at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury. The Phoenix regurgitated old attacks on the mosque which do not apply to the current leadership at ISB.

You made accusations about the theology preached by Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, while not citing anything problematic actually said by him. This imam has made ISB the most liberal mosque in the area. It advocates a spirit of tolerance within Islam and between Islam and other faiths. While past leaders at the mosque were slow to criticize anti-semitic statements from supporters, current directors have built a strong interfaith coalition with Jews and Christians.

While Islam is socially conservative, it does not have the same anti-gay, anti-woman political agenda of the Christian right or the Catholic Church.

Lastly, I take issue with your blanket characterization of all Muslims as potential terrorists. You wrote, “[Patrick] was wrong to ignore the fact that within the larger assembly of good intentions there exist small, potent, and deadly cadres who show nothing but resolve and promise to continue their acts of terrorism.” Are you aware of a specific threat emanating from ISB, or are you just making a biased and racist assumption here? While it is true the Al Qaeda is targeting American Muslims for recruitment, it is equally true that murderers and terrorists come from every walk of life and every religion. Engagement by government officials like Patrick is a better way to integrate and establish trust with the community, rather than the shunning the Phoenix espouses.

Thom Cincotta

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