Is Islam the Enemy?

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I dug out the November-December 1998 issue of Sojourners, which asks "Is Islam the enemy?" The answer was no then, and I believe the answer is still no. As Charles Kimball put it in the cover story, "the vast majority of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims are as offended by a violent act carried out in the name of Islam as most Christians are horrified by atrocities perpetrated by Serbian Christians or the Real IRA." Most striking to me was Jim Wallis' commentary, "A Better Way to Fight Terrorism." Replace the phrase "U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania" with "World Trade Center and the Pentagon" and the article could have been written today! The targets change and the casualties grow, but the international context remains largely the same. Injustice and oppression lead to revolt (terrorism), which leads to repression (counter-terrorism), and the cycle of violence continues. When will we learn that there can be no peace without justice, that terrorism will not end until its underlying causes have been addressed?

Roger Scott Powers
Oakland, California

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2001
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