Film was no excuse

To the Editor:

I'd like to add my thoughts to "The Roots of Muslim fury" by Derek Boothby, in the 9/28/12 Journal.

There's no doubt the decline of their civilization over the last 500 years, while Western Europe and lately America grew and prospered, as theirs steadily declined, led to frustration, anger and envy in their world.

From this reality, Mr. Boothby too easily seems to excuse the violent uprisings, burning of the embassies, and even murder during the last few weeks. While he justly claims the "Innocence of Muslims" film was offensive and an insult to Mohammed, which I agree with, and states that if Jesus was substituted for Mohammed, the American churchgoers would be outraged. Again, I agree, but as the artist who exhibited the Cross in a glass of urine, or the Huffington Post writer, who claimed Pope Benedict a Nazi and bigot or numerous vicious anti God and anti-Christian books published, there's no evidence of mobs rioting, buildings burning or murder in America or Europe over these offenses. Or give me an example of Fatwas issued by the West, like those for the murders of Salman Rushdie, and the Danish politician who produced, what the Islamist consider extreme offenses, but in my view, factual film of Islamist practices.

Less significant is the seeming agreement by Mr. Boothby that "Medieval Europe lagged seriously behind (the Caliphate)" or that Westerners were barbarians. While there's no doubt there was more chaos and ignorance at greater levels than in later medieval periods, still there were great scholars (e.g. Thomas Aquinas), great learning centers in hundreds of monasteries, great explorers (e.g. Marco Polo), the creation of the Magna Carta, and the fairly sophisticated and cultured Byzantium.

Yes, we should discourage stupid people from making and disseminating offensive trash, but we must not restrict the freedoms that made this nation great. More importantly, both religious and political leaders in Islamic countries must by word and example direct and encourage their citizens and followers to respect and try to understand those of differing view.

Val Loureiro Manchester


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