Letter: Challenge to Islam

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The Independent Online
Letter: Challenge to Islam

Sir: This time last year we were at Luxor, and we are horrified at what happened on Monday. We loved Egypt so much we are booked to return this weekend. We hope still to be able to go.

We were able to discuss with our tour guide the modern Egypt - its culture, customs, education and political system. I remember asking him, a devout Muslim, his views on those we describe as Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. He became quite aggressive, describing them as being far from the teachings of Mohammed. In his view they were simply people seeking power at any cost.

Is it not time for the religious leaders of Islam to speak out and not only condemn these atrocities, but make clear that the perpetrators do not represent the teachings of the Prophet? Or are they to remain silent, like the Christian hierarchy who failed to condemn the Nazis? It is not easy to stand up and condemn dangerous fanatics. But history shows that the alternative is worse.

NEIL MACMILLAN

Harpenden, Hertfordshire

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