Letter: Pandering to the Crusader mentality

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The Independent Online
Sir: What does Conor Cruise O'Brien ('Blind to the force of the fatwa', 5 August) hope to achieve by equating Islam with terrorism and arguing that 'Theologically, Islam has been at war with the infidel since its beginnings'? Making a new demonology for the West now that Communism is no more? (Serbia, the rump Communist state denounced by Baroness Thatcher, is small fry compared to the international villains in Tehran.) And 'understanding', it seems, has become a dirty word.

As a university lecturer working in the Middle East, I am aware from first hand of the deep sense of hurt that educated Muslims feel towards The Satanic Verses and the succouring they believe it has received in the West.

Mr O'Brien does the West no service by insinuating that all Muslim communities countenance terrorism and are a fifth column here in Britain carrying out Tehran's bidding. That he should pander to the Crusader mentality would be pitiful were it not that his views are typical of many, especially in the United States.

By giving Tehran credence as the authentic voice of Islam, Mr O'Brien is playing into the hands of the extremists and doing greater damage to the cause of international order than any of Islam's Western 'understanders'. The more Iran is demonised by the West, the more support it gains in the Islamic world.

Yours,

G. P. NASH

Folkestone

Kent

7 August

(Photograph omitted)

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