Letter: The blame for ancient hatreds

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The Independent Online
The blame for ancient hatreds

Sir: Innocence and guilt are characteristics of the actions of individuals, and John Norman is wrong to apply them to whole societies (letters, 17 August). Medieval Muslims and Christians who acted in accordance with the norms of their respective religions were innocent, but we should recognise that the Christian norm of religious intolerance was further from modern ideas than was Islamic acceptance of other religions' right to exist.

On the other hand, modern Western leaders are guilty of acting contrary to their norms in turning or attempting to turn most Muslim countries into vassal states of the West and in preferring compliant despots to more representative Islamic governments.


E-mail: philip.stewart@plant-sciences.oxford.ac.uk