Rick McKee's July 8 cartoon represented a new low in The Augusta Chronicle's editorial bigotry and continued perpetuation of harmful and inaccurate stereotypes.
The cartoon portrayed two armed men in a cave reacting to the announcement that one of the responsibilities of NASA's figurehead leader is to use his position to improve diplomatic relations with Muslim countries. McKee depicted one of the men exclaiming, "We just want to kill American swine! It's not rocket science!"
By portraying terrorists as stand-ins for the Muslim world as a whole, the cartoon advances a false and offensive idea that Islam is an inherently violent religion that has poisoned its adherents against America.
Having just returned from a six-week trip to Jordan and Palestinian territory, I can respond with firsthand experience to the ridiculous portrayal of the Muslim world as a place defined by men with guns standing around in caves hating American swine. Indeed, the vast majority of citizens of Muslim countries want nothing other than peace and justice in the world.
Islam has produced no more extremists and advocates of violence than has Christianity, and many Muslim countries today are filled predominantly with everyday people who have more in common with you and me than with the terrorists depicted in McKee's stereotyping cartoon.
The Augusta Chronicle, in perpetuating these baseless stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims, risks contributing to cultural misunderstandings that can only further damage Americas developing relationship with an increasingly important geopolitical region.
I implore the editorial staff of The Chronicle to put this sort of bigotry and prejudice behind them, joining together with people of all faiths around the world to work for the common goals of peace and justice.