Get better perspective on radical Islam

Cal Thomas' column in The Augusta Chronicle on Jan. 9 ("Segregation, Muslim style") is a perfect example of why Franklin Roosevelt was right when he said: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Mr. Thomas' description of Muslims taking over Britain by establishing "no-go zones" for non-Muslims, and their scheme to have more babies than non-Muslims, is a fear-based idea and does nothing to resolve the real problem of militant Islamic fundamentalism. I would encourage Mr. Thomas and all like-minded people to read Karen Armstrong's book The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism . It's a difficult book to read, but if you can force yourself to finish this scholarly book, it answers many questions that Mr. Thomas and others like him seem to ignore -- which leads to ignorance.

There is no doubt we have trouble with militant Islamic fundamentalism -- the same troubles we have with other ideologies such as fascism, communism and racism. These militant Islamic fundamentalists consider "democracy" an ideology that they fear, for the same reasons Mr. Thomas fears the idea that Muslims will take over the world if we don't do something.

What is the solution? How can we intelligently address the problem of "radical Islam" if we base our solutions on fear-based ignorance? Decisions based on fear can make you do some crazy things (such as trying to spread democracy with a bayonet or using suicide bombers) to solve the problem. This explains why President Bush's invasion of Iraq will never be accepted in the Muslim world: because it's exactly what they have feared since the ages of colonization and imperialism.

The idea of no-go zones for non-Muslims and a heavy dose of procreation won't solve the problem, either. The problems we face today are not new; they are old -- very old.

Larry Jarrett, Warrenville, S.C.

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