The following letter was published in today's (3/30/06) Orlando Sentinel in response to my letter, which was published in Sunday's edition. I welcome this feedback from the Islamic community. It is precisely why I wrote the letter - to open doors of communication that will lead to a better understanding of the world's faiths.
In response to [Marinade Dave's] Sunday letter to the editor, "Religion of peace?":
Throughout time, claimed adherents to a religion have been engaged in actions of violence that not only dwarf the condemning of authors but the atrocities of 9-11.
Across the belt buckle of the infamous Nazi SS was written "Gott mit uns" -- "God is with us." Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf: "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator."
Hitler's actions cost the world 60 million people, of whom 37 million were civilians.
In 1811, John Quincy Adams wrote, "The whole continent of North America appears to be destined by Divine Providence to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles . . . for the common happiness of them all, for their peace and prosperity, I believe it is indispensable that they should be associated in one federal Union."
What followed were 11 million Native Americans killed to fulfill our "manifest destiny."
There are Muslims around the world calling back their brethren to the peaceful way of life, which was revealed as a mercy to mankind, sacrificing their time, money and energy. By continuing to demonize the religion that has raised humankind from the shackles of immorality, brought peace to violence-torn areas and prescribed women's political rights 1,400 years ago based on the actions of those who have fallen from its doctrine, we only make the path toward peace more elusive.
Muslims unconditionally denounce terrorism and invite people of conscience to seek and embrace the truth.
CHRISTOPHER W. CUSANO
COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS