Letter to the Editor – jbs -mts -cd

Martyn Smith

Last week ****The Lawrentian**** reviewed the April 9 talk delivered by Harvey Kushner on the topic “Radical Islam and What To Do About It.” A short interview with Kushner was also run by ****The Lawrentian****, and I found one of his answers fascinating.
Responding to the question of whether our problem lies with “Islam in general or just radical Islam” Kushner responds: “Well, I mean you separate it for me because I can’t. I can’t name any moderate Islamic-folk.”
One might think that the ability to separate and make fine distinctions is exactly the reason that he — an expert — has been invited to speak at Lawrence. But of course that is just the problem, he is not an expert on Islam and there is no evidence that he has spent any time engaging with the Islamic world.
He teaches at Long Island University in the Department of Criminal Justice and he may well have something practical to say about managing airport security, but this is not someone who should be informing the Lawrence campus about a complex world religion like Islam.
My own plea to students who are interested in this issue is to talk with Muslims on campus and visit mosques in the U.S. — and then ask yourselves whether it makes sense to talk of America being “at war with a religion.” This code-red style alarmism about Islam in America is ignorant.