I loved the exquisite equivocation in David Walter ’10’s piece on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s visit to campus (Notebook, Nov. 4): “Westergaard’s drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban outraged many in the Middle East and Africa in 2005. Ultimately, more than 200 people died during anti-Danish riots.” Who are these “many”? They wouldn’t be Muslim fanatics by any chance, would they? Surely no Muslim would ever kill anyone over a cartoon!
As an undergraduate, I took the course on Islam offered by Professor Philip K. Hitti and read his abridgment of his magisterial 822-page History of the Arabs from the Earliest Times to the Present, first published in 1937, which was in its fifth edition when I sat in that great teacher’s classroom in the 1950s. Professor Hitti proudly taught us of medieval Islam’s achievements in mathematics and architecture, chemistry and medicine, technology and astronomy. But I also remember he taught us, “Islam is a religion, Islam is a state, and Islam is an army.” Muhammad’s theology was not Christ’s with regard to enemies. We are courting mayhem when we dance around that unpleasant truth and refuse to take it into account because it’s politically incorrect.