Editor's note: This letter was submitted on Dec. 7 as a response to a letter written by Abigail Osborne, an executive board member of the Gonzaga University College Republicans. Find that letter here.

Why have you, the Gonzaga University College Republicans, taken such a hardline stance against a major religion?  Why are you unnecessarily singling out a small percentage of your fellow students?

Let us evaluate your assertion.  Is Islam dangerous?  There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  Are almost 1 in 4 people dangerous?  Obviously not.  What about 1 in 1,000 Muslims?  One in 1,000 people are dangerous regardless of religion!  It comes down to a simple question – what are the Gonzaga College Republicans afraid of?  Why are you so cowardly when faced with religious freedom?

In the same breath as mentioning violence committed by Muslims we must acknowledge the horrors committed by the Catholics in the Irish Republican Army (IRA).  Not to mention Christian Germany invaded and oppressed the free peoples of Europe and committed the Holocaust.  The biggest terrorist threat to the United States is by Christian white nationalists.  It is the Christians in Washington and Moscow who are allowing for the slaughter of Syrians.  It is the Christians who committed the vast majority of the genocide (against Muslims) in the Former Yugoslavia – the largest human rights violation in Europe since World War II.

President George W. Bush spoke at a mosque on 9/17/2001 and said “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.  Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads.  And they need to be treated with respect.  In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”  The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams says “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen [Muslims].”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, written under Pope John Paul II states that "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims."

Last year I had the privilege to work at an asylum-seeker center in Florence, Italy.  The people who say there is no danger to social cohesion from mass-migration are delusional.  However, these are human beings escaping wars (undeniably directly caused by the United States intervention in Libya and invasion of Iraq).  Even if these people were dangerous, we have an obligation to help them as human beings.  There but by the grace of God go I – by what virtue have I had the opportunity to receive this education?  Why was I an ‘expatriate’ while they were ‘refugees’, except that I was born in the United States?

Your devaluation of Muslim lives tacitly allows millions of Syrians to be displaced and tens of thousands of civilians to be murdered.  Your lack of action is damning — since you feel empowered to speak on current events regarding Muslims you clearly cannot plead ignorance of these atrocities.

I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate, but if this is your Republicanism — I will never support an ideology opposed to freedom of speech and religion, flirts with xenophobia, and denies basic humanity.

Shame on you, Gonzaga College Republicans, for falling victim to the vices of cowardice and hate.  If anyone needs to humble themselves before God five times a day, it is you.

Andrew Walters is a senior majoring in mathematics and economics.

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(1) comment

Zag201516

I agree with the sentiment of this article because many acts of violence have been committed by religious groups or in the name of religious groups. However, I have to point out that Catholics and Protestants both committed acts of violence in a civil war in Ireland. Having lived in Belfast during the war in which both Catholics and Protestants fought to protect their beliefs. It is not fair to pin violent acts only to the IRA because it came from both sides as it does in war. During that time period, Catholics were prosecuted for their religion so they should have empathy for Muslims today.

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