Unfortunately, although I consider myself a progressive person, I've only found sympathy in more right-wing circles. That is not what I was planning for, as I believe that progressive Americans believe in the protection of First Amendment rights of everyone. Usually, I've found that progressives make excuses for Muslim behavior instead of calling Islam out equally with Christianity for its fanatical side. It's misguided to give Islam a free pass when it obviously has problematic aspects. Nowhere is this more obvious than the attitude that Muslims, especially British Muslims, have taken toward the issue of Muslims leaving their faith.
The reason I've contacted you is that I really wish progressives would realize what's at stake here. A Canadian Muslim professor has argued from the standpoint of multiculturalism and cultural relativism that ex-Muslims deserve to be punished, and British Muslims agree, as shown by Prince Charles' recognition of the issue all the way back in 2004. The attitude of British Muslims is echoed, albeit quietly for now, by those American Muslims who are more extreme. I believe a stand against all extremist religions must be taken.
I truly enjoyed reading "Against the Wall." Thank you for your view into the struggles, issues and lives of the Muslim Students Union at UC Irvine. I especially appreciate your unbiased, truly journalistic view of a culture different than your own.
Keep up the good work, and I hope you will be an example to others. Elvia Hernández
For the article ["Against the Wall"], I was asked if I thought the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine was being monitored. I feel like I was misquoted and things I said were taken completely out of context.
I said, "It wouldn't surprise me if they were being monitored." I went on to explain that even though the FBI has been on the campus, according to media reports, I still give the government agency the benefit of the doubt.
When I talked about the group actually being monitored, I said that the media monitors them. There is a huge difference between the FBI and the media.
Reut R. Cohen
Editor's Note: Derek Olson and the Weekly stand by the way Cohen's quotes were presented in the story.