Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

November 22, 2012

'Anti-Muslim' tone obvious in meat-eating outrage

The Andover Townsman

---- — Letter: Anti-Muslim tone obvious in meat-eating outrage

Editor, Townsman:

Let’s be clear. I do not attend any church, mosque, synagogue or temple, yet the letter, “Opposition to meat prepared under Islamic law” on Nov. 8, tapped right into the part of me that teaches my child to spot subtle forms of discrimination in everyday life.

Whether you eat fish on Friday, Halal or Kosher meat (animals slaughtered in the same fashion), whether you address your prayers to God, Allah, or Jehovah, the practitioners of all three Abrahamic religions get their beliefs, traditions and habits from times that go back 3,000 to 1,400 years. Yes, an educated modern person may respectfully question the application of some of these traditions, to today’s world, but that is not what was done in the letter to the Townsman.

There is a definite undertone. There is a certain amount of outrage supposedly about animal cruelty, but it extends further in a sarcastic and jokey throwing around of the word “Allah” — it just means God. Then the author criticizes the establishment of a Muslim holiday in Cambridge, and asks how many Muslims are there anyways.

In Massachusetts, 1 percent of the population is Muslim, half of the Jewish population, which is 2 percent. We live in the state where the Pilgrims escaping religious discrimination sought refuge. Their subsequent intolerance for others with beliefs different from their own is also a part of our history. We should be sensitive to all religious minorities and avoid making an outcast of the newest arrivals.

Unfortunately it has been all too easy to be outspokenly anti-Muslim since 9/11, but hiding such feelings in an outrage over animal cruelty is too thinly veiled.

Shiva Saboori