Opinion: "Islam Does Not Mean Terrorism" by Southern Methodist University Journalism Teacher

September 4, 2006

Source: The Dallas Morning News


On September 4, 2006 The Dallas Morning News ran an opinion piece by Carolyn Barta who teaches journalism at Southern Methodist University, "Events have once again hoisted radical Islam to the top of the news - with the Israeli-Hezbollah war and the recent terrorist plot that was foiled in the United Kingdom. But Westerners who would reject the inevitability of a 'clash of civilizations' must know that radical Islam is different from Islam as a religion - and not all Muslims are terrorists. That idea has been rooted in my mind since a trip to Turkey earlier this summer introduced me to Muslims who believe that Westerners and moderate Muslims can fight radical Islam by finding common ground... I was part of a small group of Texans visiting Turkey as guests of the Houston-based Institute for Interfaith Dialog, a nonprofit organization of Turkish volunteers, their American friends, university students and academics. We groped our way to a unique connectedness on a trip that was built around visits to Turkish sites that, like us, represented different faiths - Christian, Jewish and Muslim... Can education and interfaith dialogue bridge the gap between the cultures of East and West and reduce the influence of radical Islam? Our hosts are hopeful. One of our guides, Al Yaradanakul, a Dallas medical researcher, offered his philosophy against the backdrop of the Israeli-Hezbollah fighting. 'People,' he said, 'can't hate each other forever.' The problem is: They have, and they do. Is his an idealistic view? Yes. Naive? Perhaps. It is, however, an effort to break down hatred rather than exacerbate it."