This is an archived article that was published on in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Recent events in the Middle East have brought out the strongest statements yet by leading Islamic clerics condemning the brutal ISIS claim to be an Islamic movement. This is encouraging because it seems that too much of the press about Muslims is negative. This worldwide religion includes a large number of diverse groups with widely differing views.

While most non-Muslims may know little about the religion there are three practices that stand out as troubling:

1) Convert to Islam or die.

2) Leaving the religion may result in severe punishment or death.

3) Any negative depiction of Mohammed or negative statements about the religion may lead to severe punishment or death.

Such practices have been reported in the news for years with few counter-statements by Muslims or their leaders. If many Western Muslims or their leaders believe in any or all of these practices, then there are fundamental disagreements with much Western thinking about personal freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Whether, and to what degree, these disagreements may exist needs a much larger public dialogue. Such communication may lead to more mutual understanding, acceptance and respect. Let's talk!!

David Hart


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