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I am not more knowledgeable than you, but I am more accepting

To The Daily Sun:

"So, sir, before you can claim to be more knowledgeable on this subject than me. I invite you to read the Koran..." was the suggested comment to a "man ignorant of the ideology of Islam." Interesting critique apparently backed up by an extensive knowledge of the Arabic language and the multi-interpretations of the Qur'an(the appropriate term).

For instance, the term "kafir" was defined in a recent "To the Daily Sun" article. Apparently based on being "more knowledgeable" due to extensive research and cognitive thought, the writer described what "kafir" meant in "piratical"(to use without legal rights?) terms. Extensive "more knowledgeable" indicated that "kafirs (non-believers in Muhammad - the appropriate term) are ... inferior, evil, cursed, and disgraced; and ...c an be beheaded, plotted against, and terrorized; and that ... a Muslim can not be a friend nor ... give charity to a "kafir" or his (her, my insertion) dependents".

The question is posed "How can we expect ... Muslims to respect our laws and culture if they have no respect for our persons?" I guess the obvious answer would be to ask them, which "more knowledgeable ... than me" could have asked an imam at Laconia's multicultural day. I would assume that an imam is "most knowledgeable" about the Qu'ran. It takes years of study to fully understand (if possible) the Qu'ran as well as the Bible.

Perhaps the "more knowledgeable" should know that another writer has apparently plagiarized his definition of a "kafir." Bill Warren's 2008 (wait, this is 2017) publication "Political Islam" also refers to "kafirs" (the plural is actually "kuffar") as "evil, cursed, can be beheaded, plotted against, terrorized, should not take kafirs as friends, and ..." I think you get the idea. "More knowledgeable!" Original ideas! Hmm!

Bill Warren (his birth name is Bill French, but he uses an anglicized surname) is the owner of the for-profit "Center for the Study of Political Islam," that attempts to utilize "dualistic ethics" (?) to prove that Islam is a political entity and not a true religion. As if Christianity is not political in the U.S. He has no background or formal training in Islamic law or Christian theology, but he does have a PhD (in physics, now that's appropriate).

His tenure as a college instructor was brief. That makes him qualified for some fringe people! He has been referred to as "a notorious Islamophobe hatemonger lying about Islam"; and the Southern Poverty Law Center (yeah, an allegedly liberal group) has included him in the "10 of America's Most Dangerous Hatemongers" list. A dubious distinction and reference source!

He apparently believes in the First Amendment (his interpretation), but has vehemently protested against the construction of mosques (a paradox for religious freedom) in the U.S. He also has equated Muslim women wearing scarfs to the Ku Klux Klan wearing white hoods. Figure that one out! Does using the words of a bigot make one a bigot? Richard Spencer is a notable example. Perhaps Ephesians 4:29 is a better approach.

Another multi-interpretation of "fakir" is an apostate who was Muslim, but has turned away from Islam. The term originally applied to a seventh century small militant sect, the Kharijites; and their idea of "takfir" in which those Muslims who sinned grieviously were no longer considered as Muslims, and were to be severely treated like heathens. Unfortunately this idea was adopted by the fringe group "Islamic State," and is also used against other practicing mainstream Muslims. And some erroneously equate this with all of Islam.

Then again, in Christianity, the "kafir" were called apostates, atheists, heathens, heretics, agnostics, and even Hebrews and Protestants. And we all learned that "burning at the stake" (mentioned once in the Qu'ran) was their reward during the Inquisition and Holocaust, or in the case of Sir Thomas More - beheading. In England, "spiritual treason" was punished by the ghastly hanging, drawing and quartering.

Finally, I am not "more knowledgeable," but I am more understanding and accepting of those who are different from me. My parents taught me that!

Frank M. Weeks

Gilmanton Iron Works

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One cannot volunteer if compelled to work

To The Daily Sun,

For the past several weeks I have been following the minor dust-up over the mandatory volunteerism at a local high school with a certain level of amusement. It would appear that those who are championing this mandatory requirement in order to graduate do not know the true definition of "to volunteer."

Now, I am 100 percent in favor of folks volunteering their time, money, goods and services to whatever cause they chose. After all without volunteers, over half of all the charities in the country would be unable to pay their directors a living wage. But I digress. Let us look at the definition of two words as per Webster.

Volunteer: Having power of free choice proceeding from the will or from ones own choice or consent.

Require: To impose a compulsion or command.

Somehow I cannot get past the fact that the definition of volunteer does not have the words requirement nor mandatory in it, yet the seniors of the local high school are required to volunteer in some form of community service or they will not receive their diplomas. Is that not an oxymoron? The only other place that I am aware of where community service is sometimes mandated is when a judge requires X hours of community service in order for a miscreant to receive a reduced sentence. Surely we are not equating criminal behavior with graduating from high school.

I have no problem having the schools spend an hour of classroom time to extol the virtues of volunteerism and community service. In fact a once-a-year class could be given each year from kindergarten through senior year. Surely 12 hours of extolment should be sufficient to indoctrinate the children in the rewards of volunteering. But to mandate a person to volunteer goes fully against what volunteering is all about and in my opinion sends the absolute wrong message to the students, defeating the original purpose.

Charles Wibel
Wolfeboro

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