Salina, KS – Local man Scott Gentries told reporters Wednesday that his deliberately limited grasp of Islamic history and culture was still more than sufficient to shape his views of the entire Muslim world.
Gentries, 48, said he had absolutely no interest in exposing himself to further knowledge of Islamic civilization or putting his sweeping opinions into a broader context of any kind, and confirmed he was “perfectly happy” to make a handful of emotionally charged words the basis of his mistrust toward all members of the world’s second-largest religion.
“I learned all that really matters about the Muslim faith on 9/11,” Gentries said in reference to the terrorist attacks on the United States undertaken by 19 of Islam’s approximately 1.6 billion practitioners.
“What more do I need to know to stigmatize Muslims everywhere as inherently violent radicals?”
“And now they want to build a mosque at Ground Zero,” continued Gentries, eliminating any distinction between 9/11 hijackers and Muslims in general. “No, I won’t examine the accuracy of the statement, but yes, I will allow myself to be outraged by it and use it as evidence of these people’s universal callousness toward Americans who lost loved ones when the Twin Towers fell.”
“Even though I am not one of those people,” he added.
When told that the proposed “Ground Zero mosque” is actually a community center two blocks north of the site that would include, in addition to a public prayer space, a 500-seat auditorium, a restaurant, and athletic facilities, Gentries shook his head and said, “I know all I’m going to let myself know.”
Gentries explained that it “didn’t take long” to find out as much about the tenets of Islam as he needed to. He said he knew Muslims stoned their women for committing adultery, trained for terrorist attacks at fundamentalist madrasses, and believed in jihad, which Gentries described as the thing they used to justify killing infidels.
“All Muslims are at war with America, and I will resist any attempt to challenge that assertion with potentially illuminating facts,” said Gentries, who threatened to leave the room if presented with the number of Muslims who live peaceably in the United States, serve in the country’s armed forces, or were victims themselves of the 9/11 attacks. “Period.”
“If you don’t believe me, wait until they put your wife in a burka,” Gertries continued in reference to the face-and-body-covering worn by a small minority of Muslim women and banned in the universities of Turkey, Tunisia, and Syria. “Or worse, a rape camp. That’s right: For reasons I am content being totally unable to articulate, I am choosing to associate Muslims with rape camps.”
Over the past decade, Gentries said he has taken pains to avoid personal interactions or media that might have the potential to compromise his point of view. He told reporters that the closet he had come to confronting a contrary standpoint was tuning in to the first few seconds of an interview with a moderate Muslim cleric before hastily turning off the television.
“I almost gave in and listened to that guy defend Islam with words I didn’t want to hear,” Gentries said. “But then I remembered how much easier is to live in a world of black-and-white in which I can assign the label of ‘other’ to someone and use him as a vessel for all my fears and insecurities.”
Added Gentries, “That really put things back into perspective.”
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
What Muslims Want
Their Faith, Their Voice
Informed and Helpful Perspectives on the "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy
Irene Khan: Shaking Things Up Down Under
In the Garden of Spirituality - Karen Armstrong
A Dangerous Medieval Conviction
What Catholics and Muslims Share in Common
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