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Thank you again for the notes of sympathy and support that have been coming in, and for your comments on my postings. I did receive one e-mail accusing me of being "anti-Eastern," so I would like to take a moment to clarify my comments.
I spent three years working in Egypt, and had extremely productive relations with scores of colleagues there. I like to think I made a positive contribute to education and development in that country. I also developed many close friendships with people of all faiths there.
I have deepest respect for the Islamic religion and its believers. To me, one of the sadder aspects of the most recent attack is that Islam and Muslims will no doubt be scapegoated and stereotyped in the US even more than they already are.
I also know that the attacks in New York and Washington had nothing to do with real Islam. In Egypt, I became aware that those individuals who became leaders of "Islamic" extremist groups had an extremely shallow knowledge (and obviously distorted understanding) of Islam. This is a movement that acts in the name of Islam, but has nothing to do with Islam's proud beliefs and traditions. I condemn any act of scapegoating or repression against Muslims, just as I know that all true Muslims would condemn such an attack as took place in New York and Washington. (Indeed, people in Egypt have themselves suffered greatly from such extremist attacks in their own country). I think this is a moment for people of all faiths to stand together, and I reach out to people in both West and East in condemning both terrorism as well as any scapegoating or stererotyping of people.
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