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Democracy on the Edge

New Kobo Germany
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9/11 changed my life. I remember I was at work preparing for a meeting when I heard the news. At first I thought it was an accident until the second plane hit the tower. What on earth had happened! I was totally distraught; how could anyone hate Americans so much that they would kill 3,000 people? Over the following months and years I began to gather information to learn why Al Qaeda hates us. I read many books. One written by Sayyid Qutb, first published in 1964, called Milestones or Sign Posts in the Road, was particularly relevant. Qutb was an Egyptian who was educated in the United States. He was a Muslim fundamentalist who was appalled at the decadence and licentiousness of American culture. His book extracted excerpts from the Quran to prove that America is evil and that all good Muslims should fight against American culture at every turn. Osama bin Laden was a disciple of Qutb's teachings. I also read Approaching the Quran by Michael Sells which translated many of the suras (verses) into English and then explained their meaning. The Quran is written in poetic verse and the meanings of the suras are not always obvious. I learned that, just like the Bible, the Quran is basically a moral book that preaches moral ideas. I learned that there are many similarities between the Bible and the Quran: a belief in one God, kindness toward your neighbors and the celebration of holy days like Ramadan and Christmas. Also however, like the Bible, the Quran has passages that, if taken out of context and misinterpreted by religious fanatics, could be used to incite extreme violence and ultra-intolerance. When President George W. Bush announced that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were preparing weapons of mass destruction and that Hussein had contacts with bin Laden, I knew this could not be true. Religious fanatics do not violate their most sacred laws and cooperate with a ruthless dictator. The Bush administration was perpetrating a fraud on the American public. There was never a
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