Editor, Daily Nexus,
I must disagree with the letter you printed Friday (“Shoebat Paints Unflattering Portrait of World’s Muslims,” Daily Nexus, Feb. 9). That letter said that Shoebat had given a “negative, hateful message” that “painted all Muslims with a very broad – and very negative – brush.” When I saw the speech, I did not come away with that impression. I felt that Shoebat was not against all Muslims and that he definitely was not paining with a wide brush. Shoebat was against a specific subset of Islam that practices anti-Semitism. He was against violent extremists, not peaceful worshippers.
The letter also claimed “Shoebat directly compares the Muslim community to Nazis.” That is a misstatement of fact. Shoebat compares Muslim extremists who support genocide to Nazis, and after 9/11, we know that such people exist.
Lastly, the letter says that the speech “was bursting with easily refuted half-truths and outright lies.” The speech was mostly autobiographical. Unless Shoebat was lying about his own experiences, that statement could hardly be true. Even his editorial asides seemed reasonable to me.
I sat in the audience and applauded Mr. Shoebat. To me, it was a speech about how he had committed terrible crimes and lived a terrible life, and how he sought atonement for his actions. It was a speech that denounced genocide and its advocates. When he told the story of his conversion from disrespecting Christianity to understanding it and finally to loving it, I took it to mean that all religions could be wonderful, and that no one should ever be prejudiced about them. Maybe I got different messages from the speech than everyone else, but I doubt it. I loved the speech, and was mortified that the question and answer section was used for little more than hurling invectives.