U.S.-Muslim World Relations

Re: Summit Examines U.S.-Muslim Relations Five Years After 9-11

To the Editor:

I read with interest the articles on the U.S.-Muslim world relations and the viewpoints from the Summit.

I recently met someone who as a former practicing attorney in the Netherlands had dealings with extremist groups, giving him a very clear viewpoint on some of their terrifying tactics and determination.

In addition, at the age of 25 he met his father for the first time. As it turned out, his father's family is Muslim. Through visits to the family, he gleaned some shocking information about the way that some members perceive non-Muslims and the overall situation, things not normally revealed to outsiders. Of course, this is not indicative of all members of that faith, but certainly of those leaning towards fanaticism, although it is clear that it is not faith-specific and can be applied to other groups.

To quote from your article "Most people they interviewed said they believed the West's ignorance of Islam and the connection of terrorism with Islam are what prevent diplomacy from having any positive effect in the region." Could this not also be applied in reverse — that is, given the uproar over the Pope's recent speech, and his subsequent explanation that he does not believe the quote, nor does he endorse its message, should that not lead to some measure of understanding from the radical faction, rather than burning the Pope in effigy or calling for his execution?

Author W.G. Van Dorian witnessed first-hand how through aggressive behaviour towards European society, extremist groups ultimately obtained what they wanted as others backed down through fear and intimidation to meet their demands. Van Dorian has stated, "I've heard a couple of times (from them when I gained their trust!) that they were simply waiting for a Muslim majority (through immigration and (forced) conversion) in Europe to take over (violently if need be)."

This is a very scary and real prospect. So much so that when Van Dorian decided to write about the issue, fearing repercussions from extremist groups, especially given the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh, he moved to South America. He has since published the first novel in his series, The New World Order. The book titled "The Invisible Invasion," speaks of how the groups slowly take over, setting up 'camp' in different locations. Although the novel is written as fiction, it presents an all too terrifyingly real possibility, as the group he speaks of sets up bases in Europe, South America and the United States. It is a fascinating look at the extreme members of society.

Like you, Van Dorian believes that these things need to be understood by the public. And like you, he also believes that both sides need to employ the art of the understanding another point of view.

Maria Almudevar - van Santen
Ontario, Canada