Holding the Qu'ran and the Bible

Dear Dennis Praeger,

With regard to your article (
about the right of newly elected Congressman Keith Ellis
to hold the Qu'ran instead of the Bible to be sworn into Congress:

I'm moved to write you about your article. Perhaps
you're not aware of it, but the Islam faith marks its
beginning with Abraham, as does the Jewish faith and
the Christian faith. So the Qu'ran, if you've read it
(great online translation by the way at comes
out of the Bible as we know it and acknowledges the
wisdom of the Bible, and Jesus as well. Secondly,
Congessmen don't swear on the Bible when they're
'sworn in' - they raise their hands and stand at their
desks. It's too time consuming to go around and check
to see who's got what on their desk when they're sworn
in. Those pictures are done as 'photo ops' at a later
date. I'm sure Mark Foley raised his hand on a bible
at some point, but I won't belabor the point; it's not
what's in the hand of a Congressman, but what's in the
heart. And last time I looked, the Bill of Rights is
pretty specific about Congress not passing any law
that tells people what religion we should hold dear.
(or what book they need to hold to get into office)
In fact, if you get a chance, just read the first line
of the Bill of Rights.

I sincerely hope you find a way to mitigate the anger,
or hatred, or misunderstanding you have about Islam.
I'm a Christian, but when 9/11 happened I took it upon
myself to learn and understand the Islamic faith, as
well as to travel to countries where their faith is
practiced, and interview Imams to find out what the
differences really are. I was suprised at how little
differences there are between us and the people who
follow Islam. (honest! and the State dept paid for the
film!) But that took me lots of research, which, as
an intelligent person, I highly recommend you do. As
you can see from the vitriol you've engendered on your
website, I'd hate to see some crazy person cause
violent harm to an innocent Muslim because of their
faith. All because of your column. I think to equate
9/11 with Islam is to fundamentally misread what
happened on that day. You might equally argue that 19
Saudis were on those planes, and therefore Saudi Arabia is
reponsible. Or they were all dark haired -
dark haired people are responsible. It's not what's in
your hand, but what's in your heart. I pray that you
are able to find it within your heart to forgive those
who don't think the same as you, after all, as I've
learned as a Christian; love your neighbor not less
than yourself, but as much if not more than yourself.
And a fitting reason to hold the Bible in your hand,
if only to learn that one lesson.


Richard Martini

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