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A Case of Misleading and Dangerous Overgeneralizations

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/02/14/christian.conference.ap/index.html

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Response to CNN’s “Strife with Islam key focus of Christian meeting”

Dear sir or madam: I find that this article to be misleading.

Your article title reads: “Strife with Islam key focus of Christian meeting,” yet the vast majority of the article discusses other concerns of the Christian organization: of its 13 paragraphs, only four discussed Islam (but then you also have the pictures of the frowning Muslims). I find it somewhat confusing that you chose this title since it clearly states in the text: “…It notes that the Western values that have shaped Christianity “can lead to confrontation and conflict” with others …”

So the author alludes to Western values really causing the so called “strife” and not Christianity. That is, the perceived strife is not between Christianity and Islam but between Western Values and Islam.

While this appears to clarify matters a bit (i.e., that the title of the article is misleading); this statement itself is highly misleading as well.

Which Western Values are you referring to? And who makes up the “West”?

A German’s set of values can be vastly different from an American’s set of values. And even one American’s set of values can differ greatly from another’s. Even the Christian Organization portrayed therein is acknowledging a huge problem with differing values.

The sort of generalizations that run through this article are dangerous: most people stereotype and these statements cement people’s stereotypes, which as a media-outlet in a free-thinking society CNN needs to avoid.

I consider myself to be fully Muslim AND fully Western (born and raised in Chicago). Yet I do not find some intense inner conflict arising from my “Western half” and my “Muslim half.”

Yours Sincerely,

Alex Temple

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