Columnist Cathy Young's "Stirring our muddled views of Islam" [Opinion, Oct. 16] clarifies the misrepresentations made on Bill Maher's "Real Time" show on HBO.
While it's correct to state that Muslims have more extremists than other faiths, it's the height of ignorance to state that Islam is "the mother lode of bad ideas." This erroneous assertion by "Real Time" guest Sam Harris neglects advances in chemistry, physics and mathematics made by Muslims. Words such as arithmetic, algorithm, algebra and abacus all have Arabic roots.
Extreme tolerance and love for education are essential teachings of Islam. The extremism we see today from the Boston Marathon bombings to the Islamic State beheadings is related to political strife and runs counter to every teaching of the prophet Muhammad.
Muslim countries where illiteracy is high, like Pakistan and Afghanistan, have many who hold distorted views. Other Muslims like Egyptians and Palestinians are under the yoke of the mullahs because of conflict with the West and Israel and ultimately succumb to extremist views.
Irrespective of the cause of such intolerance, the holy Koran states, "There is no compulsion in religion" and "For you, your religion and for me, my religion." Now, that's a mother lode of great ideas, if only Maher and Harris would read them.
Irfan Alladin, Syosset