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‘Religious zeal’ is a simplistic label

“Religious zeal,” said The News on its April 23 front page. “Religious fervor,” said NBC’s “Today” show on the same morning, alleging the reason for the Boston Marathon bombings. Such careless media statements would seem to support the irresponsible allegations made by conservative members of other faiths that the Quran teaches its followers to kill non-Muslims, a canard rampant since 9/11.

The Quran is firm in its commandments for Muslims to defend the faith against active threats to it (which is what the brothers apparently came to believe was the U.S. motive in Iraq and Afghanistan); but equally clear that it is a grave sin to kill innocent people. To be sure, throughout history murders have been committed by severely deranged people claiming supernatural commandment. But to label their motive as “religious zeal” is dangerously simplistic.

Phillips Stevens Jr.

Amherst