Kristof to evangelicals: Stop caricaturing Islam as violent
Remember New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof? He praised evangelicals as "the new internationalists" in a May 21 piece. In yesterday's Times, however, Kristof takes aim at evangelicals—specifically Paul Weyrich, Franklin Graham, and Jerry Vines—for "bigotry" against Islam.

"It's a cheap shot for us to scold Arabs for acquiescing in religious hatred unless we try vigorously to uproot our own religious bigotry," he said. "If we want Saudi princes to confront their society's hate-mongers, our own leaders should confront ours."

In fact, Kristof says, Christians should recognize what's so great about Islam:

If Islam were really just the caricature that it is often reduced to, then how would it be so appealing as to become the world's fastest-growing religion? Islam already has 1.3 billion adherents and is spreading rapidly, particularly in Africa, partly because it also has admirable qualities that anyone who has lived in the Muslim world observes: a profound egalitarianism and a lack of hierarchy that confer dignity and self-respect among believers; greater hospitality than in other societies; an institutionalized system of charity, zakat, to provide for the poor. Many West Africans, for example, see Christianity as corrupt and hierarchical and flock to Islam, which they view as democratic and inclusive.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, a 20-year-old Aliyu Ibrahim is asking an Islamic court for a death sentence because he blasphemed against the prophet Muhammad (not only is that the official sentence for blasphemy where he lives, but Ibrahim says he can't live with himself now). And the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera says Muslim militants planned to attack ...

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