Dr. Peter CohenResponses
The Letter is an Appeal To Logic
In a brief statement, activist and anthropologist Peter Cohen rehashes the need for young westerners to discover Islam for themselves.
The recent letter by Iranian Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei, dated 21st January, 2015 and addressed to the youth of Europe and North America, is a reaction to the recent disturbing developments of alleged Islamic extremism from Syria to Nigeria to France, and the equally disturbing anti-Islamic fear, hatred and violence that has accompanied and mirrored it. It is a plea for tolerance and bridge building between our two societies. It addresses Western biases and the fact that they tend to be recognized only well after the fact. It demands reflexivity from Western youth on the increasingly negative perceptions of Islam in their societies and the deeper historical, economic and geo-political reasons behind them.
It is an appeal to logic, critical thinking and understanding, and an invitation for young westerners to discover Islam for themselves and make up their own minds. This reasoned text is a welcome antidote to the fearmongering and warmongering of Benyamin Netanyahu’s recent speeches in the US. I applaud Mr. Khamenei’s attempt to reach out and bridge the manufactured divide between our peoples.
Bio: Mr. Cohen is an anthropologist, musician, social-development specialist and activist. He is also the founder for the organization Humanity for Palestine (www.humanityforpalestine.org)