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The Daily Tar Heel

Graduate Student Notes Quotations Cannot Be Separated From Context

Tim Dunkin's Sept. 19 letter concerning a recent campus flier, "A Frank Word About Islam," points out that the flier contains direct quotations from the Koran which are violent in nature. He goes on to state that these are "quotations which any true Muslim is bound to abide by as commandments from Allah."

But this point of view is simplistic at best. The Bible also is replete with violent imagery and statements -- statements that could lead someone to believe that Jews and Christians alike are violent.

But Jews and Christians understand that the interpretation of scripture can never be divorced from its context or from its histories.

These histories include a long and difficult "argument with God." To try to do otherwise leads to fundamentalism.

While I cannot speak for Muslims regarding interpretation of the Koran, it is unfair to circulate a few "direct quotations" and to imply that these are directives that tightly bind all adherents.

Muslims are also people with a history, and it makes more sense to get to know them.

Les Fleming

Graduate Student

Physics and Astronomy

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