Last week, I received a call from a friend who said, “This week’s Newsweek has a picture of you along with a statement that you made about Muslim terrorists. It makes you sound ridiculous.”
My statement published in Newsweek was, “Though the vast majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists, there are hundreds of millions who are.”
I have been interviewed dozens of times on the issue of Islamic terrorism. I believe this quote was taken from my Jan. 7 appearance on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News.
In response to the Newsweek piece, I sent the following e-mail to its editor:
“Your reference to my remarks concerning Muslim terrorists, which appeared in the January 18, 2010, edition of Newsweek, is somewhat misleading.
“My comments concerning Muslim terrorists are well-known. I have often said that there are about 1 billion 200 million Muslims worldwide, and that the vast majority are peace-loving and decry terrorism.
"Nevertheless, I believe Osama bin Laden is the most popular figure in the worldwide Muslim community. If you estimate that 20 percent of Muslims support terrorism (defined as approving the intentional killing of civilians to achieve political goals) that would add up to more than 200 million Muslim terrorist supporters.
“I concur, as was stated by Abdel Rahman al-Rashad, the head of an Arab television channel who wrote in 2004: ‘It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims . . . We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become a Muslim enterprise, an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women.’
“In my judgment, those facts allow profiling as a reasonable response, and I believe most of our readers have come to a similar conclusion. Why not poll them.
“I am sorry that it did not cross the mind of anyone at Newsweek that my reference was to terrorist supporters, and that a telephone call to verify was not made.”
I immediately received the following response from the magazine’s letters editor which gratified me: “Dear Mayor Koch. We would like to use your letter on Newsweek’s letters page.
"Our policy is to include the writer’s name, city, and state, so I wanted to confirm your city and state before we run anything. If you could please reply with that information at your earliest convenience we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks very much.”
The following day, I received another e-mail from the letters editor which read: “Dear Mayor Koch. I’m sorry to inform you that it looks like we won’t have a letters page in the magazine this week. Occasionally we need the space for other content and I just learned this afternoon that we are losing the page this week for that reason. I apologize for any inconvenience.”
I thought someone should read my explanation, so I’m burdening you with it and look forward to receiving your opinions on it. What people in public life treasure most is their reputation. I refer to integrity and common sense. At the age of 85, I shall continue to lift my voice and offer my opinions.
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