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Any intelligent, well argued POV is welcome here. But recently two comments were posted attacking me and others, and spewing bile against Muslims and Islam. This is a blog for thoughtful people who read, write, edit, publish, and review books for younger readers. It is not a garbage can. So while there is some value in letting the ignorant display their limitations in public, this is not the place for it. I am offended, not because of the personal attack, but because these smears, this vicious hate speech, does not belong in a place devoted to finding ways to help young people to think, to be smart, to question, to want to learn about the world. I will not have this space fouled.

I have asked SLJ to remove the offensive comments, and I will continue to scrub out any further infections. However if you did get to read the comments they are exactly what I warned about in my November 3 post, the Alert on how Islam is tought in schools. While the commentors here come across as ranters who are merely venting, their arguments follow from the more carefully crafted and dangerous views of organizations such as Jihad Watch. The claim that Islam is different, that it oppresses women, that it is, by nature, warlike — and thus that, rather than being just one more faith, it is, in all forms, a danger — is clearly being passed around and repeated. The answer to that is not silence but knowledge.

I would welcome a discussion here — in fact I will look for someone to lead it — on the toxic strands in some parts of the Islamic world. I think these anti-Islamic hate groups gain power because they have a half truth: there are reasons why many recent acts of terror, from Mombai to New York, have been carried about by Muslims. We cannot shy away from investigating why that is so. If we ignore that issue, we gave it to the hate-mongers. They gain the apparent credibility of saying what the liberals are afraid to say. So I will open up that question — at the same time as I shut the door to verbal violence.