Where are the moderate Muslims decrying the embassy attacks?

I agree with the premise of your editorial "Romney has a point" (Sept. 13), that President Barack Obama "failed to explain a core American value" of freedom of speech. However, there was much more lacking in the official administration response. U.S. consulates and embassies are U.S. sovereign territory, so an attack on them, much less the wanton murder of our ambassador, is an act of war. Presidential and State Department responses, therefore, must be framed with this fundamental understanding.

The president condemned the murders as acts of "senseless violence" while also offering regret that a now infamous filmmaker mocked Allah, as if this were just another random criminal act. It is time we realize that Islam in not a religion that is the moral or theological equivalent of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or other creeds that espouse peace and condemn violence. Every time there is a perceived slight on Islam, riots break out worldwide, non-Muslim "infidels" are murdered, property is destroyed. Not by al-Qaida operatives, but rather by Muslim mobs comprised of individuals banding together in irrational and disproportionately outrageous acts of violence.

It would be good to recall Pope John Paul II's condemnation of the IRA murder of Lord Louis Mountbatten in September 1979: "On my knees I beg of you to turn away from the paths of violence and to return to the ways of peace. ... Those who resort to violence always claim that only violence brings about change. You must know there is a political, peaceful way to justice." Those are the words of a religious leader condemning his own believers who murdered innocents under the guise of religious indignation.

Where are the "moderate" mullahs worldwide, coming out to condemn the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the former Navy SEAL heroes who died trying to defend him? There are none. We hear only the echoes of deafening silence, as usual, from Muslim clergy who implicitly approve these acts by their cowardly lack of public recrimination.

Thomas M. Neale, Baltimore

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