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Just making sure: You printed that letter from Mark Oller in Alexandria (The Mail, 10/21) as a joke, right? Ostensibly commenting on a line from a one-and-a-half-month-old “Service Industry” column profiling a local synagogue, Oller went off on an incoherent rant, most of which was quotes from the apparent source of his foamy-mouthed lunacy, the late Israel Shahak. Besides throwing Judaic terms together in confusing and nonsensical ways—“cabalistic Judaism of orthodox Zionists”—Oller repeats Shahak’s hysterical claims about Jews “worshipping Satan” in their prayers and rituals, as well as believing in a whole pantheon of dimwitted gods.
Though I know that the average Washington City Paper reader is intelligent enough to tell the difference between a thoughtful letter responding to a helpful article on the one hand and ranting hatred based on slavish ignorance on the other, I still felt a need to highlight the injustice and ugliness involved. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to make outlandish claims about minority religions in America, especially ones that differ so much in language, terminology, and ritual from Christianity as Judaism does. For more examples, just look at some of the books put out on Islam in recent years whose main sources of information seem to be from Chick tracts!
Thanks for reading. The City Paper’s great.