I sent Riverbend my comments on her blog and she granted permission for me to print her response:
I didn't think an explanation was necessary. I'm sorry you decided to think it was 'bigotry'- far from it. I actually have several Jewish friends- I don't care about religion. I'm a Muslim, but I'm not the type who neatly puts everyone into a religious category to judge them accordingly.
What I meant- and I explained this- was that Arab Sunnis couldn't explain actions and attitudes of other Arab Sunnis- a Jewish American certainly can't. It would be like me writing something like, "Well most Jewish Americans feel that..." How could I possibly?
You conveniently do not mention that in the line following I say,
"Now, it is always amusing to see a Jewish American journalist speak in the name of Sunni Arabs. When Sunni Arabs, at this point, hesitate to speak in a representative way about other Sunni Arabs, it is nice to know Thomas L. Friedman feels he can sum up the feelings of the "Sunni Arab world" in so many words. His arrogance is exceptional."
It would be equally amusing to see a Protestant American or Catholic Brit come to a similar conclusion. It's not bigotry no matter what you'd like to think.
Later she also wrote:
The reason I mentioned his religion is the fact that he made the issue about religion. He found it acceptable to imply that most Sunni Muslim Arabs find the thought of a Shia leader repulsive.
But I can also understand how it might be taken differently by many people. It was not meant to sound that way.
I suppose that's the beauty and horror of the internet, that you can receive a personal response on the same day from someone scraping out a dangerous existence thousands of miles away in a war zone your own country created -- and be virtually powerless to aid them.
Left grip is 39 pounds (30, 35, 39), right grip is 84 pounds (84, 82, 84), left leg balance is 9.23 seconds, and inhale volume is 4500 mL.