As author of books and articles on the Middle East (e.g., “Islam” and 24 related entries in the 5th edition of “Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia”), I read with interest Professor Marlin Jeschke’s comments on the Sunni-Shi’a division within Islam — a topic few Americans have proper knowledge of.
I believe one point needs clarification: “..Ali consented to a truce, for which a disaffected member of his own party then assassinated Ali.
“Interestingly, the word assassin comes to us from the Arabic hashish, the drug that would-be assassins used to fortify themselves for their dastardly deeds.”
Doubt exists that the political assassins of crusading days actually relied on hashish. The name “assassins” is derived from an Arabic word probably used by the local population because the assassins’ extreme behavior suggested that of people under the drug’s influence.
With that, I wish to thank Professor Jeschke for addressing this topic of cultural awareness — a topic I treat extensively in my forthcoming book on America and the future of Afghanistan.
— Glen W. Swanson, PhD
Peterborough, New Hampshire